The Ragamuffin Gospel

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A classic read that I have now read two times. There is a lot to take in from the writing and I am sure i will be reading it again in the future to delve even deeper into it. Manning has a gift and way with words that draws you to the heart of our Savior. A great read!
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Wow. If you want your heart to be touched deeply by the love of God, this book is something you should read. The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning is a beautiful call to arms - it is a cry to every human to stop thinking that we can make it on our own good measure but rather to simply accept the loving grace of a God who shows us immeasurable and undeserved goodness and mercy.

I received an ecopy of The Ragamuffin Gospel via Netgalley, in exhange for my honest review. 

I sat down to read without any clear expectations for what I might learn. I truly had my heart touched by the story that Brennan shares - it was powerful and overwhelming and something I really needed at this very point in my life. He opens with a discussion of the incredible grace of God, and then takes you on a journey into the heart of the Father. It is a beautiful, convicting story that made me think deeply about exactly how impossibly unfathomable the love of God is for us. I am honestly overwhelmed and very grateful to have been given this opportunity.

Let me share a few quotes that spoke to me:

-The bending of the mind by the powers of this world has twisted the gospel of grace into religious bondage and distorted the image of God into an eternal, small-minded bookkeeper.

-"...Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case." {quoting Robert Capon}

-Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.

-Home is that sacred space -- external or internal -- where we don't have to be afraid; where we are confident of hospitality and love.

-To those of us in flight, who are afraid to turn around lest we run into ourselves, Jesus says, You have a home. I am your home. Claim me as your home. You will find it to be the intimate place where I have found my home. It is right where you are, in your innermost being. In your heart.

-In faith there is movement and development. Each day something is new. To be Christian, faith has to be new-- that is, alive and growing. It cannot be static, finished, settled. When Scripture, prayer, worship, ministry become routine, they are dead. When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I have headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps. I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.


If you are in need of refreshment, refocus, or simply reminder about the infinite love of God, this book is a must read. If you are disillusioned, lost in self-loathing, depression, anxiety, fear - this is a book you must read. I can practically guarantee it will touch your heart and open your mind to the beauty of Jesus in a way that you may not have considered before. 

{Rating} - 5/5 stars
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Far too often the truth of God’s grace has been polluted with legalism, rules and religion, hindering the children of God pursuing a life-giving, intimate relationship with their Creator-Father, and from receiving the acceptance and love purchased for them by Christ on Calvary. 

The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning is a must read book that brings us back to this central truth of the Gospel of grace.

Filled with tangible examples from the Bible and our modern day world, the book propels us into a journey of encountering the Father’s passionate love for every person He has created, paralleling His desire that all come to Him through His Son Jesus.

Jesus’ immense suffering and sacrifice for us is the ultimate expression of that love and desire, shown in a way that could be called reckless and wasteful—giving His life in our place even though we fail to love Him day after day in so many ways, all of us continually facing the truth of our “ragamuffin” state.

I highlighted much throughout the book, especially in Chapter 8: Freedom from Fear. This chapter outlines various intricacies of fear’s poison in our lives, many we are often blind to.

The final section, a personal spiritual retreat, is a blessed addition to the book to help one enter more fully into the truth of God’s love and grace poured out upon us.

The only bothersome aspect of the book is the use of a few cuss words (which appeared not in the author’s writing but within quotations used for illustrations). Personally, I would rather the author paraphrased these additions without these words included.

Finally, the following quote from the spiritual retreat section perfectly summarizes the main premise and purpose of the book; furthermore, it clarifies the whole purpose every human being was made for by God:

“Is your relationship with Jesus marked by reckless love? Authentic Christianity, according to the Word, is this: It’s the thrill, the excitement, of falling in love with the risen, living Jesus Christ. He shows us the way to the Father, He pours out on us the Spirit of Pentecost—not so that we’ll be nicer people with better morals, but brand-new creations, human torches ignited with the flaming Spirit of the living God.”

I highly recommend this book!

** Disclosure: I received a free, review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. **
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I remembered hearing about this book when it first came out years ago, but I was just too young in my faith to even reach for it. Seeing it republish and having the chance to read it having doubled my lifespan in the difference of time has been a tremendous gift. This is a work everyone should read. The opportunity for the Lord to humble us as we realize what position we truly are in is invaluable. For the first time, or the umpteenth time, we are confronted by our need for grace and our hopelessness without it. How do we keep forgetting? We have a particular set of skills as they say. 

I was encouraged by this book. It brought me to tears as the Lord met me while wading through the pages. It was a slow read for me, but His timing was perfect as he never fails to bring encouragement in circumstances of doubt or fear in my life. I highly recommend having a copy and re-reading it over the years. 

I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Brennen Manning's voice cuts clear to the heart as he speaks in the language of grace.  To those who have been discarded, Brennan translates the message of the gospel in such an authentic and relevant way.  This book makes you fall in love with Jesus all over again.  Challenging both heart and mind, this is one that will stay on my shelf permanently.
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Salvation is not about what we can do for God, but about what He has done for us. Our acceptance and position before our Heavenly Father is not about earning his favor through our good works, but through faith and trust in Jesus Christ. His love and grace is not conditional. Brennan Manning outlines his thoughts about grace in his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, sharing his personal convictions that many Christians in the world today do not fully understand the depth and the breadth of the love of God and how to live as loved. We live in a world with many standards which we feel required to meet or fear falling short of. Brennan says that we project those same standards onto the Father, creating standards and requirements for ourselves that God never set in place. As a friend shared with me recently, we get things mixed up. We often seek to serve the Father first and try to find acceptance through our service and good works, but that is backwards from the model that Jesus exemplified. He was loved and accepted first, and his service flowed out of that. That flawed thinking is what Brennan Mannning is challenging us to leave behind through this book.

I was challenged to look deeply at my own life and question whether I am seeking to earn God's favor through what I am doing or whether I was living out my life of favor in love to the One who loves me infinitely. Was I living a life trust - believing that what the Father has said about his love for me is true. Brennan asked many poignant questions that made me think. Even if you don't agree with everything Brennan says, I would recommend this as a good read. It will challenge you to contemplate your position in our Father' eyes, what you believe about grace, and how you are living out that trust/belief. That would be time well spent.

Thank you to NetGalley and WaterBrook and Multnomah for providing an electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions contained within are my own.
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This is one of the best books I've ever read.  Brennan has great insight into our insecure religious minds and how the good news about Jesus gives us overwhelming freedom.  Too often Christians read the Bible as a cold list of things that we should be doing.  That will either result in self-righteous jerk holes that no one wants to be with, or depressed and disillusioned people who are honest with themselves.  The author shows through a number of different genres how the gospel works.  This edition has several extra chapters that are great supplementary reading to the original classic.

"To be alive is to be broken.  And to be broken is to stand in need of grace.  Honesty keeps us in touch with our neediness and the truth that we are saved sinners.  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."
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Brennan Manning wrote this book for himself and weary, discouraged people along the Way. Although we believe in grace, we feel as if we still must earn God's love, for Him to be pleased with us. In "The Ragamuffin Gospel," Manning presents a completely different picture of our relationship with God, as dirty, bedraggled, exhausted ragamuffins. But as we sit at God's feet replete in our rags, He smiles at us and embraces us, treating us as the cherished recipients of His love. In this classic meditation on grace, we don't need to make ourselves presentable to God. Our extreme poverty and utter powerlessness brings us closer to God, whose fatherly love embraces us, no matter what our condition or circumstances. Let us allow God's grace to do what only He can do - hug us to His heart. According to Brennan Manning, "The Ragamuffin Gospel" is for bent, bruised and broken people, who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. By grace, we are saved through faith. Manning explores the true meaning of grace in all its power. When we acknowledge that only grace saves us, we draw near to God who delights in us, His dearly beloved children. We find the timeless wisdom of a man who came to God needy and desperate to find a peace that revolutionized his life for ever. You are not a disappointment to God. God celebrates you. God loves you. This is the exhilarating joy of the Good News - the gospel of grace.
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The "Ragamuffin Gospel" is one of my favorite spiritual books, especially for those of us who struggle with having a positive image of God in a culture where God is made to seem anything but compassionate and merciful. By sharing his own story, author Brennan Manning draws us into a conversation about our long held concepts of redemption, sanctification, and divine justice, while offering us hope and a more Gospel-centered image of God.
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I was really excited to read this book after all of the great reviews and the outstanding endorsement written in the forward by Michael W. Smith.  

I love this quote at the beginning of the book -- "The difference between faith as ‘belief in something that may or may not exist’ and faith as ‘trusting in God" is enormous. The first is a matter of the head, the second a matter of the heart."

The author talks about how something is radically wrong when the “local church rejects a person that is accepted by Jesus – when a  harsh, judgmental and unforgiving sentence is passed on homosexuals; when a divorcee is denied communion; when the child of a prostitute is refused baptism; when  an unlaicized priest is forbidden the sacraments. Jesus comes to the ungodly, even on Sunday morning. His coming ends ungodliness and makes us worthy.  Otherwise, we are establishing at the heart of Christianity an utterly ungodly and unworthy preoccupation with works. “

I thought I would really love this book with its realistic view of what it means to be a Christian and calling out the hypocrites and false doctrine.  “The God of the legalistic Christian is unpredictable, erratic, and capable of all manner of prejudices. When we view God this way, we feel compelled to engage in some sort of magic to appease him.”

Thank you to Brennan Manning for writing a book to overcome the myths of Christianity and show us what it truly means to be Christian.  

I received a complimentary e-book of Ragamuffin Gospel Netgalley.com in exchange for this fair and unbiased review.
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Since its original 1990 publication, The Ragamuffin Gospel inspired at least a dozen songs. The late Rich Mullions formed the Ragamuffin Band. Several books, poems, and paintings, and even a few bookstores carry the ragamuffin tag. The twenty-fifth-anniversary edition of Brennan Manning’s classic meditation on grace, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out, is now available as an e-book. I took the chance to read it for the first time. English evangelical books weren't on my to-read shelf in the 1990s.

The gospel of God's grace for mankind is the key concept in this book, loaded with quotes and stories. The ragamuffins are the poor in spirit who, aware of their inner poverty and emptiness, threw themselves without hesitation on the mercy of God. They come undone, as they are. Manning would like to see us all becoming ragamuffins. These Christians do not complain about the feeble preaching and the lifeless worship of their local church. They are happy to have a place to go where they can mingle with other beggars at the door of God's mercy. Long prayers and big words do not suit ragamuffins. Ragamuffins know that they are the tax collectors and that refusing to admit would make them Pharisees. 

Manning uses many examples from the gospels, Jesus' parables, authors like Bonhoeffer, Merton, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Dostoyevsky, and Henri Nouwen. Devotionals are added to the main part of the book to help you along your spiritual journey.
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I really enjoyed the Ragamuffin Gospel. I was initially drawn in by the title, but the content kept me interested. My faith has wavered over the years, more strong at some points and then falling off here and there. It's easy for us to be down on ourselves as Christians and think that we don't deserve God's grace. Well, we don't, but He gives it freely anyway. This book reminds us that God is not keeping score and even though we can get burnt out with sin and life, He hasn't given up on us. It's a refreshing read, and it's a nice reminder of love in a world full of hate right now. Sure, we're ragamuffins, but God love us anyway. If you're feeling a bit down or struggling with your journey of faith at the moment, I definitely recommend this read.
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This is a beautiful book about God's love and grace, and how it is offered to us all.
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