Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brennan Manning’s Fury

As you get older, your understanding of God changes.

It doesn’t mean it gets better or more insightful, but it changes. Brennan Manning knows, and he describes this change in The Furious Longing of God.

“So much of what was presented to me as real in bygone days, I now see as fictitious,” he writes. “The splenetic god of alternating moods, the prejudiced god partial to Catholics, the irritated god disgusted with believers, the warrior god of the ‘just’ war, the fickle god of casuistic morality, tut-tutting our little weaknesses, the pedantic god of the spiritually sophisticated, the myriad of gods who imprisoned me in the house of fear: I could go on.”

The closer he gets to death, he says, the less inclined he is “to limit the wisdom and infinity of God.”

When we’re 28 we know everything; when we’re 61 we’re astonished at how little we actually know, and how much less we understand.

Perhaps it’s the battering of life, or the decline of the appropriate part of the brain that deals with certainty.

What I do know is this: as I get older, I’m thinking more with my heart than my head. I understand that it doesn’t really matter who’s in the White House, or what the composition of the supreme Court is, or what the American Civil Liberties Union is up to. Not long term, anyway. Not in the grand scheme of things.

We are but a breath, a whisper in time.

What I am growing  more certain of is that God cares about the whispers. And more than that, he cares mightily for them. Manning talks about that might care in terms of longing, on fury, a desire for union that is overwhelming.

We don’t resist that desire. We can’t.

When it focuses on us, we’re done for. We can’t escape it. When it comes we have no choice but to give ourselves up.

This is terrifying. This is exhilarating.

This is humbling.

That fury comes upon us, and we are changed forever.

And we will never fully understand it. But we accept it.

When we are young, we question.

When we are old, that acceptance is enough. It is sufficient.

Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’re discussing Brenan Manning’s The Furious Longing of God. To see more posts on this chapter, “Fury,” please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact.


Jerry said...

Excellent. Wish I had time to pick up another book.

Fatha Frank said...

By your measure I'm closer to knowing it all than to recognizing how much I don't know. :) But I think I do know enough to sit at the feet of my elders and listen to their wisdom. The benefit of hidnsight is a mighty thing and Manning's popularity, at this stage in his life, is a great example of this. When we're young, we're too busy looking forward to stop and look back. And it's when we look back that we recognize the fury Manning describes.

Anonymous said...

I like this statement: "What I am growing more certain of is that God cares about the whispers. And more than that, he cares mightily for them."

I recall that Elijah heard God in the whisper, not in the wind nor the earthquake nor the fire. It's in moments of solitude and quiet that we hear God more clearly, not in the busyness and the noise we find ourselves in most of the time.

Martha Jane Orlando said...

Sounds like another wonderful book to read, Glynn. Really enjoyed your review.

S. Etole said...

Your reviews always whet my appetite for more.

jasonS said...

I just kind of want to sit in the silence and take Him in. Loved the whole post, but something about "God cares about the whispers" really struck me. It's easy to feel an inflated sense of our importance, but it all belongs to Him and though we are small He loves us so completely and overwhelmingly. Thank you, Glynn.

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

My Grandma used to say, "This too shall pass." It's true what's going on now is just a moment. It will pass and changes will come again. Thanks for this it's very inspiring.

HisFireFly said...

terrifying and exhilarating, yes!

Unknown said...

Glynn this is a most excellent post. I am a whisper,who is glad to be heard by the Father!