If you have ever wondered why Zac's Place is subtitled "A Church For Ragamuffins", then you need look no further than the writings of Brennan Manning, who's long road to freedom came to completion on 12 April when he passed away aged 78.
His book The Ragamuffin Gospel goes down in my life as one of the most influential reads of my life. It was released back in 1990 and was marketed as, "good news for the bedraggled, beat up and burnt out". It's a label I and many others have taken to heart over the years and by that same grace of God that Brennan bathed in, it's a label that resonates so much with what Zac's Place has matured into. He continued to be a fierce advocate for the marginalised, poor and church-abused, all the while battling his own demons. I longed for an opportunity for him to sit alongside us one day at Zac's Place, but the opportunity never came - but alas, the Spirit with which he lived and struggled, is alive and well, not just in our humble bunch of ragamuffins, but among the many who benefitted from his writing and gentle ability to communicate the profoundness of God's love wherever he took opportunity to speak.
My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones. My hope is that the legacy of his testimony will continue to inspire many to live in the revelation of "Abba's" love. Sometimes the profoundest of truths comes by way of the most gentle whisper, I'm so glad I was listening....
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
“Because salvation is by grace through faith, I believe that among the countless number of people standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands (see Revelation 7:9), I shall see the prostitute from the Kit-Kat Ranch in Carson City, Nevada, who tearfully told me that she could find no other employment to support her two-year-old son. I shall see the woman who had an abortion and is haunted by guilt and remorse but did the best she could faced with grueling alternatives; the businessman besieged with debt who sold his integrity in a series of desperate transactions; the insecure clergyman addicted to being liked, who never challenged his people from the pulpit and longed for unconditional love; the sexually abused teen molested by his father and now selling his body on the street, who, as he falls asleep each night after his last 'trick', whispers the name of the unknown God he learned about in Sunday school.
'But how?' we ask.
Then the voice says, 'They have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb.'
There they are. There *we* are - the multitude who so wanted to be faithful, who at times got defeated, soiled by life, and bested by trials, wearing the bloodied garments of life's tribulations, but through it all clung to faith.
My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
Philip Yancey on Brennan Manning (archive)