Vince Recommends

Recently read Brennan Manning’s memoir, All Is Grace. It’s one of the most engaging, depressing, beautiful books I’ve read in awhile. Though if you’re not familiar with Brennan Manning it may not be quite as interesting.

Manning’s ongoing losing battle with alcoholism is heart-wrenching, while his reliance and preaching on grace is heart-warming.

The book ends with a long passage that, as a preacher and author, makes me quite jealous, and which everyone needs to read (if not memorize). Here it is:

My life is a witness to vulgar grace – a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands, or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request – “Please, remember me” – and assures him, “You bet!” A grace that is the pleasure of the Father, fleshed out in the carpenter Messiah, Jesus the Christ, who left His Father’s side not for heaven’s sake but for our sakes, yours and mine. This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover. Grace is enough. He is enough. Jesus is enough.

John, the disciple Jesus loved, ended his first letter with the line: “Children, be on your guard against false gods.” In other words, steer clear of any god you can comprehend. Abba’s love cannot be comprehended. I’ll say it again: Abba’s love cannot be comprehended.