Apr 15 2013

Brennan Manning and his Ragamuffin legacy


Back in the 90’s I listened to the music of Rich Mullins and Michael Card a lot. Both musicians were greatly influenced by Brennan Manning’s book The Ragamuffin Gospel. Mullins was so impacted by the ideas in this book that he named his band The Ragamuffin Band and now the working title for the upcoming movie about Mullins’ life is A Ragamuffin’s Legacy.

That legacy extends to so many of authors and artists of the past thrity years. Apparently some of the members of U2 read Manning. I see Manning’s influence in the works of Phillip Yancy and Donald Miller and in worship lyrics like “beautiful, scandalous night.”  Michael W. Smith wrote the forward to the stack of copies of Ragamuffin that sit in our living room waiting to be given away.  Like Mullins and so many others, I am part of that Ragamuffin legacy.

Reading The Ragamuffin Gospel challenged me to reconsider some of the practices and attitudes I was bringing into my relationship with God and into how I communicated the message of grace to other people. Manning called out my “imposter” and started me on the road to recovery.

I struggle with fear and insecurity the way Brennan Manning struggled with alcohol. What if I believe the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing? What if I get crossways with the people who define “the wrong thing”? What if I give someone the wrong impression of Jesus? What if God’s grace has limits and I’ve exceeded them? What if I lose love? I spent long periods of my life, sometimes years, frozen in place because I was afraid. To paraphrase Ragamuffin, I had “confused my perception of myself with the mystery that I really am accepted.”

Ragamuffin helped me to experience God’s love without the fear. Even after my personal relationship with Christ took an emotional and intellectual turn, it took years for me to be vulnerable and authentic with some of the people in my life. I still have lapses of insecurity. I flounder around socially and relationally, especially when I am outside my comfort zone – and lately it seems that I am always outside my comfort zone. More than anything anyone else has ever said to reassure me, Brennan Manning gave me permission to proceed in my scandalous imperfection.


Jun 24 2011

Bridesmaids is about women and emotions but it’s not a chick flick…and it’s really funny


Bridesmaids is a funny and somewhat crass look at friendship and competition among women involved in a wedding. Often a wedding party is made up of people who may not socialize together. When a group of women don’t know one another well but end up in an intimate social situation like a wedding insecurities are bound to surface. It’s already an emotionally charged event. I thought Bridesmaids was a refreshingly honest look at some of the ways weddings can heighten insecurities and make women crazy.

Lilian’s bridesmaids are Anne, her childhood friend, Helen, the wealthy wife of her fiancé’s boss, who has become a close friend, Becca, a newlywed co-worker, Megan, the groom’s sister, and Rita, Lillian’s cousin who is a dissatisfied wife and mother.The status of “best friend” changes over the years so when it comes time to choose the “maid of honor” one of the “best” friends is going to be hurt. Continue reading

Nov 25 2010

Ron’s Envy and Insecurity in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1


We get small glimpses of some of the old crew from Hogwarts but for the most part the players in Deadly Hallows Pt. 1 are Harry, Ron and Hermione. While Harry and Hermione seem to be focused on battling Voldemort’s minions and destroying horcruxes, Ron’s battle is with his own envy and insecurity.

Ron operates under misplaced perception that status is a criterion for worth. Though Harry makes a concentrated effort to downplay his importance, he is “the boy who lived.” Hermione’s the smartest. He’s not the most talented quiddich player on the team. He’s never the smartest or most talented person in the room. In Ron’s family Fred and George are the funniest, Ginny is the most magically talented, and Bill is the bravest. On top of that Bill is about to marry the beautiful Fleur, Ron’s idea of the perfect woman. Ron has no superlatives associated with himself. He sees himself as an unnecessary add-on in the groups to which he belongs. Continue reading

Jun 25 2009

Frost/Nixon and the pride of insecurity


There is what we think of ourselves, there is what others think of us, and then there is what we think others think of us. Frost/Nixon reveals a man obsessed about what others think of him. In the interview with David Frost Richard Nixon describes the two of them as “scrambling our way up in undignified fashion.”
Nixon seems to suffer both from feelings of inferiority and from resentment toward those who may think of him as inferior. Even after serving a term as president of the United States Nixon feels that “the well born” look down on him. He feels the needs to prove himself and “make ’em choke on our continued success. Our continued headlines! Our continued awards! And power! And glory!” Continue reading