Saturday, April 13, 2013

on brennan manning

Brennan Manning passed away yesterday.

As usual, the closer something is to my heart, the harder it is for me to articulate my emotion.

Brennan Manning, whom I have met only once, smoking a cigarette in the courtyard of my home church almost twenty years ago, is among the most significant influences of my spiritual life.  I remember clearly finishing The Ragamuffin Gospel as a sophomore in college, and saying to myself, what if this is really true?  What if I am as free, and as loved, as Brennan Manning says I am?

His words have shaped both my understanding of God and my response to Him.  In the moments when I have been most uncertain of myself, or God, or how to proceed forward, I have returned to Brennan Manning's books over and over again.

And last year, as Brian and I held on to the truth that God loves us as one clawing at the edge of a cliff, the only conceivable name for the baby brought into our lives at that time was Brennan.  It was a declaration, a reminder, a plea.  May our little Brennan always know he is as free, and as loved, as Manning's books assure us we are.

“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands, I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last ‘trick’, whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.
‘But how?’ we ask.
 Then the voice says, ‘They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’
 There they are. There we are – the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life’s tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.
 My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”



Ljkgates said...

Well written Stephanie! I love to read your thoughts as they most always inspire me. Love you!

Heather Truett said...

It is so good to read this tonight. I need to read some Manning soon. I loved The Importance of Being Foolish.