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All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir Paperback – January 1, 2015
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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In this book, I was riveted with his honest, vulnerable account of a deeply flawed man struggling with destructive tendencies who ultimately keeps returning to God despite his rather sensational falls. His life story actually supports the revelational truth that he staked his ministry on: "God loves you as you are and not as you should be since none of us are as we should be." Very powerful testimony of one's man journey to find God in the midst of personal train wrecks.
Forgiving that, this is a book that will leave you weeping with joy at just how much God loves you no matter what you have done, or more importantly, what you continue to do.
I also, remember thinking just before he got up to speak, "was that alcohol I smell?" "Abba, help him!" "Help me!"
This book was a sweet and at times bittersweet remembrance of a wounded healer, a Ragamuffin Gospel of grace that we both embraced. I learned in this book many things, I had wanted to ask him, that helped me understand how flowers can grow along a path when water leaks from a cracked pot.
Although the other book I read from Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God, had biographical elements, this was much more intentionally autobiographical. Manning discussed his childhood under the care of a father who never quite seemed to find work and a mother who never quite seemed to like him. Indeed, the culture of shame in his childhood home seems palpable. Manning moves on to describe his entry into and exodus out of the priesthood, and then marriage, all the while maintaining his relationship with alcohol.
Manning, who finished this memoir in his late 70s, was at a point in his life where the end was in view. He required assistance to finish the book. He required assistance in many things, actually. Despite all of this, he clings to grace.
In sum, this is a compelling memoir. I admire his transparency, even with his admission that he still may not be entirely so. I am moved by his proclamation of vulgar grace (a term he borrowed from Robert Capon). My reservations, as the were with his other book that I read were his approach to inclusivism. Though he doesn't come out directly and say so, much like Capon, Manning appears to believe that all people everywhere will be saved, regardless. As I read the Bible, it appears that only those who call upon Christ for his mercy will be saved. Nonetheless, Manning is a champion for God's grace to unworthy sinners and this memoir will help you to see that.