Thoughts On One Of My Favorite Authors: Brennan Manning


Brennan Manning April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013

A few days ago, I found out that my favorite author and speaker, Brennan Manning had died. No author or public speaker has had as much influence on my life as Brennan Manning did.

I first heard of Brennan in 1998, while living in Arvada, CO. Two of my friends had road tripped out to visit, and they were ranting about a book called “The Ragamuffin Gospel“. After my friends left, I purchased the book and started reading it. That book changed my life. The previous four years of my Christian life had been plagued by a horrible stronghold of condemnation. After reading that book, for the first time in my life, I felt free. I felt like I got saved all over again.

The following year I brought a copy of the book “Lion and Lamb” and the five cassette series based on that book called “A Glimpse Of Jesus” with my wife and I for our honeymoon. Gina and I would sit in our dinky little cabin and listen to Brennan teach on the compassion of Jesus. It was awesome. I was wrecked by those tapes and that book.

It was at that point that I decided to purchase every teaching and book he had, including his three out of print books. I wanted to learn as much as I could from him.  I enjoyed reading all his books but “A Stranger To Self Hatred” and “Ruthless Trust” were two of my favorites along with those initial first two books.

My favorite part about his speaking style was the brute forcefulness with which he would drive the truth of the love of God like a stake through my hard heart. Here’s an example of what I mean:

I used to pray often that I would be able to articulate the love of God with the same passion, honesty, conviction, and effectiveness of Brennan Manning.  I will continue to pray that for myself and all the other ragamuffin gospel preachers out there.

Here’s some of my favorite Brennan Manning quotes:

“In the words of Francis of Assisi as he met Brother Dominic on the road to Umbria, hi.”

“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God.  This is the true self.  Every other identity is illusion.  God’s love for you and his choice of you constitute your worth.  Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.” – Abba’s Child

“To live without risk is to risk not living.” – Ruthless Trust

“You will trust him to the degree that you know you are loved by him.” – Ruthless Trust

“The more guilt and shame that we have buried within ourselves, the more compelled we feel to seek relief through sin.” – Ruthless Trust

“When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited.” – Ragamuffin Gospel

“I (Jesus) expect more failure from you than you expect from yourself.” – Ragamuffin Gospel

I leave you with the benediction I heard him give when I heard Brennan speak in person, in his Jnco jeans and raggedy old sweater, in Mequon, WI:

May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness.
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and sing, dance, and trust in the love of God who is Father, Son, and Spirit.

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

5 Replies

  1. Andy Christophersen

    One of, if not the most influential spiritual Fathers in my life, hands down, without a doubt.

    Saw him speak live a couple of times.

    At a church on the Marquette campus, as my life as a late teen was slowly spinning out of control, I heard from Brennan that the God of the universe loves me as I am and not as I should be. Changed the trajectory of my life supernaturally, for eternity.

    Years later, at a church in Mequon, I made eye contact with him in the lobby after he spoke. My heart was crushed by his message and I just started sobbing. He walked towards me, wrapped his arms around me as I wept into his shoulder, and held onto me tightly.

    Every time I think of him or hear a message from him, tears can’t help but well up. Thank you Brennan for being a wounded soldier, broken on the wheels of living.

  2. I thought of you when I wrote this.

  3. Josh this is so good. Thank you. I don’t think I’ve ever been so changed by someone’s writings. I linked back to this blog post on my own blog today.

  4. You’re welcome. Yep, Brennan was pretty impactful.

Add a comment