Many writers have affected my walk with Jesus over the last twenty three years, not many more profoundly then Brennan Manning. I picked up the book The Ragamuffin Gospel as a young pastor and Christian and it helped me in so many ways move away from the legalism and self-righteousness that still lived in corners of my heart. Those pesky things had been a part of the Christianity that I grew up with (not from my family) and I saw them practiced by some in my church community. Brennan's words helped dry up those dirty pools.
Manning died on April 12 and an amazing voice both in preaching and print went silent. His death was mostly ignored even in Christian culture, which was surprising. If you haven't exposed your heart to Brennan Manning I hope that you will pick up one of his numerous books or listen to some of his teachings online. I think you will find that God speaks to you through Brennan reminding you that you are God's child, deeply loved even in the midst of being deeply flawed. You will discover a Jesus, maybe for the first time, who has pursued you for your entire life. You will find in Brennan's writings over and over again the God of the broken, the wounded, the seeekers, and the lost.
Some Brennan Manning Quotes:
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”
“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery. ”
“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.”
The following video was made to promote Brennan's last book All Is Grace. It shows Brennan in his last days and a look back on his life.