I will admit off the bat that this asn't my favorite Brennan Manning book, though I kind of feel like that's his own fault since he set the bar so high for himself, haha. But like every Manning book, there are still plenty of great takeaways.
I have a feeling that this review will just be a series of out of context quotes, and I realize that that can be not helpful so I will do my best to provide some context!
Starting us off, Manning isn't afraid to throw it down:
For many people in the church, Christianity is not Good News. The Gospel is not the glad tidings of freedom and salvation proclaimed by Christ Jesus, but a rigid code of dos and dont's, a tedious moralizing, a list of minimum requirements for avoiding the pains of hell.
This is not how it should be.
During Jesus' time on earth, he constantly demonstrated his love and tenderness; especially towards people that society at the time or even know, frankly, would have deemed....ew. Us included.Here's a couple of quotes that talk about his love for his people:
In Jesus stories, divine forgiveness doesn't depend on our repentance or our ability to love our enemies or on our doing only heroic, virtuous deeds. God's forgiveness depends only on the love out of which he has fashioned the human race.... But the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do. And this, of course, is almost too incredible for us to accept.
and this is actually a quote of a quote
We must remember, he proclaims, that we don not earn God's forgiveness by our sorrow or by our reparation. God's love is given. It is always there, waiting patiently for us. We need only to turn to him and receive it. He is pleased with out efforts but even more pleased with us. That's why He made us. You cannot earn God's love, because He gave it to you before you started to earn it.
One thing that I love about Manning's books is that he often tucks these short little couple a sentence stories into larger stories and some of them make me go "WHAT? NO, WHAT? I MUST KNOW MORE?" or they just make me sob like the little monk who used to be an acrobat in the circus. Oh, little circus monk. So the story for this book that garnered a big reaction from me was even shorter. So in the Bible there's passages about how Jesus talks about how he is going ahead to prepare a place for us and that he will return to take you with me so that you may be where I am. Manning knew a deaf man named Charlie who "at the moment of his death said "For the first time I can hear someone coming." Ah! What? Tell me more?!
There is also little mini study guides at the end of each chapter and and the very last chapter is kind of a commentary on Christmas and it's weird because it almost seems weirdly out of place because it kind of feels like a Lent book more than an Easter book, but it's not like they aren't all connected, haha.