A Book Review In Progress Of A Book I’ve Already Read


“The great mark of a Christian is what no other characteristic can replace, namely the example of a life which can only be explained in terms of God” (Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard).

I’m re-reading a Brennan Manning book, The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus. I started off not sure of whether I’d read the book or not, but soon started recognizing that I had indeed read it before. No matter. It’s worth a second (or third or fourth) read because it still speaks the same truth it did the first time around.

The book resonates with me because it is all about getting the Christian faith back to the basics. Actually, one basic: knowing Jesus. Not just in a ecclesiastical or theological way. Not knowing facts about him or memorizing his words to spout off in an argument. It’s about knowing Jesus, celebrating how he chose a nobody like me (or anyone else) to love and rescue and save.

This Jesus isn’t the feel-good type who’s telling everybody to be nicer to each other. He’s not only a wise teacher trying to make us better people with better morals and better ethics. He’s God in the flesh who says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”

It’s both comforting and convicting. It’s comforting in that it’s about knowing a Person, not following rules and being good enough. It’s convicting, because I can’t know Jesus and stay the same. I can’t follow Jesus and not have to change radically.

I love this quote of Manning’s (from another book he wrote):

“The gospel is absurd and the life of Jesus is meaningless unless we believe that He lived, died, and rose again with but one purpose in mind: to make brand-new creation. Not to make people with better morals but to create a community of prophets and professional lovers, men and women who would surrender to the mystery of the fire of the Spirit that burns within, who would live in ever greater fidelity to the omnipresent Word of God, who would enter into the center of it all, the very heart and mystery of Christ, into the center of the flame that consumes, purifies, and sets everything aglow with peace, joy, boldness, and extravagant, furious love. This, my friend, is what it really means to be a Christian.”

That’s what I’m after. Are you?



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