There have been many influences on my spiritual journey. I would be foolish to try to name them all, though some do stand out as major game-changers. One of those was when I sat down to read Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel.
“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,” He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.” ― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
I don’t know anyone who agrees with everything Manning has written in his book. But I can’t help but believe that everyone who is conscious of their own sin and captivated by the mystery of God’s acceptance and mercy … will be refreshed by The Ragamuffin Gospel. What I love about Brennan Manning is that he is an unlikely source of encouragement and inspiration. A defrocked Jesuit priest, divorced, alcoholic … when he writes about God’s grace, he knows of what he speaks.
“And Grace calls out, ‘You are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted.’ Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.” ― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
I noticed that Manning’s autobiography is on sale at Amazon for your Kindle. Of course I bought it right away. I look forward to reading it one day. But I thought to myself, “Self, what if one of your readers hasn’t been exposed to Manning’s work? That would be sad.” So, maybe someone new will read The Ragamffin Gospel or one of his other great books and find a blessing.
Thanks for reading, John
ON SALE: All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir by Brennan Manning