The news of Brennan Manning’s death last Friday left me reminiscing about the first time I heard him speak 20 years ago in a college chapel. He bounced around the stage with a shock of white hair, the most God-awful Scotch-plaid sport coat ever blended in a mill, all paired with polyester green pants that didn’t even come close to matching. I recalled his illustration of an old preacher who delivered a defining moment in his journey by telling him, “Be who you IS, because if you ain’t who you IS, then you IS who you ain’t.”
Manning appeared to be a guy who was OK with being who he was.
I have never forgotten his call to honesty and transparency in the powerful moments of that sermon. Manning’s message assaulted the foundations of my young religious worldview. I was schooled in a world of piousness and religiosity that often left me working to appear, to talk and to act a certain way in an effort to feel “accepted” by God. He spoke to the many of us who were taught that a relationship with God was something we earned. His message was the dynamite that cracked the religious veneer of works-based faith that had separated us from the truth of the Gospel message. His thesis was clear, simple and explosive: “God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”
Read the full article at the Huffington Post HERE.