Brennan Manning has a real way of slicing through to the core.
Whatever is emphasized in the New Testament should be emphasized in the church today. Whatever is peripheral should not be made central today. Jesus Christ in the mystery of his death and resurrection is the centre of the New Testament from Matthew's genealogy to Revelation's "Maranatha."
One of the books I am currently working through is Brennan Manning's "The Importance of Being Foolish" where he explores the mind of Christ and our call to the 'foolishness' of a crucified life.
As I read these words of Manning's I am drawn to consider the many
the trials I am currently experiencing: my continuing search for a new
job at what is now the wrong end of the year, deep alienation from
local 'support' networks and the hustle and bustle of family life with
young children. It is so easy to be distracted away from what is truely
and ultimately essential. Indeed my distractions and digressions often
intrude into this blog which is ironic since it is really supposed to
be about penetrating beyond them.
I suppose an obvious question some may have is whether a blog
focussed on meditation is not itself a distraction for a Christian such
as I am? I mean there are plenty of critics of the contemplative
movement around today.
It has the potential to be I admit, but I note the subtitle of Manning's book: "How to Think Like Jesus".
For me, learning to think like Jesus is the essence of authentically
Christian meditation and mysticism and what I aspire towards. Of
course, learning to think like Jesus should be pursued in everyday life
and not just seated in meditation, but meditation is an important
spiritual discipline towards this end. After all, the apostle Paul
himself said: "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set
your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand
of God. Set your minds on things above, not earthly things. For you
died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." [Colossians
As I was reflecting on the mind of Christ and its pursuit in the
Christian life I was led towards this old hymn. Now I am not normally
partial to hymns but I could help but note the beauty of these verses:
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.
May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.
May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.