Wednesday, April 09, 2008

From One Ragamuffin to Another

A new book recently came my way- The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning. (Yes, this was the book that inspired the naming of Rich Mullins' band.) I've heard some not so great things about Mr. Manning, but I was so moved by his intro into the book, that I wanted to share it. I haven't decided if I'll continue reading this book, but I am glad I read this beginning:

"This book is not for the super-spiritual.
It is not for the muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.
It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
It is not for the noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
It is not for the fearless and tearless.
It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels: "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."
It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works actually believing that have it made.
It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt-out.
It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
It is for the inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags."

Great words, right? Now go back and read it again and this time, whenever he says "this book" or "The Ragamuffin Gospel" replace it with "The Gospel of Jesus."

That's me he's talking about. And you. I'm a ragamuffin Christian. I don't have it all together. I don't know what I'm talking about most of the time. I'd much rather do things my way than obey my God. And this gospel is for me.

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."


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