The Ragamuffin Gospel

A man walked into the doctor’s office and said, "Doctor, I have this awful headache that never leaves me. Could you give rue something for it?" "I will," said the doctor, "but I want to check a few things out first. Tell me, do you drink a lot of liquor?" "Liquor?" said the man indignantly. "I never touch the filthy stuff."

"How about smoking?"

"I think smoking is disgusting. I’ve never in my life touched tobacco."

"I’m a bit embarrassed to ask this, but-you know the way some men are-do you do any running around at night?"

"Of course not. What do you take me for? I’m in bed every night by ten o’clock at the latest."

"Tell me," said the doctor, "the pain in the head you speak of, is it a sharp, shooting kind of pain?"

"Yes," said the man. "That’s it-a sharp, shooting kind of pain."

"Simple, my dear fellow! Your trouble is you have your halo on too tight. All we need to do is loosen it a bit." The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with. The tilted halo of the saved sinner ts worn loosely and with easy grace. We have discovered that the cross accomplished far more than revealing the love of God. The blood of the Lamb points to the truth of grace: what we cannot do for ourselves, God has done for us. On the cross, somehow, some way, Christ bore our sins, took our place, died for us. At the cross, Jesus unmasks the sinner not only as a beggar but as a criminal before God. Jesus Christ bore our sins and bore them away. We cannot wash away the stain of our sins, but He is the Lamb who has taken away the sins of the world.

The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning, Page 72-73

2 replies on “The Ragamuffin Gospel”

accountability partner = parole officer
Consider ditching the term “accountability”. Words mean things, and “accountability partner” is synonymous with “parole officer”.
Men need to be accountable for their actions and non-actions, but to use the term “accountability” negates the greatest benefit of having a Christian brother relationship…
couragement, vulnerability, intimacy and prayer .
If the focus is to “be accountable”, the focus is on the things that require improvement or are in question. A constant measurement of whether one is “meeting the grade”… The relationship that results will by definition be adversarial, one holding the other to the standard, the first defending his position as best he can. It is impossible to be defensive and vulnerable at the same time. What is missing for most Christian men is vulnerability, intimacy and prayer with other men. In a relationship where true intimacy occurs, the focus is different… one can focus on one’s relationship with God if one is less concerned with defending or comparing oneself to another’s standards.
Humility is the key to intimacy… humility is an “abdication of the self”… not thinking less of oneself but an abandonment, a total giving up, of oneself and one’s will. The “humility” that is thinking negatively of oneself (or each other)is in itself an act of pride, because it’s still a concentration on the self – saying “I’m still more
important to think about and concentrate on than God, even if it is to put myself down.
All this to say… consider a “Band of Brothers”, men whose focus is on God, not each other and each other’s faults… humble and intimate, with a distinct lack of fear, and revulsion for defensiveness or victimhood. Correct a brother if need be, but refrain from focusing completely on the 10% that requires attention, and focus holistically on
the brother. (focusing on the negative sometimes leads to the false premise that a man needs to “fix” or “correct” himself… while he has a part in that, it is God’s job to change him, and it is his job to consistently give God control. Refraining from an activity displeasing to God is only part of the battle, and not nearly enough. Having God change the desires of one’s heart is where victory occurs.)
While I curretly don’t own one, I love to ride Harleys… novice riders are taught, while riding towards something in the road (road kill, etc), it is best not to look at it… look at the guard rail, the center line, whatever you need to look at OTHER than the obstacle, because if you look at it, you WILL hit it… where you look, you
steer… one of the truisms of Harleys and of life. Alcoholics learn this in AA… if you’re
concentrating on “not drinking”, in effect, you’re concentrating on drinking, which will ultimately be part of your relapse. If you’re
concentrating on the things that you’d like changed in your life, in effect you’re concentrating on the one thing that will ensure NO change in your life. In AA they say, “Let go
and let God”…
I know plenty of great parole officers, and this is no condemnation of PO’s in general (they’re up against some tough odds), but look at the efficacy of the parole program for prisoners in most states… I certainly don’t want to design the relationships that I build to strengthen my walk with God on THAT model!!!!
Design your relationship venue to be focused on God and focused towards how you’d like your life to be.

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