But whenever I get a chance to read Brennan Manning I find myself enriched. He has such a gift for taking the simple ideas of God’s love and pursuit and translating them into emotive, powerful anecdotes that touch me in deep ways.
Over the past week I had the chance to read The Furious Longing of God, and I enjoyed it immensely. I grabbed a few of my favorite quotes and put them in a Word document, and have been reflecting on them this week. I thought I’d pass them along to see if they help you too. I’m not sure if they have the same power when taken out of context, but I’ll leave that for you to decide!
“The flashing spirit of Jesus Christ breaks new paths everywhere.”
“The gospel is not a children’s fairy tale, but rather a cutting-edge, rolling-thunder, convulsive earthquake in the world of the human spirit.”
“Because we approach the gospel with preconceived notions of what it should say rather than what it does say, the Word no longer falls like rain on the parched ground of our souls. It no longer sweeps like a wild storm into the corners of our comfortable piety. It no longer vibrates like sharp lightning in the dark recesses of our nonhistoric orthodoxy.”
“It is natural to feel fear and insecurity when confronted with the radical demands of the Christian commitment. But enveloped in the lived truth of God’s furious love, insecurity is swallowed up in the solidity of agape, and anguish and fear give way to hope and desire. The Christian becomes aware that God’s appeal for unlimited generosity from His people has been preceded from His side by a limitless love, a love so intent upon a response that He has empowered us to respond through the gift of His own Spirit.”
“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 creations. 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 friends, is what it really means to be a Christian. Our religion never begins with what we do for God. It always starts with what God has done for us, the great and wondrous things that God dreamed of and achieved for us in Christ Jesus.”
“Perhaps the gut issue is not how much theology we have studied or how much Scripture we have memorized. All that really matters is this: Have you experienced the furious longing of God or not?”
“When the night is bad and my nerves are shattered and the waves break over the sides, Infinity speaks. God Almighty shares through His Son the depth of His feelings for me, His love flashes into my soul, and I am overtaken by mystery. These are moments of kairos-the decisive inbreak of God’s fury into my personal life’s story. It is then I face a momentous decision. Shivering in the rags of my seventy-four years, I have two choices. I can escape below into skepticism and intellectualism, hanging on for dear life. Or, with radical amazement, I can stay on deck and boldly stand in surrendered faith to the truth of my belovedness, caught up in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God. And learn to pray.”