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All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir (English Edition) Formato Kindle
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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.
Manning has had an unusual life compared to some, full of diverse experiences in Europe and the United States (military service, joining a Franciscan order, campus ministry, leaving the priesthood, marriage, becoming a prolific author and speaker). However, his struggles are the struggles of every man who is not afraid to admit his humanity and need for God's grace. Just substitute the names and details of your own heartaches, failings, and fractured relationships. However, he's also been blessed to have dedicated, grace-giving friends who have lavished him with love along the way, a reflection of God's heart.
Throughout the book, I found myself hitting two buttons over and over--the thirty-second rewind and the stop--to meditate on a profound thought or reflect on how something Manning wrote informed an aspect of my own life.
Manning wanted to be brutally honest in sharing his story--though admittedly, he chose to leave parts out. Nevertheless, what he did share about his upbringing, the lack of a close relationship with his mother (he does know the freedom of forgiveness regarding this issue), leaving the priesthood, a marriage that ended in divorce, and his life-long struggle with alcoholism was revealing. As the apt title infers, that someone who wrestled as he did could write books that have brought healing to so many ("The Ragmuffin Gospel," "Abba's Child," and more) is evidence of the grace of God in his life--and through Brennan Manning, to us.
In his old age, he has three words to answer the question of how someone who wrote the books he did could repeatedly lapse into alcoholism. "These things happen." He responds to critics who say he preaches a cheap grace, saying "not so," that his message is a "banana peel" to the orthodox.
The narrator did an excellent job--his style was conversational, his inflections were appropriate. His speaking cadence was neither too fast nor too slow (as in some audiobooks). In short, I felt as though I was sitting in a large comfy chair in a cozy room by a fireplace, listening to Brennan Manning share from his heart.
So how did this book "disturb" me. It reminded me of what I know but need to remember every day--that the Savior came to bind up the broken-hearted, offering His yoke to those with heavy burdens, that we bring nothing to Him except our brokenness--and that is really where it starts for those who are truly poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3).
If you haven't read any of Brennan Manning's books, read them and then read this one-- or read this one first and then marvel at the wisdom that only a broken man can dispense.*****
A complimentary copy of the book was provided by the publisher, christianaudio.
And if I may speak to the uninitiated for a moment: No matter what kind of theology you hold to — or don't hold to — I'd recommend adding a dose of Brennan Manning to your reading. I know people who despise him, who write him off as a peddler of cheap grace. Never mind them. I'm not saying that their critiques are completely unfounded, but I do think they miss the point. For all the preachers and writers who (correctly!) tell you that becoming a Christian will and should change your life, it's good to have someone like Brennan Manning to remind you that, well, sometimes this transformation doesn't happen all at once, and sometimes it doesn't happen in the areas of your life that you want it to happen in, and sometimes, frankly, you're left struggling with the same stupid sins your entire life. Manning doesn't celebrate or glorify his shortcomings, far from it, but he is honest about them, and in this way, he is an antidote to the quick-fix wishful-thinking best-life-now quasi-Christian gurus. And if you're going to read some Manning, I can't think of a better place to begin than "All Is Grace". It's not as elegant or literary as some of his work, but it may be his most beautiful, his most plainspoken, his most transparently humble.
To summarize, this is a great book, one of most life-giving I have read. I recommend it to everyone who has had enough life experiences to recognize the truth of Brennan Manning's message. It's not always pretty, but it is the gospel of grace. Let it overwhelm you.
I will agree with other reviews by saying that the book is somewhat short and, at times, leaves you wanting more. In the same breath, however, I will say that the book was worth the wait and every penny spent. ALL IS GRACE is a glimpse of the real Brennan Manning. The grace that he so often speaks of is not just a popular or favorite topic of his, it's his lifeline. It is the rope that connects a self-admitted lying, alcoholic, divorced ex-priest to a holy, loving God.
I recommend this book to everyone, especially ministers, like myself, who feel desperately inadequate in our desire and mission to properly represent a God that we really have no business representing. This book shows that God is bigger than our sin, our hypocrisy, and our self-hatred. He does not need us, He WANTS us.
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