Tag Archives: Brennan Manning

“These things happen.”

For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ~ Romans 7:19-20

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:16-17

brennan_manningI’ve been asked a certain question countless times over the course of my ministry. Sometimes it has been asked with genuine sincerity; other times it was a loaded pharisaical grenade: “Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters?” Here is the response I gave in The Ragamuffin Gospel in 1990: It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden, and took my eyes off Jesus. Because the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set in a right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table.

Twenty-one years later I stand by what I wrote; those words are as true for me now as they were then and on the day of my mother’s funeral. That paragraph from Ragamuffin Gospel spoke to many people; they’ve told me so time after time. I must admit though that from where I sit today the paragraph is a bit much, a little wordy. I believe I can now whittle the lines down to a three word response that incorporates all the truth of a verbose 1990 ragamuffin into a 2011 ragamuffin’s preference for brevity. Question: “Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters?” Answer: “These things happen.”
~ From All Is Grace by Brennan Manning

Dear Abba,
These things happen. They really do. And while I grieve them and You know I do, I also know deep within that these things are some of the very things that have brought me to my prodigal senses and sent me running back to You, back to my Father, back home. So I don’t thank You for these things but I do thank You for this grace that is greater than the sum of my sins; this mercy that knows my good-for-nothing name and still believes in me; and this tenderness that I’ve done nothing to deserve but loves me anyway. ~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer by Brennan Manning

Thank you Brennan for being so real. Thank you Abba for mercy and grace.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Brokenness, Christianity, God, God the Father, Grace, Love of God, Mercy, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation

“The Father gave you as a gift to Himself”

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV)

Dear Abba - Morning and Evening PrayersPain, inconvenience, sin—these are the problems of being, the alarming, embarrassing, even tragic things that God is apparently willing to put up with in order to have beings at all. But whatever the problems are, they are not the root of being. That root is joy and now. It is important to recapture the element of delight in creation. Imagine the ecstasy, the veritable orgy of joy, wonder, and delight when God makes a person in His own image—when God made you. The Father gave you as a gift to Himself. You are a response to the vast delight of God. Out of an infinite number of possibilities, God invested you with existence. Regardless of the mess you may have made out of the original clay, wouldn’t you agree with Aquinas that “it is better to be than not to be?”
— From Souvenirs of Solitude by Brennan Manning

Dear Abba,
Sometimes I get so entangled in the problems of being that I forget the root, and I miss the forests and the trees, not to mention myself. Wipe the sleep from my eyes this morning, Lord, and help me wake up to the truth that I am a response to Your vast delight. Thank You for making me me. Thank You for making me in Your image. Restore to me the joy of my existence.
~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayers by Brennan Manning with John Blasé

I am awestruck at Manning’s statement that “The Father gave you as a gift to Himself.” May we come to embrace this truth at the core of our being so that we might learn to live out of it!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Christianity, God, God the Father, Love of God, Religion and Spirituality

Like a Little Child

 

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” —Matthew 6:1-2

Dear Abba - Morning and Evening PrayersJesus says in effect: Like a little child, consider yourself to be of little account. Blessed are you if you love to be unknown and regarded as nothing: all things being equal, to prefer contempt to honor, to prefer ridicule to praise, to prefer humiliation to glory. To practice poverty of spirit calls us not to take offense or be supersensitive to criticism. The majority of hurts in our lives, the endless massaging of the latest bruise to our wounded ego, feelings of anger, grudges, resentment, and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty, from our obsession with our rights, from our need for esteem in the eyes of others. If I follow the counsel of Jesus and take the last place, I won’t be shocked when others put me there, too. (Excerpt from Lion & Lamb by Brennan Manning)

Dear Abba,
You know me all too well. I seek out honor and praise and glory on a daily basis like a bloodhound. I find it and I’m satisfied, but only for a day or two as someone or something comes along and ruins it. Then I’m off again, sniffing out something to prove to everyone just how spectacular I am. But I was not created to be a bloodhound, led by his nose. No, You created me as Your child, to be led by Your hand, the hand of a loving Father Who will provide all my needs if I will just trust You. And Lord, that’s where it gets hard.

~ From Dear Abba: Morning and Evening Prayer by Brennan Manning with John Blase

When I read this devotional yesterday morning Brennan’s words cut to the core of my being. Especially his statement about how our “resentment and bitterness come from our refusal to embrace our abject poverty …our need for esteem in the eyes of others.” So much of what we do or buy seems driven by our desire for significance.

It immediately made sense and then I proceeded to wrestle with it all day long.

Its one thing to consider yourself of no account; but quite another to have people and circumstances confirm it.

  • Could I trust God to be enough?
  • Would I surrender to His agenda?
  • Could I be content simply being a child of the King?

Yesterday I held the hand of our Father and found His love to be enough. Will I trust Him again with this new day?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Brennan Manning, Children of God, Christianity, God, intimacy with the Lord, Love of God, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Surrender, Trusting God

The Art of Being Human

Souvenirs of SolitudePerhaps the main reason that we are such poor practitioners of the art of being human; why we so often teeter on a tight-rope between self-hatred and despair is that we don’t pray. We pray so little, so rarely, and so poorly. For everything else we have adequate leisure time. Visits, get-togethers, movies, football games, concerts, an evening with friends, an invitation we can’t decline—and these are good because it is natural and wholesome that we come together in community. But when God lays claim on our time, we balk. Do we really believe that He delights to talk with His children?

~ From Souvenirs of Solitude by Brennan Manning

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Jesus Comes for Sinners

Ragamuffin Gospel“Here is revelation bright as the evening star: Jesus comes for sinners, for those as outcast as tax collectors and for those caught up in squalid choices and failed dreams. He comes for corporate executives, street people, superstars, farmers, hookers, addicts, IRS agents, AIDS victims, and even used-car salesmen. Jesus not only talks with these people but dines with them—fully aware that His table fellowship with sinners will raise the eyebrows of religious bureaucrats who hold up the robes and insignia of their authority to justify their condemnation of the truth and their rejection of the gospel of grace.”

~ Excerpted from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Tilted Halos

To be alive is to be broken.
And to be broken is to stand in need of grace.
Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness
and the truth that we are saved sinners.
There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples
who never wear a false face and
do not pretend to be anything but who they are.

~ Excerpted from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Only those who are real – warts and all – get to experience the depth of God’s limitless grace.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Christianity, Grace, Humility, Religion and Spirituality, Sin, Spiritual growth

Longing

I want neither a blood-’n’-guts religion that would make Clint Eastwood, not Jesus, our hero; nor a speculative religion that would imprison the gospel in the halls of academia; nor a noisy, feel-good religion that is a naked appeal to emotion.

I long for passion, intelligence, and compassion in a church without ostentation, gently beckoning to the world to come and enjoy the peace and unity we possess because of the Spirit in our midst.
~ Excerpted From The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning

 

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God’s being

“In spite of our reluctance and resistance, the essence and novelty of the new covenant is that the very law of God’s being is love. Pagan philosophers like Plato and Aristotle had arrived through human reasoning at the existence of God, speaking of him in vague, impersonal terms as the Uncaused Cause and the Immovable Mover.

The prophets of Israel had revealed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in a more intimate and passionate manner.

But only Jesus revealed that God is a Father of incomparable tenderness, that if we take all the good ness, wisdom, and compassion of the best mothers and fathers who have ever lived, they would only be a faint shadow of the love and mercy in the heart of the redeeming God.”
~ Brennan Manning

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” ~ 1 John 4:16

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Paradoxes

“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and I get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.

Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life’s story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side, I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, ‘A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.”
~ Brennan Manning

Thanks for being honest Brennan! It’s nice to know we’re not alone!
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Authenticity, Brokenness, Christianity, Conflict, Encouragement, God, Grace, Love of God, Trusting God

Unlike any other love

There are certain truths that take only moments to grasp and live out; but there are others so large and immense that they require a lifetime to fully comprehend. Such is the case with the grace of God.

“Justification by grace through faith” is the theologian’s learned phrase for what Chesterton once called “the furious love of God.” He is not moody or capricious; He knows no seasons of change. He has a single relentless stance toward us: He loves us. He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners.

False gods—the gods of human manufacturing—despise sinners, but the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do. But of course, this is almost too incredible for us to accept. Nevertheless, through no merit of ours, but by His mercy, we have been restored to a right relationship with God through the life, death, and resurrection of His beloved Son. This is the Good News, the gospel of grace.
~ Excerpted from The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning

Why do we, as Christians, have such a hard time fully accepting the grace and the love of God?
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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under God, Grace, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Love of God, Relationship with God