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A ragamuffin reminder

Wow… I was going through some old files a little while ago, and I found a paper I had typed up a few years ago – I had to study it a few minutes before I realized what it was… It is something I had adapted from Brennan Manning’s book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel.”

It was one of those handful of books that have caused a profound shift in my entire life. It fell into my hands when we were in the middle of a church plant that was crashing and burning. The combination of the simple truths and beautifully told stories was used by God to do a tremendous work of healing in my heart. I have read and re-read it, bought it for people and recommended it to others. Frankly, the book is one of a handful of factors that are responsible for me still being in the ministry instead of pursuing corporate success in northwest Arkansas…

What I adapted was from Manning’s “A Word Before” at the very beginning of the book – My paper begins:

This is the kind of pastor I want to be and the kind of church I want to lead…

…not for the super-spiritual.
…not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.
…not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in an ivory tower of exegesis.
…not for “feel-good” folks who would manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
…not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.
…not for “Alleluia” Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
…not for the fearless and tearless.
…not for the red-hot zealots who boast with the rich, young ruler: “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.”
…not for the complacent, with their tote-bag full of honors, diplomas, and good deeds, and who actually believe they have it made.
…not for legalists who surrender control of their souls rather than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

But for…

…the bedraggled, beat up, and burned out.
…the burdened who are constantly shifting their heavy suitcase form one hand to the other.
…the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together.
…inconsistent, unsteady disciples.
…poor, weak, sinful men and women with faults and limited talents.
…earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
…the bent and bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
…smart people who know they are stupid, and honest disciples who admit they’re good-for-nothings.
…myself, and anyone else who has grown weary and discouraged along the way.

Mostly Manning’s words, but my thoughts – then and now.

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  1. BIG POPPA
    December 10, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Loved the book! Loved the blog! Rock on!

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