Saturday, April 14, 2007

Brennan Manning

I read all of Brennan's books back in 1997 - hard to believe it was ten years ago. I have been going through some sort of spiritual transformation of late and was prompted to pick them up again. It is amazing, ten years later, how much of what I am re-reading has worked itself into the fabric of my life over the last decade. Unfortunately, it is also amazing how far I have drifted from the simple concept that my primary identity is that of a child loved by my Father. Though The Ragamuffin Gospel is his classic work, I am most drawn to Abba's Child this time around. Every page seems to remind me of something essential that I have recently lost and hope to recover. I rarely do this, but I thought it would nice to use the comment space here to initiate a discussion on Brennan and his work - how it has impacted some of you, etc.

8 comments:

Wayne said...

Joe,
I was wondering when you wouldget back to Manning's works. I was first introduced to Abba's Child about ayear ago and read it all in one sittting. I was toldthat it really is a book you need to savor. I did finally get a chacne to savor his writing and also started reading RG. His book does always remind me of who I really am. It is cool to be reminded ot that.

ryanhayden said...

I heard Manning speak once in college. The hallmark phrase that stuck was, "If God forgives you, how dare you not forgive yourself." It was much cooler in his Irish brogue.

The said...

While attending a conference to see Brennan speak, my wife and I were stuck at the end of the lunch line. Up walks Mr. Manning. Being very familiar and touched by his work, it was very intimidating. He had few words, but was very pleasant. Once my wife and I got our plates, we just started walking to through the dining hall looking for a seat, when we heard, "Mind if I join you?". Brennan Manning was asking if he could sit with us. So there we were, Brennan, Julia and myself, tucked in a corner enjoying lunch together. We had a great conversation with him. He even talked through a few ideas he had for a new book he was working on, which ended up being "Ruthless Trust".

I quite frankly don't know where my faith, nor life would have landed without his teachings. My wife and I owe so much to him that we honored him giivng his name to our son. Now, when we introduce our son, Brennan, we tell people that we named him after a divorced, alcoholic, former Franciscan Priest we once had lunch with.

Garrett

gracemark said...

I really enjoyed the part from Garrett about how they explain their son's name. I was introduced to Manning's books through the myspace page of Kevin Max - former DC Talk member. After reading Brennan's myspace page bio, I borrowed RG from the local library. About one year, 4 Manning books (Abba's Child, Importance of Being Foolish, Ruthless Trust, and Devotionals for Ragamuffins), one Manning conference (this past February in Savannah, GA), I find myself rereading RG and enjoying it, again, immensely. I recently ordered a used copy of Abba's Child and three four used copies of RG to give to friends. If they read them, I'm sure that God will bless them, too. One of the biggest points that has stuck with me is related to ryanhayden's comment that, "If God forgives you, how dare you not forgive yourself." Manning has pointed out that God wants us to love others as we love ourselves. Critical to that directive is that WE LOVE OURSELF. As Manning pointed out at the conference in February, "None of us are as we should be." An excerpt from my personal journal, written that weekend: Saturday, February 16, 2007
Sitting in a La Quinta hotel room in Savannah. The heater doesn’t work. Though its not too cold at this point, the coffee I made in the mini-coffee maker does give welcome heat. Brennan’s talks so far today have been worth the trip. I purchased two other books and had him sign my copy of The Importance of Being Foolish as I briefly stuttered through communicating my thoughts of gratefulness for the recognition of grace that The Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust have brought in me. He responded, “Your welcome, brother.” His message today focused me on the personal nature of Abba. As I pray, I should could consider Abba to be in a chair right next to me. I need to feel comfortable laying my head in his lap, trusting that he has, indeed, forgiven me for all. Abba, through Brennan, spoke directly to me and my demons today. Now, the only one that can keep them around is me - by allowing Satan to argue that they’re still around. But, in the name of Christ Jesus today I recognize that I was “of little faith,” in his grace and forgiveness and that my head is now secure in his lap. Amen."

I will add that in a brief conversation the next day, after I stammered and stuttered through a few more words of inarticulate appreciation, Brennan told me, "We're all in this together, Brother."

Amen.

gracemark said...

BTW, please feel free to visit my blog at http://gracemark.wordpress.com
Thanks!

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

Hey Joe,
It's Chris's sister. Bet you didn't even know I read your blog. Oddly enough I am planning to start re-reading Abba's child too.
I read it for the first time freshman year of college and it was pretty amazing. There doesn't seem to be a lot of emphasis on teaching grace to high school students. Perhaps the fear is that they are too young to handle it or something. It's more about how we had better not be drinking or cussing or fooling around. Anyway,his writing helped me begin to realize the futility of all my striving and believe that God could actually like me-both of which are still hard concepts to grasp.

Susie Bageant said...

I love Brennan Manning! I got to hear him speak when I was a Young Life Leader in college and he was absolutely amazing. This tiny little man with such a quiet and soothing voice with the most powerful message of grace- the message of Grace as in Jesus. I hadn't let some things go in my past until that time and reading Ragamuffin Gospel really helped as well. I give that book to people when I think they are interested in Jesus but afraid of themselves in relation to Him. He also told us about having grown up with Saul Silverstein- now Shel Silverstein- and seeing him as an adult Brennan asked him what he thought of Jesus since he was Christian but had grown up Jewish. They met in the park they played in as kids the next day and Silverstein recited the "Giving Tree" that was his answer about Jesus. I give that book to everyone as well!
You definitely have reminded me about those books and now I think I will find and read Abba's Child- seems like a great season to read that!
Please send my love to Deb and the boys!
Susie