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Pomeranians and Poodles

24 Oct

The gospel of grace ends any apparent dichotomy between God’s power and His love. For the work of creating is an act of love. The God who flung from His fingertips this universe filled with the galaxies and stars, penguins and puffins, goals and gannets, Pomeranians and poodles, elephants and evergreens, parrots and potato bugs, peaches and pears, and a world full of children made in His own image, is the God who loves with magnificent monotony. And anyone who has experienced the love of the Lord of the Dance will tell you: the synonym for monotonous is not boring.

Brennan Manning

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Multnomah 1990/2000, 50.

Grace in Theory

10 Oct

The American church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice… Too many Christians are living in the house of fear and not in the house of love… Personal responsibility has replaced personal response… Though lip service is paid to the gospel of grace, many Christians live as if it is only personal discipline and self denial that will mold the perfect me. The emphasis is on what I do rather than on what God is doing… How could the gospel of Christ be truly called “Good News” if God is a righteous judge rewarding the good and punishing the evil? Did Jesus really have to come to reveal that terrifying message? How could the revelation of God in Christ Jesus be accurately called “news” since the old testament carried the same theme, or “good” with the threat of punishment hanging like a dark cloud over the valley of history?

Brennan Manning

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Multnomah 1990/2000, 18-19.

The Bishop and the Mystic

20 Jul

Perhaps you’ve heard this story: Four years ago in a large city in the far West, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The reports reached the archbishop. He decided to check her out. There is always a fine line between the authentic mystic and the lunatic fringe.

“Is it true, ma’am, that you have visions of Jesus?” asked the cleric.

“Yes,” the woman replied simply.

“Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins that I confessed in my last confession.”

The woman was stunned. “Did I hear you right, bishop? You actually want me to ask Jesus to tell me the sins of your past?”

“Exactly. Please call me if anything happens.”

Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition. “Please come,” she said.

Within the hour the archbishop arrived. He trusted eye-to-eye contact. “You just told me on the telephone that you actually had a vision of Jesus. Did you do what I asked?”

“Yes, bishop, I asked Jesus to tell me the sins you confessed in your last confession.”

The bishop leaned forward with anticipation. His eyes narrowed.

“What did Jesus say?”

She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes. “Bishop,” she said, “these are his exact words: I CAN’T REMEMBER.’”

Brennan Manning

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Multnomah, 2000, 115-6.

Our Heavenly Father

28 Nov

If we take all the goodness, wisdom and compassion of the best mothers and fathers who have ever loved, they would only be a faint shadow of the love and mercy in the heart of the redeeming God.

Brennan Manning

The Signature of Jesus, Multnomah Books, 2004