The Ragamuffin is in heaven

Vandaag hoorde ik van het overlijden van Brennan Manning. Meerdere mensen maakten er melding van. Grappig om te zien hoe een in Nederland relatief onbekende Amerikaan toch veel invloed heeft gehad in ons kleine landje. Ik leerde hem kennen via het boek The Ragamuffin Gospel, vertaald als Het Zwerversevangelie. Het woordje ‘zwerver’ doet niet helemaal recht aan de term ragamuffin. Een ragamuffin is meer – of juist minder – dan een zwerver. Google Vertalen geeft als mogelijkheden: een schooier, schoffie, schobbejak, smeerlap. En dat is precies wat Manning bedoelde. De introductie van dat boek laat daar geen misverstand over bestaan, en daarom de moeite waard om hier te citeren. En als deze blog als resultaat heeft dat er één iemand meer is die zijn boek wil gaan lezen dan ben ik tevreden…

The Ragamuffin Gospel

“The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind. This book is not for the super-spiritual. It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero. It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis. It is not for the noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion. It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion. It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.

It is not for the fearless and the tearless. It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels: “All these commandments I have kept from my youth.” It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote-bag of honors, diplomas and good works actually believing they have it made. It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus….

The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out. It is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other. It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace. It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker. It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents. It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay. It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God. It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.

The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and for anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.”

Brennan Manning, 1934 – 2013.

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