Book review: The Ragamuffin Gospel

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Over the last few weeks I have been squeezing in some time to read this book by Brennan Manning. I really didn’t have any idea of what to expect and I certainly had never heard of the word “ragamuffin.” By the last time I set the book down I truly felt like I left with more awareness of God’s saving grace and of who I am with and without Christ.

Early on Manning states that the book is not intended for a number of types of people, including those who are obsessed with following laws/ rules to try to earn their salvation and those who claim to have perfectly obeyed the commandments (from the section “A Word Before”). After reading the rather lengthy list of those who were not Manning’s intended audience I was unsure whether this book was for me or not. As I read on, however, I had the realization that all humans are ragamuffins. In other words we are not (on our own) pure from sin but rather dirty with it. As much as we try to imitate ourselves into God’s image and to live “godly” we make mistakes. We lie, falter in trusting God, and become consumed with other things (like social media or our careers) that can become idols. So, this book is for everyone who recognizes their humanistic faults and innate imperfection and who yearns for deeper understanding about God’s love for us, reaching heaven, and Jesus as the lamb of God.

Each chapter is perfectly organized and tells a different story. The book is embedded with numerous life lessons that I think could be valuable for both Christians and non-Christians alike. I enjoyed how Manning managed to weave in interesting, real-life stories from his life and from other books.

One idea that I found especially fascinating is about the lack of wonder in today’s society. Manning says “We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. . . There was a tie in the not too distant past when a thunderstorm caused grown men to shudder and to feel small. But God is being edged out of the world by science. . .we become immune to the glory of creation” (76-77). Though this is a serious issue, it does not have to be a permanent one. Restoring wonder involves changing the way we look at things, appreciating them more, and giving credit to God for their existence.

This is one of the most enlightening books I have ever read and Manning offers numerous other bits of wisdom and biblical truths throughout. More than anything this book proves that the bible, especially the New Testament, is a gospel for the hurting, the sinful, the lost, and the weary. It is for people like me and you.

I highly recommend this book to all people, regardless of religious beliefs or knowledge. Read it all the way through, because why not? Give it a chance. You never know what blessings lay right around the next page turn.

Love always,


Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books to review.

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