I woke up this morning to news that Brennan Manning, a beloved author and speaker, had passed away. Enjoy resting in the arms of Jesus, faithful servant.
I read my favorite of his books, The Ragamuffin Gospel, in college. I loved it. I had read a lot of books about theology, faith and “Christian living.” Some of them have very solid theology and challenged me to be more like Jesus. Some of them left me feeling like crap, that I could never measure up to the standards set for a Christian woman. And some of them, well some of them that have theology that is beyond questionable and left me feeling angry and sad. But this book, this book left me feeling known.
It’s kind of funny because Mr. Manning and I are not very similar: we are not at the same place in our lives, we don’t have overlapping social circles or life experience, and our struggles with faith and faithfulness (to Jesus) look pretty different on the outside. But still, every time I read this book I feel like he somehow managed to write from my innermost self- the feelings and hurts and doubts that I couldn’t even articulate myself yet.
It’s the first book I read that made me feel like the mess I often feel like I am is not only acceptable, but even desirable to Jesus. Mr. Manning writes of the magnificent monotony of God’s love, of His one and only relentless stance towards us: He love us. What a beautiful gospel that is. The magnificent monotony of His love. Let that sink in for a moment. Unchanging. Unflinching. Continuous. Even monotonous in it’s predictability and constance.
This book actually changed me. I think part of what makes feeling known such a blessing is that it frees you to continue to become even more who you were meant to be. It gives you the freedom and grace to change your mind and your heart.
I could quote Brennan and this book for days; there are that many things that I love about it, that challenge or encourage me, that shout to my spirit “you are not alone in this!”
I suggest you read this book for yourself, and bend your own pages, stuff it full of papers that matter, make your own diet coke stains. Love it well and let it nourish your spirit.
Today I am grateful for old books that feel like old friends when you pick them up and for precious Brennan who is celebrating with Jesus.
Who is an author or speaker that has changed your thoughts on life or faith?