ragamuffin gospel

The Superhero Movie I Am In

In January, there will be a movie released. It will be something very special with an impact available to those who choose to see it. It is called Brennan and it is about Brennan Manning, the man behind the book The Ragamuffin Gospel

When a hero dies

Last night, my hero passed away. Brennan Manning has had the strongest impact on my bedraggled heart. Sitting with him twice over hot dogs will be moments my heart will not easily forget. But far more important than hot dogs and baseball are his reflections on the outrageous love of God in all His grace and mercy that have wrecked my heart for good since 1999. My hero finally rests in Abba's embrace for his Father was very fond of him.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dMwu1rhTCQ&w=560&h=315]

Old prayer for brokenness

God, Please let me back among the broken, meek, and humble. I don't know how much longer I can handle being among those who know it all, have it all together, and are unwilling to be broken, uncomfortable and bedraggled. Please let me be back in a place where it is okay to be bedraggled, ruffled, confused, and searching. Back in a place where we believe you reach down in our discomfort and humility and embrace us.

My heart aches for brokenness and the freedom to be such.

* I found this prayer in an old journal. Perhaps you are praying a similar prayer today.

All is Grace by Brennan Manning [a review]

This was the most difficult book I could not put down. This book was discovering that his or her alter ego anchors every soaring super hero. It was finding out Santa Claus pees and poops just like I do. Brennan Manning used to be my hero.

You are going to hate this book if you are looking for an account of the profound things done by one man in God’s name. You will not find here the account of a faith powerhouse who, with shear grit and discipline, followed God flawlessly.

You are going to love this book if can accept that God’s love for you is ridiculous and entirely impossible to comprehend or define. You will find here a beautifully broken picture of this love we all want to taste, but it is not an orthodox portrayal for you to study.

The writings and teaching of Brennan Manning have been a slow IV drip when my reliance and trust in Abba’s love have dehydrated. They have also been shock paddles to my heart in emergency moments when I am flat lining under the weight of shame, temptation, and failure.

I first heard the word ‘ragamuffin’ in 1999 in Brennan’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel. It ravished my aching heart. I came to understand God’s grace and furious love in a way I had never taken hold of in my life.

The ragamuffin is one with a singular prayer: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Brennan explains further in All is Grace: “any additional flourishes to make that cry more palatable are pharisaical leaven.”

The ragamuffin is one who understands that he, along with every other person, is a beggar at the door of God’s mercy. She is the one who is bedraggled and beat up in life and faith, but have learned to take the hand out of grace without regret or allowing shame to hold them back.

Revealed in this book are all the brokenness and pride, the shame and the wounds, the arrogance and failures that lie behind all the books and accolades. Brennan takes large risks in a tell all memoir, but he would clarify in other books that trust is no trust at all without risk. The amount of risk taken in this book reveals with just how much trust Brennan has fallen on the love his Abba.

One of my favorite poets, Buddy Wakefield defines forgiveness as “the release of hope for a better past.” This book reveals the hope of forgiveness. You see a hero forgive the unforgivable others in his life, namely the unforgivable within himself.

Your heroes will do all they can to keep you from seeing the sad and broken realities behind the capes. Brennan Manning used to be my hero, but this book has made him far more of a hero than he ever was.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j73mYgpxhTY&w=560&h=345]

Honor of Honors: my best book review I've yet to write

I received the direct message a week ago on twitter from David C. Cook asking me to read and review Brennan Manning's soon-to-release book All Is Grace: a ragamuffin memoir. As you are likely aware, Brennan is a bit of a hero to me. I had imagined my chance to have a hotdog with him would be my only proudest moment. So this request to read and review my hero's book before it officially releases in October is something I am much more than excited to do.

I am honored and humbled by the opportunity.

Why I am Nervous to Teach The Ragamuffin Gospel

This Sunday I will begin a class I am teaching over the book by Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel. It is my favorite book of all time, and I am strangely nervous to teach about it.

I am nervous because:

1. It is my favorite book. The lesson of recommending your favorite book to someone is one not many have learned. Not everyone is going to have the same experience with the book as you did, face it! I had to learn a while ago to be selective with my excitement for the book recommendation, but I'm not just recommending the book; I am TEACHING it.

2. I don't know how Is it a book study or a class? Can we not keep pretending that everyone actually reads the book in a book study? So the question becomes, "If I am accepting not everyone will read it, should I just teach through it at the risk of repeating what some WILL HAVE read? OR Do I go on pretending they read and make a book study at the risk of everyone looking blankly at the only one who HAS read it...ME?

3. Uneducated people may attend Aristotle said, "The mark of an educated mind is one that is able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Human beings have a tendency to hear one thing they disagree with and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Yes, Brennan Manning is a flawed ragamuffin of a man; he is likely to say some things which aren't perfect, but so do I. So does your senior pastor. So does your favorite author, but those people also write and say many other great things to present Jesus to us.


If you're in the Sacramento area and are interested in attending the class, it is on Sunday mornings for the next 6 weeks at 11:30a at First Covenant Church.

Readers Also Read

"Listeners also bought" is a favorite phrase of mine. It is a similar, but not quite the same, feeling I get when I go to log off of iTunes in a coffee shop to discover someone is connected to my shared music. (And no, I am NOT sure I want to quit if someone is enjoying my music.)

There is something interesting to know there are similar interests. But this section began to make think some more. If I wrote a book, what would I want to be listed in my "Readers also bought" section?

I would want that section to read:

Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning Matthew Paul Turner (or jesusneedsnewPR) A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller Ragamuffin Soul by Carlos Whittaker Donald Miller Henri Nouwen Songs by Rich Mullins Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (just to make people think, "What???")


If you wrote a book or made an album, what would you want to see in the "People Also Bought" section?