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Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Ragamuffin Gospel = Brennan Manning 25th Anniversary Edition

On the inside cover the author states who this book is for. "This book is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God."
Despite the fact their is a recommendation from Eugene Patterson (author of the Message) inside, I would recommend this book. This most recent release is the hard cover 25th anniversary edition. I had read this book years ago, and re-reading it helped me to remember how honest and real it was. The author definitely puts his own story between the pages, claiming to be a ragamuffin himself. I have an older paperback edition, and was glad to see it published as a hard cover for, I believe, the first time. To me, a few pages on Martin Luther and the Reformation is always a good sign. The entire book is about God's grace. The undeserved, unmerited favor of God, that is only through faith, not by works.
In an honest admission of failure, on page 16 the author states, "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." We need more upfront statements like these in this world, where we all think that everyone else has it all together. They don't.
Chapter 2 begins with a description of creation that makes a good case for intelligent design.
Although he never uses the words total depravity, he describes the depravity that we are all capable of, but God loves us anyway. In the chapter titles Paste jewelry and sawdust hot dogs, the author states "The way we treat each other is the truest test of our faith" How we show our love to our fellow humans on this earth.
And on page 189, "The first step toward rejuvenation begins with accepting where you are and exposing your poverty, frailty, and emptiness to the love that is everything."
The whole idea that we can't earn God's grace or His favor, is all through this book. The author has a gentle way of writing, that invites the reader to have a conversation, a dialog, and is quite easy to read. I will enjoy having it on my shelf as a hard cover.
I have been provided a complimentary copy of this book  in exchange for a review.

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