You are on page 1of 2

Ive been asked a certain question countless times over the course of my ministry.

Sometimes it has been asked with genuine sincerity; other times Im sure it was a loaded pharisaical grenade: Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters? Here is the response I gave in The Ragamuffin Gospel in 1990: It is possible because I got battered and bruised by loneliness and failure; because I got discouraged, uncertain, guilt-ridden, and took my eyes off Jesus. Because the Christencounter did not transfigure me into an angel. Because justification by grace through faith means I have been set in a right relationship with God, not made the equivalent of a patient etherized on a table. Twenty-one years later I stand by what I wrote; those words are as true for me now as they were then and on the day of my mothers funeral. That paragraph from Ragamuffin Gospel spoke to many people; theyve told me so time after time. I must admit though that from where I sit today the paragraph is a bit much, a little wordy. I believe I can now whittle the lines down to a three-word response that incorporates all the truth of a verbose 1990s ragamuffin into a 2011 ragamuffins preference for brevity. Question: Brennan, how could you relapse into alcoholism after your Abba encounters? Answer: These things happen. Id like to give my good friend Fil Anderson the final word in this section. These words come from Fils latest book Breaking the Rules. He knows all about the response These things happen. My highest hope is for all of us to stop trying to fool others by appearing to have our act together. As people living in intimate union with God, we need to become better known for what and who we actually are. Perhaps a good place to begin would be telling the worldbefore the world does its own investigationthat were not as bad as they think. Were worse. At least I know that Im worse. Lets get real. For every mean-spirited, judgmental thing some preacher has said, Ive thought something nastier, more hateful and more cutting about one of my neighbors. For every alleged act of homophobia by my fellow Christians, Ive done something stupid to demonstrate my manliness. For every brother or sister whose moral failure has been exposed, Ive failed privately. No matter how boring followers of Jesus may appear to be to the outsiders, they dont know the half of it; trust me. If we really believe the gospel we proclaim, well be honest about

our own beauty and brokenness, and the beautiful broken One will make himself known to our neighbors through the chinks in our armorand in theirs. Manning, Brennan; Blase, John (2011-10-04). All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir (p. 180). David C Cook. Kindle Edition.