Brennan Manning Passes – What He Said to Me That I’ll Never Forget

I just heard the sad news that Brennan Manning transitioned from this earth yesterday. You’ll find two of his books on my Best 100 Christian Books Ever Written List. If you don’t have them, you should.

I had the privilege of spending time with Manning in 2007. We both spoke at a conference along with N.T. Wright.

In one of the sessions, we all spent time in a living room together. I had time to talk with Manning one-on-one and I asked him a few questions about writing . . . seeing that he’s a remarkable author whom I wanted to glean from.

He said to me, “If you write something and it doesn’t move you, then throw it in the trash. It’s not going to move anyone else.”

I kept these words firmly in mind when I wrote God’s Favorite Place on Earth. A good bit of that book is in delete-land. :-) I hope that what remained moves others.

During the course of our conversation, I also asked Manning about his photographic memory. It was a  gift. He said all he had to do was read something once or twice and he could recite it.

Amazing! I saw him do just that when I heard him speak in his two sessions during that conference.

I found Manning to be a very humble man with a large heart, an incredible story that magnifies God’s grace in the midst of human frailty and fallenness (which we all share), and an amazing gift for writing and speaking.

Brennan Manning knew grace, he lived grace, and he taught grace . . . even in his last day of blindness and weakness.

I’m privileged to have met this giant in the faith. And I shall never forget him.

David C. Cook, my publisher, released his autobiography – All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir. You can order it on discount below.

Order All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir in hardcover

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About Frank Viola

Frank Viola is a best-selling author, A-list blogger, speaker, and consultant to authors and writers. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. See his About page for more information.

  • Steve

    Because of Brennan Manning’s passing I started to reread Ruthless Trust. I have to admit that at times I have not related to God as a loving Father. Manning reminded to again approach God as Abba and forget about jumping through hoops and trying to live the live the Christian life in my own strength.

  • Debra

    Regarding Brennan’a photographic memory…
    Years ago Brennan and I ministered together at a spiritual retreat. Off the cuff, I heard myself telling the audience, “We always hear teens declaring nowadays, Get real! But what does that mean? When the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse, ‘What is real?’ The Skin Horse replied…” (Uh oh, I don’t remember that exact passage; what was I thinking)?
    That’s when God stepped in and saved the day. By instinct, I handed the mic over to Brennan, seated next to me, who miraculously supplied the unscripted answer.
    “Real isn’t how you’re made… It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real…It doesn’t happen all at once…You become. It takes a long time.
    “That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” The audience burst into wild applause. God had orchestrated the whole thing in advance, I now know. I also realize that it isn’t the spectacular or the sensational that we seek. It’s the supernatural power of Love working in us to accomplish His purposes.

  • Robert Ricciardelli

    Loved the guy, great tribute Frank. I also love a guy named Frank Viola that writes things that move me.

  • Sally Roach

    So sorry to hear this. It was a desire of mine to meet him one day. My husband I were introduced to Brennan Manning through one of his books, “The Lion and Lamb”. We bawled through the entire book so I guess you can say what he wrote moved us.

  • Anita Mathias

    “If you write something and it doesn’t move you, then throw it in the trash. It’s not going to move anyone else.”
    Wow. That’s brilliant advice for blogging in particular!
    Love this post!

  • Valeria T

    Tha’s a great book.

  • J Rock

    I read his book “Ragamuffin Gospel” and it forever changes my life in understanding the grace of our God.