Monday, August 22, 2016

The Wisdom of Tenderness by Brennan Manning

I'm reading "The Wisdom of Tenderness" by Brennan Manning...and to say its a good book, would be an understatement. I'll share some of the things that found worth repeating. My thoughts are in the parantheseis, most emphasis is mine.
-If we accept the revelation of Jesus that God is Father, that there's "one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all" (Eph 4:6) then we're making a statement, not just about God but about ourselves. Its to say we are his children, to acknowledge that other people are brothers and sisters in the human family. THIS understanding affects our lifestyle b/c it implies acceptance of others and responsibility for others; we do our best to give family members whatever they need. This familial relationship is to be taken literally, for its a thing of flesh and blood in the bond of the Holy Spirit. (I have lots of thoughts about this, but my question today is, Are we as Christians really living like this?)
-When we're steeped in selfishness, indifferent to the poor, tormented by lust, wallowing in self-pity and flattened by depression...God's love continues to carry us. God can't NOT love us. (I read this week of a momma who committed suicide to postpartum depression, I know more people than I count who are depressed, addicted, tired. He loves you, he loves me. Our Hope should lay in him and him alone. If he is for us, (and friend he IS) who can be against us? Romans 8:31. I love the lyrics to "Fierce" by Jesus Culture...."YOU CHASE ME DOWN, YOU SEEK ME OUT, HOW CAN I BE LOST, WHEN YOU HAVE CALLED ME FOUND." Something to think about)
-Do you accept yourself as one utterly loved by God? And truly liked? Do you wholeheartedly trust that God likes you? If you can answer yes to these questions, there comes a relaxedness and serenity, a compassionate attitude toward yourself in your brokenness, that elucidates the meaning of tenderness.
-On page 22 the question is posed "But what of God's justice?" (You will need to read it for yourself, its a lot to grasp, but these two things stood out) "I hope as much from the justice of God as from his mercy. It is b/c he is just that he is compassionate and full of tenderness....for he knows our weakness." -Therese of Lisieux. (that struck me as deep and profound. I don't know about you but for me I sometimes tend to lean towards the just side of God, forgetting the compassionate side. The God that is seeking me)
-What joy to think that God is just, that he takes account of our weaknesses, that he knows perfectly the fragility of our nature. (same thoughts from the section above, but yes add joy to the equation)
(you will have to read the book to grasp the concept)
-Every change in the quality of a Christian's life must grow out of a change in his / her vision of reality. (definitely not by someone else's rules, boundaries, and lack of tenderness which I see and hear so much of today, even in the Christian circles)
-The gentle spirit dwelling within us is the deepest expression of tenderness-indeed, the Spirit-filled Christian is one whose heart is OVERFLOWING with tenderness-and it represents the full healing of our pain through his coming to us. (still pondering this. I lack this experience from Christians. And its made me take a closer look at my own walk.)
-Biblically, tenderness is what follows when someone reveals to you your own inner beauty, when you discover your belovedness, when you experience that you are deeply and sincerely LIKED by someone. If you communicate to me that you really like me, not just love me as a brother in Christ, that you take delight me, then you open up to me the possibility of liking myself (and I will add from Brene Brown...the ability to be my true self and be vulnerable...from her book Daring Greatly) Brennan continues...The look of amiable regard in your eyes banishes my fears, and my defense mechanisms disappear into the nothingness. Your warmth withers my self-disdain and allows the possibility of self-esteem. The mask drops...becoming more open, sincere, VULNERABLE and affectionate w/ you than I would ever dream of being if I thought you didn't like me. (Its so cool that I am reading both of these books and they are touching on this very issue that I am so enthralled by. To me THIS is what I want to be and what I look for in relationships. It should be evident in Christian circles...its so beautiful!)
This is ONLY Chapter one. I'm excited to see what else he has to reveal! I really enjoy reading Brennan Manning. I think he GETS what many Christians don't, and he has a way of revealing it to the reader. And if you haven't watched "The Raggamuffin"....the life of Rich Mullins. Go watch it! And read "The Raggamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.

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