The end of the month means a book review... and this month I am choosing to review a book that I love (and have just re-read). It's called Abba's Child, by Brennan Manning.
One of the reasons I love Brennan Manning is because he tells a story so well. The story of salvation; the story of his childhood; his becoming a Catholic priest; the story of a young boy learning the words of God... it is all amazing, and God has kissed his mind.
Before I review the book I must address this: many of my friends who I love and respect do not like Brennan Manning or his genre...they actually call him a mystic. He has (openly and admittedly) come from a life filled with pride, addiction, and failure. Still, he is transparent and humble...and I see nothing wrong Biblically with what he believes. His writings have only encouraged a deeper walk with God and a greater understanding of myself as His child...so I love him.
Abba's Child talks about two people who live inside of us: "The Impostor" (the one we have learned to show the world as a good interpretation of who we want to be) and "The Beloved" - both are real, but both are in constant battle with each other. Manning writes, "For many years I hid from my true self through my performance in ministry. I constructed an identity through sermons, books and storytelling. I rationalized that if the majority of Christians thought well of me, there was nothing wrong with me. The more I invested in my ministerial success the more real the impostor became." The words cut straight into my heart... and, of course, fuel a desire only to be healed of any performance orientation- once and for all.
The beloved, on the other hand knows his identity is "One who is loved by Christ" with no questions asked. In many ways, my "Beloved Janet" is the quiet, unassuming gem that hardly anyone will ever notice, but everyone will want to be around. That's the presence of God.
As it makes way through our identity issues (or how we truly see ourselves in God's Kingdom), Manning also addresses passion, belonging, and most of all, a deep and abiding love of Jesus --and our life in Him today.
A good read and a good read again (the book I have was published in 2002 and then already had topped the 100,000 copies sold mark) as I have just done. I think Abba's Child is on my shelf for a reason (after surrendering 95% of my books when we moved here). It is also worn and creased in places for a reason: the subtitle, after all is "The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging". Our Father (Abba), always wants to remind us of who we are to Him, and Manning splendidly worships Him through the pages.
I think I'll read it again soon....