All is Grace

Sometimes I get tired of being a Christian, let alone a pastor.

I struggle with doubt: Is God really there or when I pray am I just talking to myself?

I struggle with cynicism: American Christianity is really arguing about ______?  Really!?

I struggle with feelings of inadequacy: If only I was as talented/gifted/intelligent/personable/etc. as ________, then I’d be a better campus minister.

Then I read a book like All is Grace, the memoir of Brennan Manning.  In this book Brennan Manning bears his soul, being honest about his struggles with alcoholism and his failure as a husband.  He does not write as a man whose life is altogether, he does not write from a tower of self-confidence.  Instead, he writes as a broken man caught by the love of Jesus.

As I read this book over and over again I thought, yes, I can worship the kind of loving God Brennan Manning keeps talking about.

“Ragamuffins have a singular prayer: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner”” (p.31).

“If I’ve learned anything about the world of grace, it’s that failure is always a chance for a do-over” (p. 162)

“God strips away those falsehoods because it is better to live naked in truth than clothed in fantasy” (p.188).

“My message, unchanged for more than fifty years, is this: God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be” (p. 192)

“This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover. Grace is enough. He is enough. Jesus is enough” (p. 194)

Thank you Brennan Manning.

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