Manning's words on that album were:
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."Those two brief sentences instantly interested me and, after getting the opportunity to hear him speak in person a couple years later, I was hooked. I began reading his books at that point and have read nearly everything he has written. His perspective on the unconditional love of God drew me in and his emphasis on the grace of our heavenly Father helped to set me free from the chains I was in. It is no coincidence that my firstborn child shares his name.
The thing about Brennan Manning is that he is no saint in the eyes of many evangelical Christians due to his background and challenges in life. He comes from a Catholic background and has struggled with alcoholism. He is divorced. In a nutshell, he is not perfect. His unique experiences in life and brushes with sin even after walking with Christ have caused some to write him off.
I, however, feel like he has a grasp on the love of God for the prodigal child that few of us may ever understand. His writing has encouraged and challenged me as no other modern writer has done. I was pleased to learn that Brennan has a new book out this year entitled The Furious Longing of God. Michael Spencer, aka The Internet Monk, has written a review of the book here, along with some thoughts on the author. Spencer has this to say:
"Brennan isn’t for everyone. I learned that long ago. But he sure is for me, I can tell you that. Let’s be honest. Brennan Manning isn’t an exegete or a expositor. He’s a Catholic. He’s a mystic. He’s a story-teller. He’s sloppy. He makes no attempt at neat Systematics. He quotes other writers, some of them a bit off the farm. He repeats the same ideas and stories in almost every book. He never seems to be anything other than weak and in desperate need of help from God. His prose is occasionally excessive and sometimes obscure. He can be frustrating, puzzling and disturbing.If you'd never had the privilege of reading a book by Brennan Manning, I'd encourage to check him out. I'd start with either The Ragamuffin Gospel or Abba's Child and see if his take on the Christian life resonates with you. I'm sure you'll be glad you did.
And Brennan Manning is, for my life (and the lives of thousands of other devoted readers), simply the most indispensably authentic writer on the God of Jesus Christ I’ve ever encountered. Brennan knows Jesus and can bring you right there like no other writer of our time.
One thing I can say for every critic who finds Manning “a waste of time.” They are not longing, in the midst of the wreckage of their own souls, to hear, existentially and constantly, the assurance of God’s absolute love and affection. I can say this with some certainty, because no one can compare to the ability of Brennan Manning to stop you and embrace you with the astonishing love of God."