Barb Terpstra's Reviews > All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir

All Is Grace by Brennan Manning
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's review
Sep 04, 2011

really liked it
Read in April, 2012

I read Ragamuffin Gospel many years ago, and so, was interested to read this memoir. Like all of us, Manning has lived a life that has sometimes honored God, and sometimes dishonored God. He has lived his life in the public eye, freely admitting to his failings, and always, always,leaning in on God's grace. I like what is friend, Robert Benson, says in the forward: "in the end, my sin will never outweigh God's love...the prodigal can never outrun the Father...that living a life of faith is not lived in the light, it is discovered in the dark". Isn't this so true? It is in the dark that we lean into the Father and find that grace and peace. If only we could learn to extend those twins to all we come in contact with.

Manning grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who did not express love and pride in him. I am reminded again, how fortunate I have been to have grown up in a home where I was loved, and where love was expressed to me. No home life is ever perfect, but my life is rosy compared to his. Manning had a "Golden World" experience where he found himself in the very heart of Jesus. It is here that he began his life of ministry to God. Some years later, he also began his descent into alcoholism. But God, God, who is still in charge, still uses Manning's weakness to bring strength to others. I don't know if Manning himself would think this, but I think, what courage, to be so vulnerable as to share these sometimes disgusting, and always disappointing, life experiences with complete strangers, and still lead them into God's grace.

There are so many good quotes in this book, some from Manning himself, and some from writers of long ago, or current friends, it's very tempting to include them all in this review. Instead, I'll leave you with this, the message Manning has clung to for 50 years, and one that we can cling to as well:

"God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be,because nobody is as they should be"

His friend, Brother Dominique, said it this way: "Jesus Christ is crazy about you. He loves you just as you are, not as you should be"

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