The Death of Brennan Manning: A Tribute Cartoon

The Death of Brennan Manning: A Tribute Cartoon April 13, 2013
tribute cartoon to brennan manning by nakedpastor david hayward
“Tribute Cartoon to Brennan Manning”

I received an email from a friend informing me that Brennan Manning died yesterday. I can find no news articles confirming this, but his Wikipedia page dates his death as yesterday and his official website announces his passing.

Manning was an American author, friar, priest, contemplative and speaker best known for his book Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out. As an advocate for the marginalized, he’s my kind of people. His voice for the church-abused and the marginalized was not only fueled by his take on the gospel of Jesus, but by his own personal experiences. He got married, marginalizing himself from his own home, the Roman Catholic church. Many of his friends urged him to seek accommodation from the church, but he refused to do so. He didn’t want to be a silent conspirator in what he considered a “corrupt and corrupting process”.

One of his most famous quotes:

“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.”

Whether you agree or not that this is the greatest single cause of atheism, it certainly does illuminate the hypocrisy so much religion is justifiably accused of.

He believed Jesus was the human face of God. According to Saint Paul, now he is face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Read the kind words people are leaving on his Facebook page.

Rest in peace Brennan Manning

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  • Pat

    Thanks for a nice tribute David – his books were pivital for me at a particular stage of my own journey many years ago.

  • you’re welcome pat!

  • Jeff Davenport

    Gonna have to get a copy of Ragamuffin Gospel and re-read it. It has been 25 years. And I could really use the message again. Thanks.

  • Arthur Frymyer, Jr.

    I’d like 25,000 copies of The Ragamuffin Gospel, please. I’d much rather hand them out than Chick tracts.

  • Doug Asbury

    The administrator of one of our Conference’s social service agencies, an ordained United Methodist deacon, always opened her report at our annual conference sessions with the statement, “Oh, the joy of serving!” And everyone knew those weren’t just words to Margaret Ann, because she exuded joy in every act of service she performed. I fear most Christians don’t find joy in serving, and because they don’t, their witness to the wider world suffers. This impacts not only unbelievers outside the church but “believer wannabes” within the church, contributing to a sense that there is really no value in Christianity for most people engaged in ordinary life. I can think of only one woman in the church in which I grew up whom I can identify now as “spirit-filled.” She was the one who saw in me the potential for ministry that I myself didn’t acknowledge until 15 years after she had told me about it, since when she told me, I was on track to become a high school music teacher and had no role models for ministry that I cared at the time to emulate. So, I would affirm what Manning says in the quote you provided, and I would add that there are many “unbelievers” within the church as well as outside it. Somehow, we need to reach all unbelievers so they can be persuaded that there is nothing the world has to offer that can compare with “the joy of serving” our Lord Jesus Christ, whether as a lay person or as clergy.

  • Pat

    That quote on atheism resonates with me. Although not an atheist, I understand well those who, completely or in part, walk away from the faith as a result of the hypocrisy in the Church.

    Regrettably, I never read any of Brennan Manning’s works, just excerpts here and there. Clearly, I’ve missed out.

  • johan

    I have no intention of starting a discussion here but, as an atheist, I would like to clarify some things. People are born atheists. Depending on where they are born and how they are raised, they might become members of an organized religion. Some people might become desillusioned by their religion and the hypocrisy, and they might leave that religion. That does not make them atheists. Some people, through reasoning, conclude there is no god and leave organized religion. They become atheists, again. That does not make them bad people. Morality is not an exclusive religious property. People had morals and lived a moral life, a “good” life, ages before any of the now present religions came into existence.

  • I agree Johan. That’s why I inserted that caveat that Brennan’s understanding of the cause of atheism could be argued. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

  • Brennan Manning has had a huge impact on my life. His transparency and authenticity before the world was a breath of fresh air for me when life was at its most toxic. If I were Catholic I’d have to nominate him as a saint. Since I’m not I’ll just call him the Beloved of God.

  • Holly Thiebaud

    A true, authentic, sincere man of God who is now free with Jesus. He struggled with sin as all of us do, yet defined what being a Christian really is and why we can accept and forgive ourselves thru the cross of Christ. We are all fellow Ragamuffin needing mercy and grace. I look forward to seeing my friend again in heaven.

  • Thanks so much for the thoughtful post, David. In his honor today, here’s one of my favorite quotes from Ragamuffin: “Our huffing and puffin to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our prettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat denial of the gospel of grace.” So well-written and spot on!

  • William Farabow NS

    Brennan taught me that God was a very approachable friend through Jesus ,and to be a friend to myself and others. I will miss my friend Brennan but am thankful that I have his books!

    Butch Farabow, Notorious Sinner

  • With respect and admiration. Thanks for churning the furrow, Brennan. Many of us take heart.

  • Beautiful tribute

  • thanks yo!

  • Wendy

    BM believed God would ask us one question at the end of our life: “Did you believe that I loved you?” When God asked BM that he could resoundingly say yes. “God loves you as you are – not as you should be.”

  • Brennan taught me how to be a stranger to self hatred. It wasn’t until I met him that the inner healing begin. Perfect cartoon for the face to face encounter.

    The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church.
    He took his woes to God. “They won’t let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.”
    “What are you complaining about?” said God.
    “They won’t let me in either.”
    From The Ragamuffin Gospel

  • Adam Julians

    Love your cartoon today David.

    Sad to hear od Brendan Manning’s passing. A friend of mine rocommended one of his books once called “Abba Father”. I quote from the back page of it:

    “Many Christians have bought into the lie that we are worthy of God’s love only when out lives are going well … We cower and hide until we can rearrange the mask of perfection and look good again. Sadly, it is then that we wonder why we lack intimate relationships and a passionate faith. Yet all the time God is calling us to take the mask off and come openly to Him. God longs for us to know in the depth of our being that He loves us and accepts us as we are”.

    I agree with you David, about the hypocricy that is found in human religion.

    My thougths go back to a conversation with a freind. I came to church later in life, and not being someone who grew up with Chirsitan culture, have always felt on the margins. I guess I was just being me. My frieind said she wouldn’t dare being like that around other Christians becuse of the “perfect Christian masks” that happen in church. I’ve learnt from her to not to be so vulnerable with church people in order to be obedient to Jesus and to guard my heart, having had many expereinces of difficulty in church by not doing so. I am sad at the same time that it has been necessary for me to do that. And I am a lot more careful now about who I let in – preferring to do that with a few people I choose rather than with people in church generally.

    I say to my freind that I have learnt some mportant lessons from her. She say to me tha she has missed out on wisdom that she would have otherwise got by being more open with her heart like I have. I guess maybe somewhere in the middile lies the ideal.

    But yes the hypocricy. God giving grace ot the humble and resisting the proud. Is Manning right about hypocricy in the church being the “greatest single cause of aitheism”? Maybe / maybe not, but it certainly doesn’t help attect people to Jesus when his followers fail to do the most basic and yet sometimes the most difficult of things core to the faith, that of loving God and loving people, yet, to coin a phrase are “whitewashed tombs”. clean on the outside but dead on the inside, creating burdens that are too heavy to carry and not lifting a finger to help. Seems to me of al the people Jesus was most angry about were those religious people who cared more about how they looked and what people thougth of them, than caring for those in most need, widows and orphans, and lloking down on so called “sinners”.

  • Gary

    With all respect to Johan, it seems to me people are born neither atheist nor believer. We are all born without any set of beliefs whatsoever and one who identifies as an atheist, just like a believer, has chosen a belief about the nature of the world they live in. To imply that one is the natural state we are born with and the other is the result of social conditioning is, I believe, incorrect. Both views can be equally the product of social conditioning or internal evaluation. Sociologists have long studied why in virtually every culture in the recorded history of the world a belief in some form of god has developed, which often leads to an organized religion of some sort. But the evolving belief in societies is nearly universal.

    We are born neither. We choose as we encounter and evaluate the world we exist within and seek to find meaning.

  • I think the hypocrisy is a clue that it is not Christianity that makes people good, but people find it within themselves to be good.

  • johnnay blaton

    What if I stumble- DC Talk