" The manila package stared at me without giving away the cargo it carried. "Hmm, what has come today? I wondered." As soon as I pulled the compact volume of Brennan Manning's newest work from the package I felt a literal surge of gratitude in my soul. "It's here, it's here!" I have been excited to receive the latest compilation or passionate prose from Brennan for an Ooze review! (http://viralbloggers.com)(www.theooze.com)
I have also had the privilege of inviting Brennan to spend a weekend with me and the church I pastor just outside of Seattle. He inspired, challenged, and helped us all to center on the person, work, and love of God through Jesus.
As I began to pour through the pages, the words were not ancient mysteries newly unveiled, or some new angle on God's truth, but rather, I felt as though Brennan and I were sitting next to a fire, having a spiritual conversation about our journeys with Jesus.
Brennan is at his passionate post as this writing centers on "union" which is the heartbeat of his book, "the furious longing of God." On page 65 Brennan writes:
"Words such as union, fusion, and symbiosis hint at the ineffable oneness with Jesus that the apostle Paul experienced: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). No human word is even remotely adequate to convey the mysterious and furious longing of Jesus for you and me to live in His smile and hang on His words. But union comes close, very close; it is a word pregnant with a reality that surpasses understanding, the only reality worth yearning for with love and patience, the only reality before which we should stay very quiet. "Cease striving and know that I Am God." (Ps. 46:10)
The book is not large, it yields 136 devotional pages. The book is not a new journey, rather it is a trusted reminder of what is true and worth engaging the pharisees of our day over. The book is not flashy, it is Brennan telling you stories interlaced with some insightful exegesis.
If you have never read a book by Brennan before, pick this one up and you will get a glimpse of a man saved by grace who has allowed his wounds to become sacred by the healing touch of Jesus. If you have read books by Brennan, pick this one up, you will feel a refreshing wind reminding you that too often we create religions where Jesus simply says follow me.
From the transformation of Aldonsa to Dulcinea in Don Quixote, to the message found in Shel Silversteins, "The Giving Tree," Brennan delivers the furious punch of divine grace over and over again.
Perhaps Brennan best brings home the concept of union, symbiosis, fusion, or in the apostle John's term "abiding" on page 72:
"The ordinary pablum of popular religion caters to the idealistic, perfectionistic, and neurotic self who fixates on graceless getting worthy for union, while allowing the prostitutes and tax gougers to dance into the kingdom. Our strategies of self-deception persude us that abiding restful union with Jesus is too costly, leaving no room for money, ambition, success, fame, sex, power, control, and pride of place or the fatal trap of self-rejection, thus prohibiting mediocre, disaffected dingbats and dirtballs, like myself, from intimacy with Jesus. Until we learn to live peacefully with what Andre Louf calls "our amazing degree of weakness," until we learn to live gracefully with what Alan Jones calls "our own extreme psychic frailty," until we let the Christ who consorted with hookers and crooks to be our truth, the false, fraudulent self motivated by cowardice and fear will continue to distance us from abiding restful union."
Each chapter concludes with two thought provoking questions titled "Consider This…" I would encourage you to absorb the book and utilize these questions to allow the voice of Christ to speak to the deepest parts of your soul. In this way, "the furious longing of God" will be more than a reminder, and more than an intellectual diversion. It will ignite your faith in an environment where you know that you are loved by God, no matter what.
So, if you are looking for something absolutely new and different from Brennan, this is not your book. But, if you long for a realignment of your soul to the heartbeat of the Father, Abba, as Brennan so powerfully relays…get this book.