Author and speaker Brennan Manning wrote a book for me years ago, The Ragamuffin Gospel. During a time when every paradigm of my faith seemed to be shifting, he spoke life and grace and generous, affirming love over me. To some he lived a controversial life, prone to stumbles and falls about any time he was able to stand. But in the wake of his death Friday, he leaves behind a legacy of words that provoke thought, encourage the believer (and the one who wants to believe), and makes accessible the Gospel to anyone who has ears to hear.
I've collected ten Brennan Manning quotes to introduce you to his work and words if you aren't yet acquainted–
My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
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Do the truth quietly without display.
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The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word. Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of *knowing* Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.
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…memory makes it possible for us both to bless the past, even those parts of it that we have always felt cursed by, and also to be blessed by it…what the forgiveness of sins is all about."
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When we wallow in guilt, remorse, and shame over real or imagined sins of the past, we are disdaining God's gift of grace.
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When our inner child is not nurtured and nourished, our minds gradually close to new ideas, unprofitable commitments and the surprises of the Spirit.
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For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened," He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.
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What makes a genius? The ability to see. To see what? The butterfly in a caterpillar, the eagle in an egg, the saint in a selfish person, life in death, unity in separation, God in the human and human in God and suffering as the form in which the incomprehensibility of God himself appears.
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There is the "you" that people see and then there is the "rest of you".
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My message, unchanged for more than fifty years, is this: God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is at they should be. It is the message of grace….
That last one? A lovely tune for a one-stringed guitar.
Yes, good enough for lyrics!
Thank you, Robin! I had the honor of sitting in on the studio edit (as the editor/proofer) of an audio production of “Ragamuffin Gospel” a few years ago & it was so profound! Especially touching was seeing the narrator, a brand-new follower of Jesus, having to stop the production at several points in the recording, as he was so touched by hearing the Good News of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of grace, that he started to cry.
Brother Brennan will be missed deeply by this little ragamuffin…
– nina ruth 🙂
Shaun Groves wrote a song All is Grace, inspired by the words of Ann Voskamp; a similiar message to Manning’s.
It’sbeen YEARS since I read Ragamuffin Gospel, but it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear, to help me believe process and hold onto God’s unconditional love for me; not because of anything I had done (or not done) but because of the accompolished work of his son.
And what a lovely scene you’ve described; I’m sure all within hearing were equally moved.
Don’t know how I’ve missed him but your quotes are compelling and refreshing… enough to cause me to look him up right now. Needed the one about letting scholarship stealing the life of relationship. Just had a commentary on Hosea deflate my joy with it…going back for “life.”
Loved this post! Haven’t read Ragamuffin Gospel yet, but it sounds like good reading.
He will be greatly missed!! 🙂
Oh – I LOVE manning. Just found him through a god breeze last year – and have been so so thankful.
I began with the furious longing of God, and the Rabbi’s heart beat – looking forward to reading Abba’s child and ragamuffin Gospel
Thanks for sharing this!