Monday, September 26, 2011

Brennen Manning-All is Grace

“For Ragamuffins, God's name is Mercy. We see our darkness as a prized possession because it drives us into the heart of God. Without mercy our darkness would plunge us into despair - for some, self-destruction. Time alone with God reveals the unfathomable depths of the poverty of the spirit. We are so poor that even our poverty is not our own: It belongs to the mysterium tremendum of a loving God.” -Brennen Manning

I don't keep a lot of books. The odds of finishing my reading list in a normal lifetime isn't even probable. If I'm reading a book you want, as soon as I'm done you can have it. No, really, you can. In recent years I've downsized my library from over 1000 books to less than 25.

I make a few exceptions. There's a shelf in my office of books you can't have. Although I can't be sure, it's quite possible I couldn't survive in their absence. They're books that have outlined my existence, saved my earthly life, and became better companions than most.

Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son, The Life of the Beloved, and Can you Drink the Cup?

Robert Benson's Between the Dreaming and the Coming True, Living Prayer, The Body Broken and In Constant Prayer.

And Brennen Manning. Abba's Child, The Furious Longing of God, The Ragamuffin Gospel, and The Wisdom of Tenderness.

Added to my shelf this morning is Manning's soon to be released memoirs, All is Grace. Anticipated to be his final work, it is the crowning glory of a life openly embracing the God he loves. Not a perfect life. Not a life cleaned up and offered with the expectation that more people will run to God if we make Him more attractive. He found God from the place he was standing, and God accepted and led him from that moment on. His story is a symphony of grace.

It was Manning who first brought to my awareness that my soul has a voice longing to be heard. It was in his words I found the freedom to sit with darkness and still trust the Light. On pages he penned, I found the love of a Father. The same God, great Creator and Ruler of the universe, calls this sinner, "Beloved." He invites me, welcomes me, to come to Him. Not when I get it all together. Not when I'm worthy. Now. And to keep bringing this mess of an existence to His heart, over, and over, and over again until my faith is made sight.

All is Grace Indeed.

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