Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013)
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
It is hard to remember who I was when Brennan Manning came into my life. I know I was pregnant with our fifth child, and I know where we went to church. I can recall the messages about effective parenting and women's roles and the Right Way to Do Everything. I can almost remember the recoil in my soul on Sunday mornings, and I know well the work we've done to unravel the falsehoods from that season.
“To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God's grace means.”
Into this rich soil Brennan Manning was planted. I could digress into the value of manure to help seeds grow, but let's not get crass. Manning's message of Christ and His grace was gruffly honest; it was not about neat and tidy living, and it was fresh air and clean water and sweet music to my weary heart. Brennan Manning's way of speaking of God's love for His children could very well have saved my life.
“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
And so we named our baby Brennan.
"There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.”
And this last Friday, Brennan Manning found his eternal rest, at last. Rest in Peace, kind sir. Thank you for speaking to a weary and earnest mother; God used you to breathe the words of grace back into her heart.
“I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behavior or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery."