This book was given to me by a church member a few months ago. I hadn’t had a chance to pick it up, but actually quoted another one of Manning’s books in a sermon the other day. I grabbed it on my way out of the office on Sunday and am so glad I did!
Some of it was a little bit wordy for me, but you can tell Manning has lived a life full of great difficulties and even greater grace. I’d love to read some more of his stuff (any suggestions?).
Favorite quotes …
“All I have learned through trial and error is to stay alert and aware, especially of God smiling at our silliness.”
“If you took the love of all the best mothers and fathers who have lived in the course of human history, all their goodness, kindness, patience, fidelity, wisdom, tenderness, strength, and love and united all those qualities in a single person, that person’s love would only be a faint shadow of the furious love and mercy in the heart of God the Father addressed to you and me at this moment.”
“I would add that the outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, neither the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception.”
“To affirm a person is to see the good in them that they cannot see in themselves and to repeat it in spite of appearances to the contrary.” <- This one hit me hard.
“If we as a Christian community took seriously that the sign of our love for Jesus is our love for one another, I am convinced it would change the world.” <- BAM.
“How is it then that we’ve come to imagine that Christianity consists primarily in what we do for God? How has this come to be the good news of Jesus? Is the kingdom that He proclaimed to be nothing more than a community of men and women who go to church on Sunday, take an annual spiritual retreat, read their Bibles every now and then, vigorously oppose abortion, don’t watch x-rated movies, never use vulgar language, smile a lot, hold doors open for people, root for the favorite team, and get along with everybody? Is that why Jesus went through the bleak and bloody horror of Calvary? Is that why He poured out his Holy Spirit on the church? To make nicer men and women with better morals? The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creations. Not to make people with better morals, but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friends, is what it really means to be a Christian. Our religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Christ Jesus.”