Religion News Service
April 13, 2013
“Oh no!” That was my response this morning when I saw on Twitter that Brennan Manning,the alcoholic ragamuffin saint, passed away yesterday.
I first found Manning through The Ragamuffin Gospel, as many people do. I was struck by his raw honesty and entire dependence on God. Billing itself as “good news for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out,” the book was a fresh cup of grace to many who were tired of fellow Christians’ legalism and judgment.
And did he ever need that cup of grace. Luther once famously said to “sin boldly,” and it pleases me to think that Manning did just that. By that I don’t mean that he sinned any more than most of us. I think that for him, “sin boldly” was not so much a license to sin as a license to talk about it. He was not a hider.
A couple of years ago when I read his memoir, All Is Grace, it moved me deeply. It was published right around the same time as Flunking Sainthood, and I was beginning to hear from readers how much they appreciated authors’ willingness to discuss spiritual failures in public. Such transparency was and is very hard for me, but I have learned that it is the way of healing.
Here is what I wrote at the time:
Rest in peace, beloved ragamuffin.