Leadership Reading List: All is Grace

all is graceLast night I finished Brennan Manning’s All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir. The book is the story of Manning’s life, written from his home in New Jersey as he heads into the last stages of his life. I accidentally read this book… my initial plan was to read Manning’s The Furious Longing of God but as he kept referring to parts of his life story, I couldn’t help but track down this book and dive into it.

The book read well, and went pretty quickly… but I have to be honest: this book disturbed me.

Brennan walked through his childhood, his time as a Franciscan Friar,  Priest, the story of his marriage and divorce, and his speaking ministry. He also spoke quite plainly about his struggle with alcohol.

Reading the book, there were three thoughts that kept running through my head:

  • But for the grace of God… Brennan’s story is my story. I may not struggle with alcohol, I may not have been a Friar, and I may not be divorced, but I am an imperfect man who struggles with sin, just like the rest of us. The thorns in my side may be different than his, but they are just as thorny. I need to remember this.
  • Just because something works… Earlier this week Todd and I shared a video where we said just because something works doesn’t mean it isn’t broken. Brennan has had a significant ministry, and has deeply impacted people over the course of several decades. All outward signs point to someone who had it all together… yet the same man who spoke powerful truth on Sunday, regularly crawled into a bottle for several days afterwards. I need to remember this.
  • God is bigger than all of this… Throughout all of Brennan’s struggles, throughout his failings, his relapses, and misdeeds, God blessed his ministry. In many ways his story reminds me of David’s story… a flawed man, honestly pursuing God in spite of himself. I need to remember this.

What do YOU need to remember?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.