Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Amazing that this book was released twenty-five years ago. I've been married for twenty-five years. I read this book years past and walked away knowing more about grace from this book than all the years spent in church. Reading it now for the second time around I am still learning. Praise Jesus for Brennan Manning. I'm so thankful he wrote this book for himself and shared it with the world. 

This book is a life changing experience. Brennan goes deep and shares raw love. He writes with a Jesus passion. His heart is found in these pages. His wisdom will continue to grow in the hearts of all who choose to pick up this book. You cannot walk away from this book the same person as you were when you first picked it up. 

In the beginning of the book Brennan shares who this book is for. This is where I found myself. 

"It is for the inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker."
"It is for the poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents."
"It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God." 

My book is highlighted throughout and is a book I will go back to again and again. 

"The word itself, grace, has become trite and debased through misuse and overuse. It does not move us the way it moved our early Christian ancestors."

"We think salvation belongs to the proper and pious, to those who stand at a safe distance from the back alleys of existence, clucking their judgments at those who have been soiled by life. In the name of Grace, what has been the verdict of the Christian community on the stained life of the late Rock Hudson? To the disclosure (the $4.5 million settlement to his lover Marc christian notwithstanding) that he called a priest to his deathbed, confessed his sins, and cried out to God for forgiveness?"

"As a sinner who has been redeemed, I can acknowledge that I am often unloving, irritable, angry, and resentful with those closest to me. When I go to church I can leave my white hat at home and admit I have failed. God not only loves me as I am, but also knows me as I am. Because of this I don't need to apply spiritual cosmetics to make myself presentable to Him. I can accept ownership of my poverty and powerlessness and neediness."

"To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God's grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, "A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.""

"Ragamuffins never despise their material and/or spiritual poverty, because the deem themselves wealthy beyond compare. They have found the treasure in the field (see Matthew 13:44). Nothing compares to the kingdom of God. In their eyes its worth is beyond all worth. Measurement fails. Scales tip over. All calculation collapses in this infinity. This is the ragamuffin's secret, which nominal Christians do not understand, but for which martyrs have given their lives. for the sake of the kingdom of God, thousands upon thousands have had their possessions confiscated, homelands seized, and families, careers, and good names sacrificed." 

"Ragamuffins are simple, direct, and honest. Their speech is unaffected. They are slow to claim, "God told me.." As they make their way through the world, they bear wordless, prophetic witness." 

"Perhaps the supreme achievement of the Holy Spirit in the life of ragamuffins is the miraculous movement from self-rejection to self-acceptance. It is not based on therapy or the power of positive thinking; it is anchored in their personal experience of the acceptance of Jesus Christ. They are not saints, but they seek spiritual growth. They accept counsel and constructive criticism with ease. They stumble often, but they do not spend endless hours in self-recrimination. They quickly repent, offering the broken moment to the Lord. Their past has been crucified with Christ and no longer exists, except in the deep recesses of eternity."

I want to live out this kind of ragamuffin heart seeking Jesus that shines nothing but the sweet and tender grace of God. This is a book for every seeking heart. It is one that will lead you straight to scripture and have an understanding like never before of real grace. 

This book was a gift from WaterBrook Multnomah for sharing my review with you. 

Brennan Manning is a writer and speaker who leads spiritual retreats for people of all ages and backgrounds. He is the author of more than ten books, including Abba's Child , Ruthless Trust , The Ragamuffin Gospel , and Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes. A resident of New Orleans, he travels extensively in the U.S. and abroad to share the good news of the unconditional love of God.


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