Book #9- Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Part of my compact in trying to get 50 new books in during 2009 was that 1/10th of the books (my tithe, if you like) had to be religious books. Given my background, that essentially means that they have to be Christian books. Nothing against Buddhism or Islam or Judaism or whatever your creed, but frankly, I’m confused enough without studying other religions’ ideas of God and His/Her teaching at this point.

Manning’s book is outstanding. I’ve been feeling more than a little burned out lately, and in an imperfect world, with all of my human failings, it’s very easy to fall into constant navel-gazing over how inept or lazy or self-centered I am. Manning reminds us that the gospel is about a love, an insane, ridiculous love by human standards, but point of order for God. One of his essential points is that God loves everyone, that he loves us in our inept, lazy, self-centeredness, and that we don’t have to dress ourselves up as anything we aren’t. And, of course, all we have to do to have this love is accept it.

Manning’s Christianity is not a prison of regulations, but a world of freedom. Manning won’t have much appeal for people who try to hide their humanness beneath a mask of feigned competence or control. He doesn’t like or accept worry or anxiety or guilt. His book reminds us that Christianity truly is a relational faith, and that so much of the work was already done for anyone who will accept it. He reminds us of Christ’s two great commandments– that aside from honoring God, our other direct challenge is in loving our fellow humankind, who are probably all, well, ragamuffins, not so different than us.

Also, for whatever it’s worth, Manning tells an anecdote early in the book which gets its own post. It was like Jerry Seinfeld discussing sin. I hate to tease without the info, but the book is at home right now… I’ll post it later.

In the meanwhile, I dig this book. It’s positive, it’s thoughful and it seems to me to be solidly based. It’s definitely worth reading.



2 Responses to “Book #9- Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning”

  1. Amy Hilliard Says:

    I’ve been meaning to read this one. I have his devotional beside my bed. “Reflections for Ragamuffins” You might wanna check it out too.

  2. eljoe1235 Says:

    Funny enough, I saw that one on when I was looking the book up before I posted (because I forgot Brennan Manning’s name). I might track that one down.

    Also, for the proverbial $.02 it’s worth, I recommend taking “Ragamuffin” a chapter at a time. It’s a quick read, but his chapter divisions are very logical places for stopping and kind of digesting before moving on. It increases the effect of the book– but also makes it much slower to read, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing unless you’re trying to get 50 new books in a year. 😉


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