Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Sneeze The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning, Greg Garrett

Brennan Manning inspired music (Rich Mullins Ragamuffin Band). He wrote of G-d's love for imperfect  individuals, and spoke on issues such as shame, alcoholism, brokenness and more. There are 20 other books by Brennan Manning. This one was almost finished when he died earlier this spring. Thankfully Greg Garret both co-wrote and completed the work. I love reading Brennan's writings.

Drawing on the stories of the ragamuffins, we find a broken man in need of the love of a mighty G-d. The
book has the storyline that has become all too familiar in church settings, pastors and their affairs. Men in the limelight, and on the pedestals we as people have placed them on, and the down falls of humanity.

The message of grace and forgiveness found in Brennan's works overflows into this one as well. Brennan summed up this message. He said that Jesus comes to each of us and says,
"I have a word for you. I know your whole life story. I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty, and degraded love that has darkened your past. Right now, I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and my word is this: I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be, because you're never going to be as you should be."

"After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter. But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.' A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be. "

The effective ministry of Brennan Manning was brokenness, humility and vulnerability. He was not a perfect man. There was only One who is. This story shares so much of Brennan's heart. The prodigal returns home.

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