Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Honoring the Life and Writing of Brennan Manning by Diana Flegal

Saturday April 13th I was in Hamilton Ohio presenting at the Mad Anthony Writers Conference. Just prior to lunch, I was checking my inbox via my phone when I saw this FB post from David C. Cook Publishers:

ANNOUNCEMENT: Author and Friend Brennan Manning went to be with Jesus yesterday. As Brennan challenged us time and time again "Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan was a true Ragamuffin in Christ and is now celebrating with the Beloved. Our prayers are with Brennan's family.

When I read this, I wanted to go off in a corner and sob rather than eat lunch and chat about writing. I had lost a wonderful friend. Brennan had held my hand and spoke words of love and grace to me the last six years of my life, six difficult years. I never met Brennan face to face. But I knew him. Very well. A friend had introduced us. She was downsizing her library and moving into assisted living. She told me to help myself to her extensive personal library. I didn't want to be piggish, but I was salivating. She mentioned Brennan Manning as a favorite of hers and I came home with copies of his Ruthless Trust and Ragamuffin Gospel. At a later date, I added The Signature of Jesus, The Importance of Being Foolish and Souvenirs of Solitude when I came upon a collection at Half-Price Books. I was rich.

In Brennan's memoir, All is Grace- Philip Yancey said in the introduction:  and yet by different routes we had both stumbled upon an artesian well of grace and have been gulping its waters ever since. 

Yes,  I too gulped Grace along with Brennan. 

Brennan is a master of the art of piercing the soul with a gentle scalpel... John Ortberg 
Brennan writes with unvarnished honesty, and profound spiritual insight...Gary W. Moom
I found deep comfort in realizing Jesus loves even me, a ragamuffin, just as I am. Michael Card
Brennan does a masterful job of blowing the dust off shopworn theology and allowing God's grace to do what only God's grace can do--Amaze. Max Lucado

In the forward of the Ragamuffin Gospel, Michael W. Smith said, "Here was the purest picture I'd ever seen of God's relentless pursuit of His raggedy creation. Not that I could sin more so Grace could abound (Romans 6:15), but grace abounded more because I could find it in the darkness as much as in the light. God wanted me just as I am. I am loved. Brennan took every cliche' I had ever spouted or had spouted at me and turned it into gold". 

Authors, never doubt the power of your words. Words produce life or death in your reader. Choose them wisely, for they will outlive you.

Thank you Brennan.  I look forward to meeting you face to face. In the meantime, may I share the love of Christ with others as you have shown it to me by your life.



Anne Love said...

I learned of this news because of your beautiful post. My eyes are moist. We are all blessed by this man's humility and true giftedness in showing us by his words the deep richness of love and grace--and so much more.
Thank you for this lovely tribute.

Anonymous said...

Early in my Christian walk, Raggamuffin Gospel spoke to me. Because Brennan was obedient to write, my faith was strengthened. May my writing do the same.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Thank you, Diana, for this beautiful post and gentle push to remember the wonder of words.

Amy Sullivan said...

Brennan had this insane ability to connect with readers and help us feel good enough. He showed us a big God who loved all, especially the broken.

He was one of my favorite Christian writers, and he will be greatly missed.

Thanks for honoring him here, Diana.

M. Saint-Germain said...

Hi Diana,

I didn't know Brennan but I know I would have loved him if I had. What a great post. I'm sure he would smile if he could read this.

I love this sentence, "Authors, never doubt the power of your words. Words produce life or death in your reader. Choose them wisely, for they will outlive you." This is why I write.

Thanks Diana,

Kristen Joy Wilks said...

I was pregnant with my third little boy when I first read "Ruthless Trust", when he was born we gave him the middle name Immanuel (God with us) and I'll let you guess what his first name is. So hard to let this amazing writer go, but I know he is dancing and I should not begrudge him.