This book changed my life Some people may have trouble getting through it because it really challenged a lot of things that you may have held onto tightly for so long But even if you don t agree with everything there are a few things here and there , there is a tremendous amount of wisdom that can be gleaned from the author s insight Upon reading this wonderful book, my eyes were open to a whole new world that I wasn t even aware that they were previously closed to It knocked me around emot This book changed my life Some people may have trouble getting through it because it really challenged a lot of things that you may have held onto tightly for so long But even if you don t agree with everything there are a few things here and there , there is a tremendous amount of wisdom that can be gleaned from the author s insight Upon reading this wonderful book, my eyes were open to a whole new world that I wasn t even aware that they were previously closed to It knocked me around emotionally and spiritually in ways that I really needed Now, I find myself less judgmental of others andopen to compassion to those that might be struggling with whatever trials they are facing We see a lot of people and we make assumptions We listen as their actions and lives speak but do we truly hear and understand what they are going through Am i really listening or am I just assuming I know and tell em to suck it up Paul WrightThis book teaches about grace Most people think they know what that means, but it really doesn t show in their lives I love this book and I hope every one, especially Christians, read it Brennan Manning wrote The Ragamuffin Gospel for the bedraggled, beat up, and burnt out, the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered the children, the ill, the tax collectors, the women In other words, the ragamuffins Manning understands better than most that behind our facades of order and self assurance are inadequacies that can find healing only in Jesus While the powerful and religious elite challenged him, Jesus embraced and healed and fed the needs of the ragamuffins Jesus delivered love, healing, and, most of all, grace Grace is defined as the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God But, as Manning points out, we have twisted the gospel of grace into religious bondage and distorted the image of God into an eternal, small minded bookkeeper In reality, God offers us grace immeasurable Brennan Manning gently encourages us to embrace that grace in the face of our greatest needs And Manning certainly knows whereof he speaks, having taken a journey from priesthood and academic achievement through a collapse into alcoholism Manning came face to face with his need, finally abandoning himself to grace And he invites us now to join him in a life of grace Manning is without doubt one of the most eloquent writers on the subject of grace because he openly shares his own pain and struggle to help readers deal with failure and inadequacy And he sweetly challenges them to do the samePatricia Klein I went into this book written in 1990 thinking, Okay, author, what are you going to tell me that I haven t read in the authors pumping out books after you I had planned to zip through it as quick as possible to check it off the list and put it on the shelf.It didn t take too many pages for me to realize that this was not that kind of book This is the kind of book you put on your I need to reread this every few years so I don t forget how important the message is shelf.Brennan Manning s m I went into this book written in 1990 thinking, Okay, author, what are you going to tell me that I haven t read in the authors pumping out books after you I had planned to zip through it as quick as possible to check it off the list and put it on the shelf.It didn t take too many pages for me to realize that this was not that kind of book This is the kind of book you put on your I need to reread this every few years so I don t forget how important the message is shelf.Brennan Manning s message could be summed up in three words God is gracious But don t let that sound cliche The book teaches that we do not need to think about God as judge, God as condemner, God as needing to be appeased God is happy just to have our company God expects us to mess upthan we think we will That s okay God loves us anyway And God knows that love is better motivation than fear anyway And stop trying to be so self righteous, because that only takes away from your trust in God You re just a ragamuffin Admit it and move on.The story that will stick with me is the author s commentary on the parable of the prodigal son The father, waiting for the wayward son to return, does not wait for the son to apologize and say he ll never mess up again before he is smothering him with kisses All the son needs to do is show up No eye contact, no speech, just two feet on the road home If you are interested in the Christian faith but find it self righteous and restricting, this book might be a refreshing change of pace This writer definitely refrains from judgement, and makes the case for self acceptance of your own frailty and affirms that God eagerly takes on special cases , and he proves we all somehow fall in that category It is a humble book that gently puts it arms around those who have failed miserably in their faith and yet still want to try to find their way toward If you are interested in the Christian faith but find it self righteous and restricting, this book might be a refreshing change of pace This writer definitely refrains from judgement, and makes the case for self acceptance of your own frailty and affirms that God eagerly takes on special cases , and he proves we all somehow fall in that category It is a humble book that gently puts it arms around those who have failed miserably in their faith and yet still want to try to find their way toward their Truth I am a bedraggled, beaten up, messy ragamuffin I am a former ministry junkie with a bad habit of seeking to please almost everyone and desperately trying to hide my sins from those who expect me to be clean and white washed as they are I have fallen and fallen again Mostly I failed myself Thank God It was time for that old life to disappear And it was time for me to read this lovely book I stopped many times to wipe my eyes, to pray for forgiveness and acceptance of mercy and grace and to I am a bedraggled, beaten up, messy ragamuffin I am a former ministry junkie with a bad habit of seeking to please almost everyone and desperately trying to hide my sins from those who expect me to be clean and white washed as they are I have fallen and fallen again Mostly I failed myself Thank God It was time for that old life to disappear And it was time for me to read this lovely book I stopped many times to wipe my eyes, to pray for forgiveness and acceptance of mercy and grace and to open my heart toIt was time to fully accept my ragamuffinness and let God love me anyway Though I have known this to be true, I had forgotten that the gospel was for me even after salvation was assured.Through the book, the picture of the Prodigal Son story spoke to me again in a new way I am currently estranged from my children because of my ragamuffinness They are refusing to associate with me until I stop sinning But my eyes are on the streets as I drive along, my eyes never stop roaming the crowds in stores in hopes of seeing one of them I want them to drive up and come home to me But I came to realize in reading this book that I was hoping to clear the air when and if they do show up Now I know that my only response will be gratitude, openness and kisses of kindness and thankfulness I have no right to ask forfrom them or from Abba I will say, All is forgotten Come into the house This book will be a gift I give to those I love and those who need my love I ll likely buy a dozen copies just to keep on hand for anyone who seems to need a cool drink of living water from the Master Himself he says come, all you who are burdened and ladened heavy with life I will come back to The Ragamuffin Gospel again and again when I need that living water to wash over me I am grateful to Brennan Manning for penning this book The Spirit still moves in illuminating the purity of God s grace May it always be Such a good book I really cannot believe it s taken me this long to get around to it. I was first introduced to Brennan Manning when I read hisAbove All He Took the Fall and Thought of Mewhich is basically an exposition on Michael W Smith s song Above All In that book, I saw some serious problems in his thought, but people assured me that I was simply misunderstanding what he had to say and that Brennan Manning really is a good guy who is faithful to what the Bible teaches I was told that reading The Ragamuffin Gospel would accurately represent Manning s teaching If I was first introduced to Brennan Manning when I read hisAbove All He Took the Fall and Thought of Mewhich is basically an exposition on Michael W Smith s song Above All In that book, I saw some serious problems in his thought, but people assured me that I was simply misunderstanding what he had to say and that Brennan Manning really is a good guy who is faithful to what the Bible teaches I was told that reading The Ragamuffin Gospel would accurately represent Manning s teaching If this accurately represents Manning s teaching, he has bigger problems than just some faulty theology.Being a college student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical and Theological studies, I wanted to critically examine this book and weigh everything Manning had to say against the biblical teachings, theology, and doctrine which I have come to find so precious to the Christian life I was a bit put off when Manning said on page 17, It this book is not for the academics who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis Unfortunately, many people would applaud Manning for sticking it to the man in saying this Evenunfortunately, I agree that many divinity schools today put much emphasis on doctrine and theology but not on piety This statement is only the first showing of his antiestablishment attitude.Indeed, Manning does not like the institutional church He consistently compares learned church leaders to the Pharisees in Jesus day By the end of the book, Manning had told me that God s enemies are not the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers of 1 Corinthians 6 9 11, but Manning informed me that the biggest detriment to the church was anyone with a seminary degree who would dare say that there is any sort of life change required in entering the kingdom of God This plays into the doctrine of salvation he presented.Manning does well to say that everyone is a sinner Everyone is with sin and not a good person He also does well to inform his readers that sin is people s main problem which prevents God from loving them He does not do well to answer the question, What is God s solution to this problem of sin According to Manning, God simply overlooks or ignores men s sin and accepts them for who they are At one point, Manning goes so far to admit that this doesn t seem just according to man s idea of justice and claims that this irrationality is what makes God so glorious This immediately disregards the 500 year old doctrine of Penal Substitutionary Atonement which says that Jesus death quantifiably paid for the sin of everyone who would be saved and holds that God s justice is satisfied because his wrath is poured out and that his mercy is displayed in pouring his wrath out on himself in the Son.The sacred secular split is another thing which Manning is clear to address Toward the beginning, Manning speaks against it, saying that it doesn t exist Later on, he admits that he thinks the gospel is irrational, a thought which he makes clear on page 207, saying, My only prayer May Jesus Christ convert us to the folly of the gospel In book Escape from Reason A Penetrating Analysis of Trends in Modern Thoughts 148109by Francis Schaeffer, the long trail of the sacred secular split is traced from its very onset In his book, Schaeffer writes of Soren Kierkegaard who said that the gospel required a leap of faith and that the Christian belief is not something that should be considered rational Well, the irrationality of Christianity would then have no place affecting the rationality of math, science, politics, and literature, and so an irrational rational split was created which lead to today s sacred secular split Manning s type of thinking is exactly what leads to the split which Manning dislikes so much.In this book, Manning displays his lack of understanding much of church history I was first alerted to this when he used the term puritanical in a negative light Reading books and sermons by various puritans, anyone can see that these people had profound understanding of Scripture and of the Christian life, but Manning s understanding of them seems to be shapedbyThe Scarlet Letterthan anything they themselves wrote Indeed, the sons and grandsons of Puritans were the ones who fought in The Revolutionary War and went on to for The United States of America He also displays his lack of historical learning when he praises Thomas More for his moral fortitude when he faced his execution at the order of King Henry VIII What Manning doesn t seem to grasp is that More was executed for his undying loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church which at that time, the time of the Reformation, was quite corrupt which Manning thoroughly decries elsewhere in his book.Finally, Manning is a heretic, and he knows it Manning consistently lists condemning the heresy of universalism among negative responses to his message When relating the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Manning says that the Samaritan is a heretic He doesn t go on to mention the cultural, historical, and theological differences between Samaritans and Jews which would have earned such a title for the Samaritan, but Manning moves on to his next point, leaving the reader thinking that heretics are just people with different opinions about scripture who the church refuses to help If there was any doubt that Manning isn t making an attack on established ecclesiastical institutions, Manning addresses the negative responses to his book in the appendix entry The Scandal of Grace Fifteen Years Later He doesn t say that such an overwhelmingly negative response from learned churchgoers and seminarians is an evidence that, in fact, might be wrong on some points, but he says that it is evidence of just how hard it is for stuck up, whitewashed, pharisaical Christians to accept his version of the gospel of grace.Underlying this entire book is a prideful attitude that anyone who objects to his message is wrong and that he is right He claims toward the beginning of the book that he reads Scripture without any preconceived notions affecting his interpretation, but, if I haven t made this clear above, Manning has many preconceived notions indeed, everyone does This book sits next toThe Shackin that it has some very heart warming stories of men confronting sin and understanding the love of God, but the theological sacrifices one has to make to appreciate the entirety of this book are not worth the read.For aorganized and articulate critique of this book by someone else, click here Well, all the recommendations I received for this over the years were correct with a bullet What a magnificent book Some books teach Some books inspire Some books reveal This did all that, but what it really did was help me love Jesusand know the love of JesusI loved Manning s bluntness and ability to incisively get to the heart of grace and God s love. Here s a test for you While reading this book, were you stirred with compassion or contempt It will speak volumes about how much you get God s grace While not agreeable on every point, Brennan Manning has written one of the most down to earth classics of Christian literature There is a lot to love here amidst some of the shaky theology, and though critics jump in through those cracks with plenty of complaints, there is no denying the wonderful power of the cross in Manning s work He has dra Here s a test for you While reading this book, were you stirred with compassion or contempt It will speak volumes about how much you get God s grace While not agreeable on every point, Brennan Manning has written one of the most down to earth classics of Christian literature There is a lot to love here amidst some of the shaky theology, and though critics jump in through those cracks with plenty of complaints, there is no denying the wonderful power of the cross in Manning s work He has drawn a picture of grace bigger and better than any modern Christian author has even remotely attempted Let s get this out of the way Brennan Manning talks about sin He does not ignore it Any critic who says so is selectively reading His story of Max the lying drunk is horrific it is exactly what sin does to an unrepentant fool Manning s work is also largely reactionary to the stifling legalism of modern churches Of course he overwhelms with grace So did Jesus If so much grace bothers you, it s possible the book is aiming right at your uptight moralism, just as it did mine I was thoroughly challenged on much I had believed about God s love I always knew the immensity of God s wrath The Asian community emphasizesfear and respect for authority than almost any other culture in the world It has shaped the Asian Christian church to near unbearable imprisonment The book was literally a breath of fresh air for me Manning makes a razor sharp focus on God s grace because he assumes you have been exhausted by legalities Of course this can backfire it will make you uncomfortable if you violently uphold sound doctrine, or if you don t have a healthy fear of God If you re expecting a balanced work, go pick up a brick of systematic theology This work makes ONE case I hope that s okay for some of you doctrine loving seminarians I am one Manning is talking to real live people with real problems who do not need oneexegesis on all the Greek permutations of an aorist verb He speaks to broken people drowning in their sinful filth Like the kind of people Jesus ate with I loved how Manning spoke to people with real struggles Doctrine should never be cold and calculating Please gut check yourself on that, as I did while reading There is much to disagree with as well Concepts of self love and inner child and unqualified tolerance are a bit trite and even counterproductive to his writing He plain stumbles through some of these ideas But to write him off simply because you find that detestable is a little strange Even arrogant When we hear of God s grace, do you feel compassion or contempt The Ragamuffin Gospel will draw you to one or the other I can almost guarantee that if you feel contempt, you might be the same way with others, or you will defend yourself about it In other words, Manning may have achieved his goal to bring you out of your safe church brain and into the heart of Jesus As he calls it, the Second Journey We d be wise not to shut that down so fast This book did not pass my 100 page test I desperately wanted to love it, and it started out seeming so promising I was worried about the gimmicky 19 step program addendum tacked onto the end, true And I was worried when I looked onand saw that the author seems to have made something of a cottage industry of spin off volumes and workbooks and so forth The profile of the author, too, seemed a little cheesy and weirdly evasive Still I tried to put all of that aside and keep an open min This book did not pass my 100 page test I desperately wanted to love it, and it started out seeming so promising I was worried about the gimmicky 19 step program addendum tacked onto the end, true And I was worried when I looked onand saw that the author seems to have made something of a cottage industry of spin off volumes and workbooks and so forth The profile of the author, too, seemed a little cheesy and weirdly evasive Still I tried to put all of that aside and keep an open mind, as I m always eager to hear about grace, and that seemed to be what this was about.Well alas, everything good he had to say about the topic seemed to be said in the first 25 pages, and then periodically reiterated And aside from that, everything there is to say of this nature about grace has already been said better andeloquently and withhumbleness by Martin Luther or one of his disciples.Manning, on the other hand, set to work right away on alienating me and creeping me out I was already starting to get a nasty Oprah Book Club vibe off of him, and then on page 48 in my edition he dropped in a massive, massive overshare that may have made me throw up in my mouth just a little I ve read fardisgusting things in books not to mention online but the random way he just tossed this anecdote in there creeped me out I felt, honestly, a bit violated to have this TMI thrown at me out of nowhere, for no particular reason other than shock effect At that point, I began skimming, then speed skimming, to see if it was going to get any better, any less gimmicky ordeep and interesting It didn t.At some point I caught him using the term inner child and the book was officially dead to me.Mannning is definitely of the Jesus was a closet socialist Jesus was a hippie misfit school of thought He beats you over the head over and over again that Jesus likes dropouts like himself, an ex Franciscan and addicts like himself, a recovering alcoholic and prostitutes, and lepers All of this is neatly decontextualized of the actual Gospel context, so unless you know a decent amount about the New Testament you are helpless to refute his various assertations and are likely to just go with them, even when he is seriously erroneous Manning seems to really have it in for educated people, theologians, people who aren t poor, and especially for the archetypical upstanding matronly woman As an educated and decidedly matronly woman I got the impression that he felt Jesus love and acceptance extended to me, but only grudgingly Twould be better were I a reformed hooker or some other kind of leper As they say, when you have re created God in your own imageyou have committed blasphemy.Dude even shares an anecdote meant to demonstrate we are to loosen up Yes, he told me to loosen up This is so junior high school, where being the smart, good kid is bad and being the smartaleck, underachiever is good I expectfrom my Christianity than this upside down world contrarianism, thank you very much