Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Brennan Manning

Ragamuffins are the unsung assembly of saved sinners that are little in their own sight and aware of their brokenness and powerlessness before God. A ragamuffin knows he is only a beggar at the door of God's Mercy. ~Brennan Manning~

Richard Francis Xavier Manning, known as Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013) was an American author, priest, and public speaker. He is best known for his bestselling book The Ragamuffin Gospel

Manning was born and raised in the Bronx section of New York City during the Depression years. He finished high school and enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean War

After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Upon his graduation from the seminary in 1963, Manning was ordained a Franciscan priest. In February of 1956, while Brennan was meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a powerful experience of the personal love of Jesus Christ sealed the call of God on his life.

Charles de Foucauld
In the late 1960s, Manning joined the Little Brothers of Jesus of Charles de Foucauldreligious institute committed to an uncloistered, contemplative life among the poor. Manning transported water via donkey, worked as a mason's assistant and a dishwasher in France, was imprisoned (by choice) in Switzerland, and spent six months in a remote cave somewhere in the Zaragoza desert.  

In the 1970s, Manning returned to the United States and began writing after confronting his alcoholism.  Singer-songwriter Rich Mullins named his band, A Ragamuffin Band, after one of Manning's books. Warren Barfield's music is also often inspired by Manning, as is the work of singer-songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones. The following quote appeared in the prelude to dc Talk's song "What if I Stumble?" It also appeared on an intro track for the Christian metalcore band War of Ages on its album Fire From the Tomb. Manning added: "That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.  

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle."

Brennan Manning died Saturday, April 13, 2013, at age 78. As a Franciscan priest who struggled with alcoholism, helped the poor and was voluntarily imprisoned. He later left the priesthood, married, later divorced, and wrote many books, including one that radically altered the way I think about God, Jesus of Nazareth, and many aspects of this life and what is to come after.

For all the broken among us, Brennan left us with this story.

“ A public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. ‘They won’t let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.’

‘What are you complaining about?’ said God. ‘They won’t let Me in either.”

In one of his final books, Brennan Manning reminds us, "John, the disciple Jesus love, ended his first letter by saying, “Children, be on your guard against false gods.” In other words, steer clear of any god you can comprehend. Abba’s love cannot be comprehended. I’ll say it again: Abba’s love cannot be comprehended."

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