Posts Tagged ‘Brennan Manning’
Questions for the 1st Sunday of Lent
“Steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the LORD. Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O you righteous, and shout for joy all you upright in heart.” (Psalm 32:10-11)
- 21:9—purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst
- 21:18—purge the evil from your midst
- 22:21—so you shall purge the evil from your midst
- 22:22—so you shall purge the evil from your midst
- 22:24—so you shall purge the evil from your midst
Not to make the obvious trite, but it seems that God wants to make it abundantly clear that His people are intended to be holy, pure, undefiled. I think the reasons are far more reaching than for this to be for a single purpose, and that primarily for show. While the visible example of purity and holiness is likely one of the purposes, I think an extended reason for this purity is that we need it. We are easily distracted…and what distracts us often corrupts us. We are influenced by what we come in contact by and keep company with. The examples of this are many, but one quick example is the acceptance of violence and sexuality in T.V. programming. Through the course of my life, there has been a major shift in what we permit to come into our homes on the television…in fact, not only is it permitted, for very many it is acceptable and demanded. This illustrates why purity and undefilement may have been so rigorously and unwaveringly demanded by our God.
This begs the question of me; “What compromises do I continue to make in keeping myself holy and undefiled for the purposes of God and the health of our relationship?”
“The Lord your God is the one to whom you must do homage, him alone you must serve.” (Matt. 4:10)
Another set of questions I think are good for me to ponder as I venture through this Lenten season, I found today while reading a book, Small Surrenders by Emilie Griffith. In it she quotes a question from Brennan Manning, who asks; “How is my life unfolding in terms of my primary goal of living with God forever?”
This is a pretty big question and might be difficult to nail down in practical terms, so Emilie unpacks this question with a more specific list that helps us to address the bigger examination of our heart. She asks the following:
- What am I doing with my time?
- What am I doing with life?
- How well am I expressing the imprint of Christ upon my heart?
- How deep is my charity?
- How deep is my love?
- How well am I functioning in the Christian life?
And, the question I completed the list with that “popped” into my head as I pondered these—“Am I becoming all that God desires and has destined for me to become?”
I think I will sit with and revisit these through my Lenten journey…
Our Prayer from Charles de Foucauld
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve and with boundless confidence. For you are my Father.
Book Review: All Is Grace
By: Brennan Manning ISBN: 9781434764188
Publisher: David C. Cook
All is Grace… and indeed it is.
I’ve read works from and listened to talks of Brennan Manning for quite a few years now. I’ve never heard this much of his “early” story as is shared in this memoir. I knew from his personal testimony there had been difficult and challenging points in his life, but I never realized to what degree he had been haunted by the early years of his childhood. This is an amazing story of God’s grace, faithfulness, forgiveness, and fulfillment. I was engrossed in the story from the moment I opened the cover. I literally could not put the book down and read it almost cover to cover on a four hour flight
One of the points of the book that “hooked” me so solidly came early in the story (chapter three; pg.50) when Brennan talks about an “imposter self” that was born in him at the age of eight. There are others I have read, M. Basil Pennington and Thomas Keating are a couple, who talk about this insidious monster of the “false self” that affects so much of who we become as we live out our lives attempting to live in to and become these “wrong” identities. It is from this perspective the rest of the book unfolds. I found this heart-wrenching.
At the other end of the spectrum was God’s unfailing grace and holy providence. In the midst of self-consuming destructive behavior, God’s relentless love for Brennan and the wonder of God’s work through Brennan’s life shines through over and over. In the midst of so much heartbreak in this book there remains the light of hope that is never, ever extinguished.
In the end, we find what God does best as the culmination this story, or so it seems to me. I loved this quote of Manning that seemed a fitting summary and realization for so many of us. He writes; “God strips away those falsehoods (false identities) because it is better to live naked in truth than clothed in fantasy” (pg.182). I spent much of my time reading this book pushing away tears between breaks of enormous smiles of grace. I think you will find yourself with a similar experience.
I ran across this quote from Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel today —
“Often I have been asked, ‘Brennan, how is it possible that you became an alcoholic after you got saved?’ 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.”
I get this; I know how it is possible. I have taken my eyes off Jesus more times than I want to admit…it brings tears of sorrow and regret to my even now thinking about it. Dear God, Lord Jesus, by Your mercy and grace and the indwelling power of Your Holy Spirit help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. Help me to show compassion and gentleness to those who “take their eyes off You” dispensing mercy and grace as You have so freely given me. Thank You, Jesus, for loving me. [Amen]
The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
“In times of persecution, theoretical Christianity will collapse.” Brennan Manning
I really liked this book. It was a very quick read, but deeply spiritual in content…don’t let the size of the book or the speed of reading it fool you for a minute. Brennan’s got the gloves off in this one and I feel like I have a couple of “shiners” after reading it (Probably exactly what I needed). At the same time that it was convicting to me, I found it delightfully affirming and I come away encouraged and invigorated to press on in the ministry and teaching that I feel God as called me to.
I’m not going to give you any summary or synopsis; instead, I’m going to say here’s another that’d be good to add to your library. I’ll shoot you a few quotes from between the covers and let you decide, but after reading the quotes that follow I’m sure you’ll be looking for a copy.
“I was speaking to the Navigators not long ago and they asked, ‘Do you have a word for us?’ I said, Yes I do. Instead of being identified as a community that memorizes Scripture, why not be identified as a community of professional lovers that cause people to say ‘How they love one another!’ Why do we judge Jesus’ criterion for authentic discipleship irrelevant? Jesus said the world is going to recognize you as His by only one sign: the way you are with one another on the street every day. You are going to leave people feeling a little better or a little worse. You’re going to affirm them or deprive them, but there’ll be no neutral exchange. If we as a Christian community took seriously the sign of our love for Jesus is our love for one another, I am convinced it would change the world. We’re denying to the world the one witness Jesus asked for: Love one another as I’ve loved you. (John 15:12)”
Here’s another: Read the rest of this entry »
Say what you will about the man, but I believe what he speaks is spot on. I realize too my imperfections and how far I miss the mark. By His grace and by His Spirit I am able to achieve all He has called me to…that goes for you too. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…