Friday, December 27, 2013

*The Ragamuffin Bible*

NIV Ragamuffin Bible: Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Brokenhearted 

I had wanted to read some of Brennan Manning's books for a while, and so when I saw that this NIV Bible with notes taken from Brennan's writing was available from 
B&B Media, I requested it in a hurry. 

First, the NIV is a great all-around translation. The 1984 NIV was the first Bible that I began reading to myself, at about age 15. Oh how I love my copy. The reading was smooth and easy to follow, the beauty and majesty of the Word was preserved even in the clear modern English, and the introduction assured me that there was much attention paid to accuracy and clarity. 

And them, add the words of Brennan Manning, a man who wouldn't want to be exalted, he would just want to be known as Loved by God. This was my introduction to his writing, and I want to read more. I've already sent away for his book The Prodigal. 

If you are familiar with Brennan's writing, then it will be a delight to own this Bible with notes from his sermons and books. 
If you aren't, then take advantage of the blessing of Youtube and look up Brennan's talks. We are talking well worth watching. 

And while you are there, look up Brennan's friend, fellow Loved-By-God, and brilliant songwriter Rich Mullins. Look up his "Creed", his "The Color Green", "Everywhere I go I see you,"  and "Hold me Jesus."  
They were straight talking men, both of them, and as you read and listen to what they had to say, it hits you and makes sense. 
Brennan and Rich had one main message: God loves you, so come to Him as you are, and be honest about the real ache in your heart, the desire to be accepted and held and hugged like the child that you are. 

Here are two of my favorite Brennan quotes from the notes in this Bible. 

"Often I have been asked 'Brennan, how is it that you became an alcoholic after you got saved?' It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure, because I got discouraged and uncertain and guilt-ridden and took my eyes off Jesus. 
Because the Christ-encounter did not transfigure me me into an angel. Because 
justification by grace through faith means I have been set in right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table." 

And: "No human word is even remotely adequate to convey the mysterious and furious longing of Jesus for you and me to hang on his words. But 'Union' comes close, very close; it is a word pregnant with a reality that surpasses understanding, the only reality worth yearning for with love and patience, the only reality before which we should stay very quiet..." 

There is much to absorb from the Youtube videos that are posted, too. 
Like when Rich Mullins talks about the pull of temptation, and our tendency to put ourselves where we know that sin can find us. "Even if you don't intend to sin, sometimes it's nice just to be tempted," he says, with disarming honesty that challenges us to admit that deep down, we agree with that idea.
He understands us, and we understand what he means.  

Or when Rich says, with quiet intensity: "Christianity isn't spread by information. Christianity is spread like a disease. Through touch, through breath, through life." 

Together these two men were clay vessels, whose brokenness let the grace that God poured into them spill over to the world. 

Thank you B&B Media for my review copy! Now I have an NIV Bible to give my friend, who loves the timeless prose of the KJV, and who also appreciates this crisp, fresh translation.  {And who loves Brennan Manning and Rich Mullins!} 

“Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.”
Richard Francis Xavier Manning, better known to legions of faithful readers as author, speaker, and contemplative Brennan Manning, for whom grace was irresistible, completed his earthly journey on Friday, April 12 at 12:10AM.  He is now resting safely in the arms of his Abba.

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