about 14 or so years ago i read abbas child by brennan manning for the first time. if you see my copy, you will notice that practically the entire book is underlined! when i cracked the book for the first time it touched a place in my heart that needed touching about God’s unconditional love for me. it reminded me how sounds-good-but-there’s-a-different-story-going-on-inside-spirituality & hyper put-togetherness was a waste of time; it became clear that my false self needed to hit the road so i could begin to experience real freedom.
since then, i think i’ve read every brennan manning book written. his newest one, the furious longing of God, was a great reminder why every so often i just need a little brennan manning fix. i read it as part of the ooze’s viral blogging book review gig & i’m really glad i did.
it was a quick read and really a compilation of many stories he has already shared in his other material, all focused on the critical premise–God loves you and has a furious longing for you that is wild, unstoppable, and far more simple than we’ve been lead to believe. there are great questions at the end of each section that are rich, deep, and would be great to reflect on and share together in some kind of a group setting. i always appreciate how brennan manning helps smash down our distorted images of God that keep us stuck & sad & spiritually lonely.
the focus on love–God’s love for us and how because we are loved we can love others–is always music to my ears. and at the same time, i am reminded how easy it is to say & much harder to live out. i have a lot of pages dog-eared, but here are a few quotes to savor:
when pondering all of the years he was pre-occupied with spiritual gymnastics, manning says “what would i actually do if i had to it all over again? heeding john’s counsel, i would simply do the next thing in love” (p. 66)
“the gospel can be summed up by saying that it is the tremendous, tender, compassionate, gentle, extraordinary, explosive, revolutionary revelation of Christ’s love.” – from catherine de hueck doherty (p. 61)
“…if we continue to picture God as a small-minded bookkeeper, a niggling customs officer rifling through our moral suitcase, as a policeman with a club who is going to bat us over the head every time we stumble and fall, or as a whimsical, capricious, and cantankerous thief who delights in raining on our parade and stealing our joy, we flatly deny what john writes in his first letter (4:16)–‘God is love.’ in human beings, love is a quality,a high-prized virtue; in God, love is his identity.” (p. 77)
“…if we continue to view ourselves as moral lepers and spiritual failures. if our lives are shadowed by low self-esteem, shame, remorse, unhealthy guilt and self-hatred, we reject the teaching of Jesus and cling to our negative self image.” (p. 77)
“healing becomes the opportunity to pass of to another human being what i have received from the Lord Jesus; namely his unconditional acceptance of me as i am, not as i should be.” (p. 82).
“to affirm a person is to see the good in them that they cannot see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary.” (p. 82)
“if we as a christian community took seriously that the sign of our love for Jesus is our love for one another, i am convinced it would change the world.” (p. 89)
“in times of persecution, theoretical christianity will collapse.” (p. 129)
which of these strike you?
the furious longing of God infused my soul with a little fuel for the journey; it was a reminder of God’s fierce love not just for me but for all people. great timing on some good stuff.
ps: next up on the carnival–out of the darkness: hope & healing from sexual addiction.