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God's Furious Longing
Author: Brennan Manning
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition edition (March 1, 2009)
Website: www.brennanmanning.com

I must confess something. I often argue with God.  Most times the arguments are not over situational things, but instead over theology, doctrine and the law.   "Who and why are these souls going to hell?"   "Why must I think this or believe that."   Of course, God always wins.  God's voice, as poorly as I can discern it, speaks like this, "Look,TR, first explore my love for you and for all of those you know and even those you don't know.  Once you've completed this task, we can begin our discussions of theology and doctrine."   Then I see I cannot exhaust the subject and experience of God's love.   Brennan Manning, in his new book The Furious Longing of God, would agree. 

Manning's new book has already met with some less-than-enthusiastic responses from many in the Christian press due to sightings of doctrinal errors.  However, for this reader, his book felt like a relief.  From the perspective of those of us whose journeys have taken some rough turns, landing us squarely at God's mercy, Manning's prose will remain clear and true.  To be sure, Manning's intention was never to present a book on doctrine, but on direct experiences of his relationship with his Lord, who inevitably comes through with every failure, every doubt and every moment of willful and unwillful sin. His illustrations offer fresh insights, which can only come from one who has been at both the bottom of life's story and the crossroads where we find grace and a choice to return to the arms of a loving God who never fails to radically love us without condition or boundaries. 

Terry Roland



Within the church, there are certain people who never question God’s love, who never feel worried, depressed, doubtful, or far away from God.  The rest of us make up at least 90% of the church.  Since so many of us endure the peaks and valleys of a relationship with God, how is it that we can realize fully the presence of God’s love in our lives?

Brennan Manning does a masterful job at answering this and other questions in his latest book, The Furious Longing of God.  The title evokes a Rich Mullins lyric from “The Love of God”: “in this reckless raging fury that they call the love of God.”  Manning takes his thesis from the Song of Solomon 7:10: “I am my beloved’s, and His desire is
for me.”

The rigidity of church doctrine gets challenged, and Manning’s rough poetic voice shines through as he reminds us that God’s love is a powerful force like that of a tidal wave it cannot be avoided, annd it cannot be escaped no matter how much we try to convince ourselves we are unworthy of it.  With that in mind, he challenges us to embrace
it, and to do so by forgetting our theology, our set in stone opinions, and to come to God as a child approaching a Father.

It is extremely rare that I read a book that can make me laugh, slap my forehead as I realize the obvious point that I’ve missed, make me weep for what I have missed, and provide me with hope as I start over again.  Manning has done it to me twice, first with The Ragamuffin Gospel, and now with The Furious Longing of God.  This is a book to be intently studied, and to be treasured by those who live their lives as David did pursuing God’s heart, and dealing with the occaasional alternating feelings of closeness and abandonment.

Brian A. Smith
22 July 2009



The above reviews have already given a strong impression of what this book is about, but for me a few pages in one chapter, entitled ‘Union,’ summarise Manning’s appeal.

The very first line, “Love by its nature seeks union” stopped me short and sent my mind on a journey to assess its truth. The book is provocative, but in a positive way that gets you expecting to find something freshly presented.

As a Lay Minister, I also appreciate the chapter’s theological insights, such as the remarks on Brodie’s commentary on John’s gospel, noting how the whole book is themed on the idea of ‘abiding restful union:’ the prologue establishes that Jesus was in that relationship with his father; the book treats the theme at length in Jesus’ last words to his disciples; then the two references to the disciple John reclining against Jesus take the concept to the end of the gospel.

Then straight after this comes Manning’s demolition of the idea that monitoring our spiritual growth helps us to develop. He maintains that instead we should simply rest in God’s love.

This is a small work (136 short and spacious pages) with little apparent structure, but it contains plenty to inspire and celebrate. Furthermore, it is not only easy to re-read, but important to re-read, its truths about God’s grace being so hard for we humans to truly take in. Manning is so insistent about the Furious Longing of God that we might just get the point from him.

Experiencing this is not so much like reading a book as it is like a trusted friend telling you his encouraging thoughts and (with copious quotations) leading you through snippets of other writers’ works that have inspired him.

This book has plenty to dip into for the reader to meditate on, and the message is eternal. I am sure that I will be coming back to this again and again.

Derek  Walker



In The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning renews our concept of God as “Abba,” the Father who treats us as little children, loving us in spite of our helplessness and our tantrums, furiously longing for us to be with Him and grok Him.
 
Manning is an author whose words will reach you no matter where you are at in life.  His words rely not on your circumstances but in the steady, unchanging love of God.  Once again, he takes a fundamental Christian truth, and gives it a fresh, new look, showing us something so basic that we never should have forgotten it and inviting us to let it change our lives and our relationship with God and man in a profound waysimply comingg to God with the attitude “Abba, I belong to you.”
 
There is usually something doctrinally questionable in Manning’s books or talks, but they are not to be viewed as theological dissertations.  The reader or listener benefits immeasurably by focusing on his key point, which is the unconditional love and acceptance God has for us.

Dan Singleton


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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