It is with some sadness and some relief that I write of Brennan Manning’s death.
Brennan has been unwell for quite some time, with severely limited mobility and communication due to a neurological disorder. Friends have been caring for him around the clock. Their efforts have been most admirable, especially since Brennan was left homeless in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last fall.
During the last two decades, Brennan has become one of the world’s most well-known authors on spirituality and unconditional love. I became aware of his writing through the singer-songwriter Rich Mullins (1955-1997), who was a personal friend of Brennan’s.
I like to imagine Rich meeting Brennan at the gate as he crosses over. Oh, to be a fly on that wall today…
If you’ve never read any of Brennan’s work and want to, I can recommend no greater tome than his most famous book: The Ragamuffin Gospel. I’ve read, re-read, given away, and re-bought this book more times than I can count. I still don’t feel like I’ve sufficiently sounded the depths of its wisdom.
Here is a short excerpt:
In faith, there is movement and development. Each day something is new. To be Christian, faith has to be new – that is, alive and growing. It cannot be static, finished, settled. When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead. When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I have headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps. I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.
And I couldn’t resist posting this next line, from the same book, which is my personal favorite of all his sentences:
Aristotle said I am a rational animal, I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.