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All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  985 ratings  ·  149 reviews
It has been over twenty years since the publication of The Ragamuffin Gospel, a book many claim as the shattering of God’s grace into their lives. Since that time, Brennan Manning has been dazzingly faithful in preaching and writing variations on that singular theme – “Yes, Abba is very fond of you!”But today the crowds are gone and the lights are dim, the patches on his k ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by David C. Cook (first published January 1st 2011)
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Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. FosterWhat's So Amazing about Grace? by Philip YanceyAbba's Child by Brennan ManningThe Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich BonhoefferThe Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
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Community Reviews

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As Yancey says in the forward: "I heard the details of Brennan's life: his loveless childhood, his marathon search for God, his marriage and divorce, his lies and cover-ups, his continuing struggles with alcohol addiction. As you read this memoir, you may be tempted, as I was, to think, 'Oh, what might have been...if Brennan hadn't given in to drink.' I urge you to reframe the thought to, 'Oh, what might have been...if Brennan hadn't discovered grace.'"

At times this book was painful when I'd let
Wow! Brennan Manning's farewell book really got to me. Through most of the book, I thought it was interesting to read his life story and that the book was "okay." Then as it all came together into a final challenge from the author, made more poignant by the insight into his life that the chapters before gave me, his message hit hard and I thought, "This book is really good!." Then the poem at the end made me cry and closed the deal...THIS BOOK WILL BOTH ENCOURAGE AND HAUNT ME FOR A LONG TIME TO ...more
Todd Wilhelm
This is an autobiography of Brennan Manning. While reading it I was moved to tears, not something I am prone to do. I can give no better recommendation.

"My life is a witness to vulgar grace - a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands, or
Josh Morgan
This review first appeared on my blog, Jacob's Café (

Brennan Manning has long emphasized the importance of grace and God's unconditional love. His speaking and books have touched thousands, if not millions. While I have heard wonderful things about him, I realized I have never actually read any of his works. So my first direct encounter with Manning was through his memoir, All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.

This book is an exemplar of the power of grace t
Ben Zajdel
All is Grace is Brennan Manning's long awaited autobiography, which he agreed to publish five years ago. It isn't the most complete account of his life, but it's written with the heart and soul that Manning brings to all of his works. His life truly reflects what he has told others countless times throughout his life: "God loves you just as you are, not as you should be."

Manning recounts his life from his childhood, giving special attention to his mother and father, and how their influence affec
This "review" is simply a pasting of my blog post on this book -

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
Aaron Matthews
This is a fine memoir from a man that has written love-drenched words throughout his career. He is not perfect, but that is one of the reasons I love Brennan Manning. What a fitting finale to read after completing all his other literary works. I'm thankful for the inspriation this book brings - raw, brash, lucid, and from the deeps of the heart. All is most certainly is!
David Holdsworth
This book is nothing short of moving. It is in fact more of a confession than a memoir. Brennan is brutally honest about the troubles in his life, the brokenness and sin. It is this kind of honesty the church and the world needs. Although from time to time it seemed as if he was promoting some kind of Universalislm that I'm not sure I would go along with (attractive as it may be), he none the less does constantly point to God's infinite Grace. Like the book title says: ALL IS GRACE.

Benson in his
I really don’t know where to start as this is a tremendous memoir by an amazing man. I have thoroughly enjoyed this audio and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys memoirs/biographies. As Brennan himself says he is a survivor and is very honest about his life. It is upsetting at times but very inspirational throughout.
I identified with his Irish Catholic roots and the baggage accompanying it, something I haven’t really thought about much before, but which makes a lot of sense.
Maurice England
This book reminded me that only people who wrestle constantly with their flesh can TRULY know what Grace is and delight in it. It is ALSO a reminder to me of how we can encourage one another, but no man or woman should EVER be lifted up as Jesus.
Brennan Manning was a very human human. It makes me love him all the more that he revealed these things about himself. Most preachers keep them hidden. As if portraying yourself as something you're not is the way to show others Christ.
I see the grace o
Adam Shields
Short review: This is Manning's last book. He is in very poor health and needed someone to help him write this. I have really enjoyed reading last books by people that I respect. If done well, and this one is, then it really can show what is important for that person. There is always a hint of sadness in a last book, but usually at least a hint of hopefulness as well.

This is not a long book (just over 4 hours on audio), but it does a very good job showing why for Manning 'All is Grace'. He live
Thomas Holbrook
I was reminded in this book of one of the best first lines in any novel I have read; “I am a Christian because of Owen Meany” (A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving, Random House Publishing Group, 1990). Reading this present book spoke of a similar reality for me - the way I seek to follow Christ is due, to a large degree, because of Brennan Manning. I have never personally met Fr. Manning, nor have I had opportunity to “share my heart” with him; I have only had the privilege of him sharing hi ...more
"As a writer I live in daily awareness of how much easier it is to edit a book than edit a life. When I write about what I believe and how I should live, it sounds neat and orderly. When I try to live it out, all hell breaks loose. Reading Brennan's memoir, I see something of a reverse pattern. By focusing on the flaws, he leaves out many of the triumphs. I keep wanting him to tell the stories tha...t would put him in a good light, and there are many. Choosing full disclosure in a narrative that ...more
Rachel N
I was impacted by Manning's vulnerability and willingness to share such raw emotions and heart-wrenching incidents from his life (particularly from his childhood). The description of his vivid, life-altering encounter with Jesus back in 1958 was deeply moving. "All is grace" could not be more true - reminds me of Martin Luther's revelation that we are all "saved by grace" (a revelation that led him to action, ushering in a cultural reformation). There is no doubt that I certainly need an ever-de ...more
Robb Ryerse
If your life were to be summed up in a single sentence, what would it be? If you could encapsulate all that you have experienced, all that you have tried to pass on to your children and others, all that your life has been about in a few words, which would you choose?

How about these:

God loves me unconditionally, as I am and not as I should be.

Could that impossibility be true? It seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? It sounds so unfair, so unrestrained, so unqualified. It sounds so much like we
Mark Andrew
The first book of Brennan Manning's that I read was perhaps also his most popular and powerful, The Ragamuffin Gospel. I read it at just the right time, as a young Christian teen who was living in an abusive home. Never before had I heard the message of the love of God so clearly. If you haven't read it, run to the bookstore or surf over to Amazon - NOW.

In All Is Grace, 77-year-old Manning offers his memoirs in his final book. We have heard bits and pieces about Brennan's alcoholism before, in o
A brutally honest and somewhat disturbing account of the life of Brennan Manning. There is not exalting in accomplishments here. In this book, the author communicates the regrets he is experiencing--now at the end of his life--due to poor choices, alcoholism, and the human condition. He balances that with his constant knowledge of His Abba Father's constant presence and love, regardless of his failings.

This book was a little disturbing to me because it made me look at my own life and take stock
If you have ever felt 'too bad to be loved', 'too much of a sinner to deserve forgiveness', 'too lost to be worthwhile' - or any other number of excuses, take heart.

Brennan Manning is a defrocked priest, divorced, an alcoholic. Yet God loves him with a depth, ferocity and tenderness that is beyond explanation. Fr. Manning reminds us, in what will likely be his last book, that NONE of us are deserving of God's great love.

Yet God loves us anyway.

In a world filled with bitterness, anger, rage, murd
Matt Escott
This book is a pretty good example of the scandal of grace. At times I found myself wondering how, in the face of Manning's experience of God's love and forgiveness he still struggled so mightily,and fell so often and spectacularly, but then I would realize that this is precisely his point: that grace finds us where we are, as we are, as often as it needs to, and that this is a reflection of who God is as. I also realize that it was precisely this aspect of God's character, his unrelenting and f ...more
Rebecca Spooner
What struck me most about this memoir was realizing that Brennan was in and out of his addiction to alcohol all of his life. I heard him speak in Conway in the late 90s. It was nice to physically see him but his talks were simply parts of his books cut and pasted together. I learned from his memoir that he was drinking to black out stage during this time.
I am going blank on the mind disorder that he currently has, but it is a result of years of alcohol abuse and dependence. For me, this made his
I read this in one evening, but I will return to it again and again. There's an emotional distance in this book that isn't found in his more theological books. Some reviewers were bothered by that, but I suspect that the co-writing process, Manning's faulty memory, and the position he writes from (a man at the end of his very long and complicated time on Earth) are to blame.

I will reread the memoir for the Love that drips from its every word. Brennan Manning is a broken saint who can't keep qui
This memoir is a powerful testimony of God's grace and our humanity. I was very moved to read Manning's unvarnished commentary on his life. The foreword and reader testimonies were powerful and helpful additions. And I do believe being familiar with Manning's previous work helps the reader more fully appreciate the memoir.

I am among those whose lives have been touched by Manning's ministry. Reading this memoir built on powerful memories and lessons I previously gained from hearing him speak and
Glen Grunau
Shame is an emotion that I would rather not discuss in public. Brennan Manning shares his shame openly with the world in his last book and memoir, describing his experience with it as "the sense of being completely insufficient as a person, the nagging feeling that for some reason you're defective and unworthy. That's how I felt all the time."

Brennan had a harsh and rejecting childhood that no doubt under-girded his chronic battles with shame. He consequently became mired in a life long battle w
Vivian Vilmin
This book was great. I always like Brennan Manning's books but this one was the best. I learned a lot about Brennan that I didn't know. He had a hard life and great friends who helped him through it, but he holds on to Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". For me this is a affirmation that All Is Grace. Thank you Brennan for your inspirational book and God Bless.
Dan Appel
What can you say!

Brennan Manning wrote it and like virtually everything else he wrote it is a masterpiece of vulnerability.

Brennan Manning bares his soul in this book; it is his opus and his transparency and love for God is touching and inspiring.

You won't go wrong with this book if you are struggling with the idea that God can even love someone like the person you see in the mirror every morning.
Brennan leaves you pondering. Can grace cover ongoing failure and can God use mightily such a broken vessel? Short and painful narration of Brennan's life, lowlighting his failure rather than highlighting his success. Succeeds in being a poignant reflection on his life and what God is able to do by His grace.
Ricky Steele
I was not familiar with Brennan Manning until I watched the documentary "Ragamuffin" about the life of Rich Mullins. Mr. Manning is quoted a number of times and his influence on Rich was deep.

I started at the end of his life by reading this book first. I wanted to get to know the man before reading his other work. I am hooked and tomorrow I begin "The Ragamuffin Gospel" to be followed by "Abba's Child".

One phrase is basically what Mr. Manning preached for 50+ years and it is one of the quotes
Philippe Deblois
This is Brennan's farewell book. It's a look inside a wounded sinner's life of struggle with sin and demons while all the while holding to hope against hope that all is grace. He is a witness to "vulgar grace" as he calls it in the final chapter.
A great book! I became a christian through the teaching of this man and so feel forever grateful to him. I was saddened to hear of his ongoing struggle with alcohol, and at the same time again grateful for his honesty and deep love for Jesus.
Dee Dee
What a completely wrenching, inspiring, sad yet uplifting story of a life. Maybe not always so well-lived, but thank Abba the message is true in spite of the vessel (and I include myself in that number)

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Richard Francis Xavier Manning, known as Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013)was an American author, friar, priest, contemplative and speaker.Born and raised in Depression-era New York City, Manning finished high school, enlisted in the US Marine Corps, and fought in the Korean War. After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Saint Francis University in Loretto, Pennsylvania. ...more
More about Brennan Manning...
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God The Furious Longing of God The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion and Relentless Faith

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“Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity—that he loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain—that he loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, your whole being rejects it. Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be.” 49 likes
“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. It is the message of grace…A grace
that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages
as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five…A grace that
hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking
of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands,
or buts…This grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without
asking anything of us…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…Jesus is enough.”
More quotes…