The Ragamuffin Gospel
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The Ragamuffin Gospel

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  17,802 ratings  ·  750 reviews
Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment. In this newly repackaged edition—now with full appendix, study questions, and the author’s own epilogue, “Ragamuffin Ten Years Later,” Brennan Man...more
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Published June 1st 2005 by Hovel Audio (first published 1990)
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Doreen
Mar 21, 2008 Doreen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every Christian
This book changed my life. Some people may have trouble getting through it because it really challenged a lot of things that you may have held onto tightly for so long. But even if you don't agree with everything (there are a few things here and there), there is a tremendous amount of wisdom that can be gleaned from the author's insight. Upon reading this wonderful book, my eyes were open to a whole new world that I wasn't even aware that they were previously closed to. It knocked me around emot...more
Claire
Jun 16, 2008 Claire rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who isn't sure Christianity has a place for them because they aren't perfect
Recommended to Claire by: Rich Mullins

The best way I can describe this book is to quote from it:

---------------------------------------------------------------

"When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer. To live by grace m...more
Jen
Feb 01, 2009 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christian misfits
Recommended to Jen by: my sister
If you are interested in the Christian faith but find it self-righteous and restricting, this book might be a refreshing change of pace. This writer definitely refrains from judgement, and makes the case for self-acceptance of your own frailty and affirms that God eagerly takes on "special cases", and he proves we all somehow fall in that category. It is a humble book that gently puts it arms around those who have failed miserably in their faith and yet still want to try to find their way toward...more
Dixie
I am a bedraggled, beaten up, messy ragamuffin. I am a former ministry junkie with a bad habit of seeking to please almost everyone and desperately trying to hide my sins from those who expect me to be clean and white-washed as they are. I have fallen and fallen again. Mostly I failed myself. Thank God. It was time for that old life to disappear!

And it was time for me to read this lovely book. I stopped many times to wipe my eyes, to pray for forgiveness and acceptance of mercy and grace and to...more
Eric Sundquist
I went into this book (written in 1990) thinking, "Okay, author, what are you going to tell me that I haven't read in the authors pumping out books after you?" I had planned to zip through it as quick as possible to check it off the list and put it on the shelf.

It didn't take too many pages for me to realize that this was not that kind of book. This is the kind of book you put on your "I need to reread this every few years so I don't forget how important the message is" shelf.

Brennan Manning's m...more
Katie
Mar 18, 2009 Katie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: stoners who want to feel smug about it in a Christian way
This book did not pass my 100-page test. I desperately wanted to love it, and it started out seeming so promising. I was worried about the gimmicky 19-step program addendum tacked onto the end, true. And I was worried when I looked on Amazon and saw that the author seems to have made something of a cottage industry of spin-off volumes and workbooks and so forth. The profile of the author, too, seemed a little cheesy and weirdly evasive. Still I tried to put all of that aside and keep an open min...more
Maggie
I have a confession to make. Sometimes when I sing songs of worship in church, I wonder why we do this. Is it necessary to tell God over and over how great He is? Isn't it better to go straight to the sermon and learn how to obey God and lead Godly lives?

Now I know why we sing. We sing because God is not just floating above us, He is in us and it is by his grace that we can sing. We sing because there is no point learning how to do good works when it is grace, not works, that saves us.

This book...more
Molly
It is Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up and Burnt Out. And, I don't care what anyone says, ALL OF US are ONE of those at one point or another in our lives. If you are shaking your head "not me" then please read this book to have the rose washed off your frames. :)

I was reading this book when I read The Shack and there are element and themes that are similar in both books, but this one is not listed as a work of fiction (be cause it is not).

Nathan
Honestly, I teeter-tottered on this book.

Some parts stirred my soul even to tears with the truth of the Gospel. Others furrowed my brow, leaving question marks in the margins. Sometimes this was all within the span of a single page.

Upon reflection, I've come to this conclusion:

FOR BELIEVERS (for sons and daughters of God), the essence of this book should strike a beautiful chord in our hearts and minds. I like Manning's words:

"He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners... Through...more
booklady
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book about the Gospel which has encompassed so many different faith traditions drawing all the threads together in one beautiful creation. The Ragamuffin Gospel has given me a lot to think about and work on in my spiritual life.

What I’m focusing on now is what Manning pointed out as, ‘the greatest sin: to do the right thing for the wrong reason.’* We are all sinners and ‘many of us even pretend to believe we are sinners. Consequently, all we can do is pre...more
Anne Marie
This may be one of the best books that I have read on the grace God. It is like reading the Book of Romans where the Apostle Paul skillfully presents salvation by faith through God’s grace. Manning says he wrote the book “for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out,” the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered: the children, the ill, the tax collectors, the adulterers and extortionists. In other words, the ragamuffins. Manning understands better than most that behind our facades of order and...more
Joon Park
Here's a test for you: While reading this book, were you stirred with compassion or contempt? It will speak volumes about how much you get God's grace.

While not agreeable on every point, Brennan Manning has written one of the most down-to-earth classics of Christian literature. There is a lot to love here amidst some of the shaky theology, and though critics jump in through those cracks with plenty of complaints, there is no denying the wonderful power of the cross in Manning's work. He has dra...more
Amanda
FIRST TIME READING: I absolutely loved this book. It's true that he says a lot of controversial things, but it's very thought-provoking. It caused me to take a long hard look at my spirituality. For a long time I felt like I didn't measure up to God's expectations and I was constantly frustrated because I never felt like I was good enough. Now I know I'm not good enough -- and it's okay! I am loved anyway. :) Brennan Manning does a beautiful job illuminating God's love.

SECOND TIME READING: This...more
Devin
I was first introduced to Brennan Manning when I read his Above All: He Took the Fall and Thought of Me which is basically an exposition on Michael W. Smith's song "Above All." In that book, I saw some serious problems in his thought, but people assured me that I was simply misunderstanding what he had to say and that Brennan Manning really is a good guy who is faithful to what the Bible teaches. I was told that reading The Ragamuffin Gospel would accurately represent Manning's teaching. If thi...more
KellyElaine
While I'm typically not a fan of the "Christian Living" books, this one I've held onto and re-read (and passed along) because it is unique in its purpose and message. It's not for someone who thinks they "have it all together"; it's for the jaded, broken, wandering & wondering. I don't think the "average Christian" is open to or even capable of truly understanding its message.

This book "gave a body" to this abstract, difficult-to-grasp concept of grace and the part it should play in our dail...more
Rebecca Waring-Crane
Once I began reading it I put other books aside. Who doesn't love a good writer who weaves the work of others -- Dostoevsky, Dillard, Kung, Flannery O'Connor, Burghardt, et al -- into his personal story presenting a joyful, really good news, approach to faith? There's something winsome about a priest who leaves the priesthood to marry and also writes about his journey as a recovering alcoholic.

Best of all, here is a Christina writer who doesn't eschew the faith journey of other traditions. Ther...more
Daniel Tackett
A feel-good gospel. Many of the points put forth in the book are unbiblical and contribute little towards the discipleship of God's people. Beyond these things, the book gets incredibly redundant after the first couple of chapters. I read this as a part of a small group bible study. While it did provoke discussion, it was generally to refute something Manning had said.
Jenn Raley
I have no quarrel with the message of this book. For Christians who are weary of feeling judged and striving to be perfect, Manning's message that God loves us all, no matter what, is an important message.

I just wasn't very impressed with the writing. It was apparent to me that Manning is a really good speaker, and that most likely this book is a conglomeration of stories he would tell as he traveled around to various speaking engagements.

However, the way the personal stories and anecdotes were...more
Michelle Merriman
This is one of those rare books that I always seem to purchase but never seem to have on hand. I am forever reading and re-reading this, only to highlight it mercilessly and then foist in on some unsuspecting friend.

Manning's individual books, in my opinion, are somewhat indistinguishable from each other, which is not to say that's a bad thing. He focuses, in general, on a woefully forgotten tenant of Christendom - the unconditional Love and Acceptance from God, on all His creations. This is th...more
Candice
I really wanted to be ga-ga over this book and I'm sad that I wasn't. It feels a tad sacrilegious to not have been crazy about it but alas I'm OK with being honest about that. It took me over a year to read, and while at times it acted as a sort of devotional, it wasn't until well over half way through the book that I really got into it. I was disappointed there wasn't more of Brennan Manning's own testimony/life story throughout the book, which was what I expected. His story only hits and misse...more
Christina
Wow... So good.... this excerpt speaks VOLUMES:

'Burkhardt writes, "I fear for the lawyer whose only life is corporate tax, the doctor whose whole existence is someone else's prostate, the business exec. whose single responsibility is to his stockholders, the athlete who puts all his eggs in an 18-inch basket, the theologian who thinks the world can be saved by theology... A closed mind kills marriages and human relations; it deadens feelings and sensitivities; it makes for a church that lives in...more
Jason Leonard
I almost gave it 3 stars and then remembered its intended audience: the bedraggled and beat up. If you have not wrestled with the depth of grace and love in Christ Jesus - namely that He died for you while you were in the midst of your sin - this message is needed. "forgiveness precedes repentance" This is one of the best phrases is the book and sums up much of what Manning is saying.

I typically like something more intellectual or something more narrative; this is a sort of smorgasbord of thoug...more
Mathew
Brennan Manning is a skilled writer (I loved his telling of “a routine situation that every Catholic of my generation had to deal with” KL 480-492 of 3173) whose pen drips with a passion for sharing the love of God with people. His central message is God loves ragamuffins (sinners, downtrodden, prostitutes, et al). He ends a compelling introduction by saying, “The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way” (KL 88).

Manning is a for...more
Jim Dressner
"In these pages, I have stuttered and stammered in a halting attempt to hint at the shattering reality of the furious love of God." So the author describes his intent and provides an apt, one-line summary of the book.

Written against the backdrop of the author's legalistic upbringing (as well as all-too-frequent encounters with judgmental Christians), this book effusively champions the grace of God. Sometimes the writing soars; occasionally it stumbles; but it always retains its sincerity and its...more
Gregg
Brennan Manning wrote The Ragamuffin Gospel "for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out," the marginalized folks to whom Jesus ministered: the children, the ill, the tax collectors, the women. In other words, the ragamuffins.

Grace is defined as "the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God." But, as Manning points out, we have "twisted the gospel of grace into religious bondage and distorted the image of God into an eternal, small-minded bookkeeper." In reality, God offers us grace imme...more
Steve
Manning's book is certainly heartfelt and genuine, but I found it difficult to fully connect with his writing.

I do agree with his fundamental premise regarding God's message of salvation for all. I've certainly had enough "ragamuffin" experiences that I could relate to the stories and appreciate the message. I do think it was a valuable use of my time to read The Ragamuffin Gospel and do recommend it to others.

With all of that said, there are some books that "start slow", but after a while I si...more
Ampat Varghese
If you wanted to find out what exactly is ticking beneath the dry and often uninviting crust of Christendom/Christianity, this is the book for you. You are not one of those spic and span Christians, you probably are not even religious, perhaps you are an atheist or even a devil-worshipper. Maybe you're going through the valley of the shadow of death, maybe you're a drug addict or an alcoholic. Worry not, Brennan Manning was an alcoholic too, even after his encounter with G-d and in spite of all...more
Bryan Robinson
Awesome reminder of who I belong to. I love because He first loved me.

Some of my favorite quotes:
1. p37 - The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love.
2. p45 - We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of knowing Jesus Christ personally and directly. When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasi...more
Todd Wilhelm
"The North American church is at a critical juncture. The gospel of grace is being confused and compromised by silence, seduction, and outright subversion. The vitality of faith is jeopardized. The lying slogans of the fixers who carry religion like a sword of judgment pile up with impunity.

Let ragamuffins everywhere gather as a confessing church to cry out in protest. Revoke the licenses of religious leaders who falsify the idea of God. Sentence them to three years in solitude with the Bible as...more
Jennannej
From the get-go, I loved this book. Full of grace and love, this book describes the love of God for people as displayed in the Bible. It is so easy sometimes to get caught up in the rules and morality upheld by the church and to forget that God's love and grace towards us is the most important and constant theme.


pg20
Eugene O'Neill's play The Great God Brown: "Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to live, I who love life and the b...more
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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...
Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God The Furious Longing of God All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion and Relentless Faith

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“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.” 395 likes
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.

'But how?' we ask.

Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'

There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.

My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”
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