The Ragamuffin Gospel

I’m a big fan of Rich Mullins’ music and enjoyed watching his biography, entitled Ragamuffin. Through this movie, I learned about Brennan Manning’s book, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out, which I am currently reading. I’m blown away by the wisdom in this book and find myself wanting to yell out, “Yes! Yes!” Considering I’m reading this book at the gym while working out on an elliptical machine, I might get some puzzled looks if I do this!

A ragamuffin is someone who knows he’s nothing but a pauper who has been invited into the presence of the King solely by grace. He has nothing to offer but his brokenness. I am a ragamuffin. I’m acutely aware of my brokenness and how inadequate I am. I’m so grateful that God does not treat me like I deserve. I’m a beggar kissing the feet of the King and simply grateful that He let me in the door.

I just finished a chapter on the “tilted halo,” which will be the focus of my blog this week. The chapter opens with a story – A man goes to the doctor for a headache. The doctor asks if he drinks alcohol, smokes, or parties. The patient indignantly responds that he would never do such things. The doctor diagnoses him with wearing his halo too tightly. In other words, the man is so focused on “being righteous” that he has choked out all the grace. Some of the most miserable people I know are Christians who fixate on doing everything “right” while also demanding this from others.

Manning says that ragamuffins wear a tilted halo:

The saved sinner with the tilted halo has been converted from mistrust to trust, has arrived at an inner poverty of spirit, and lives as best he or she can in rigorous honesty with self, others, and God.”

I’ll be discussing these three aspects of the ragamuffin this week.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out. Courtesy Amazon.]

 

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Musings about Heaven

 

angelIronically, if I subscribed to this blog, I probably wouldn’t bother to read a blog entry on the topic of heaven. I’m not one of those people who has ever been particularly interested in trying to figure out what heaven is like. I figure that it’s going to be great, and I’ll just find out when I get there.

One of the reasons for my attitude re: speculations about heaven is that the aspects of heaven that appeal to me seem to differ from those that other people tend to talk about. For example, I have no interest in inheriting a mansion in heaven unless God also plans to provide a cleaning crew to do the housekeeping. I’ve done enough housekeeping in this lifetime, thank you very much. I also have no interest in sitting around on a cloud playing a harp – sounds pretty boring to me. Now, I can get into the idea of having an intellectual discussion with C.S. Lewis or singing along with Rich Mullins as he leads a worship band, but I’m much more interested in being with God in heaven than reuniting with other people.

To the extent I think about heaven, I think about how AMAZING it will be to worship God. Think about the worship services! I can just see Rich Mullins leading the praise & worship songs as thousands upon thousands of people sing along with the angels and pour adoration out of their souls toward God. I think about how incredible a Beth Moore Living Proof Live or Joyce Meyer event is and imagine the worship experience being exponentially better than even that. Wow!!

I actually don’t care about how many treasures I have stored up in heaven. The only treasure I care about is being in the presence of God Almighty forever. I don’t know if we will have “jobs” in heaven, but if we do, I’d like to be one of God’s priests – the equivalent of a Levites whose inheritance is God. That makes me weird, I know, which is one reason I don’t generally choose to engage in conversations about heaven. However, C.S. Lewis wrote about his own perspective of heaven in his book, The Problem of Pain, and it’s one that excites me. I’ll share his theory in my next blog entry.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace dressed like an angel. Courtesy Bitmoji.]

God is “EveryWHEN”

whenI just completed a series on God being everywhere, which got me thinking about how God is also “everyWHEN” – that God is not limited by time. Those of you who were blessed with scientific brains might be thinking, “Duh!,” but I was not blessed with such a brain, so bear with me. I never took a Physics course. My science-challenged brain has a difficult time wrapping around the concept of God existing outside of the confines of time and space.

Rich Mullins wrote the following lyrics in his song, Nothing is Beyond You:

Time cannot contain You. You fill eternity.”

This helps me apply what I have been processing about God being everywhere to His transcendence of time. Just as God is “too big” to be contained by space, He is also “too big” to be contained by time. My linear mind has trouble grasping this concept. I’ll probably have to spend a lot of time meditating on this reality to even begin to get this. Just writing this paragraph is making my non-scientific brain cramp!

If I could truly grasp and believe that God exists outside of time, I would find it so much easier to trust Him with my future because He already sees it and is already there! He’s not just a good guesser or playing the odds that the suffering I am experiencing today is likely to produce a harvest in the future. He KNOWS this because He is already there looking at that harvest. My poor brain cannot process this!

This is one reason why God wants me living in the present. When I envision the future, it’s often without God’s presence, which is not possible because He is already there. I’ll worry that X, Y, or Z might happen and construct contingency plans for how I will deal with those issues if they arise, but my worry excludes the presence of God. I’ll never experience one second of my life without God, which makes worry a complete waste of time.

This is not a topic that I’ve been pondering yet – I’m still working on wrapping my mind around God being everywhere – so I don’t have much to say about it. At this point in my journey, I have more questions than answers, but I can see how I could much more easily rest in God’s provision by resting in the reality that God is “everyWHEN.”

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace holding a pocket watch under the word, “When?” Courtesy Bitmoji.]