In a former Blog, I wrote about the importance to me of believing in a universalist theological worldview.
For me, these things relate directly to the anxiety and depression that often makes me want to end my life.  I see either some ultimate hope in love, or nihilism.

In terms of the grace, acceptance and unconditional love I espoused as part of my spirituality, I’m adding the great opening to Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, which I think just describes the human condition from a mystical spiritual perspective with an explanatory power I’ve seldom read or heard.  I don’t think one has to be a Christian of any kind, or that it has to be necessarily be about a religious Jesus at all, to appreciate it in terms of grace and humanity.

 

A Word Before

The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the super-spiritual.

It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne, and not Jesus, their hero.

It is not for academics who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.

It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.

It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.

It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.

It is not for the fearless and tearless.

It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the Gospels, “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.”

It is not for the complacent who hoist over their shoulders a tote bag of honors, diplomas, and good works, actually believing they have it made.

It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.

If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.

It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.

It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it all together and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.

It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.

It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.

It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.

It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.

It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.

The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.

—Brennan Manning

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