Vulgar Grace

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For whatever reason, last night I decided to clean up all the websites I had bookmarked on my computer.  A technological version of spring cleaning perhaps??? Anyways – while I found mostly old junk I didn’t need anymore, I did stumble upon this really great article from a while back.  It sums up the life, faith, and written works of Brennan Manning.  Even though I’ve never read any of his books, I really, really want to!!  The article is good and you can read it here, but what I love, love, LOVED was an excerpt from Manning himself:

My life is a witness to vulgar grace — a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wage as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten till five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck toward the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party, no ifs, ands, or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request — “Please, remember me” — and assures him, “You bet!”…This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown-up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try and find something or someone that it cannot cover. Grace is enough

Sin and forgiveness and falling and getting back up and losing the pearl of great price in the couch cushions but then finding it again, and again, and again. Those are the stumbling steps to becoming Real, the only script that’s really worth following in this world or the one that’s coming. Some may be offended by this ragamuffin memoir, a tale told by quite possibly the repeat of all repeat prodigals. Some might even go so far as to call it ugly. But you see that doesn’t matter, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly except to people who don’t understand…that yes, all is grace. It is enough. And it’s beautiful.

Dang!  Does that not make you fall just a bit more in love with our heavenly Father??  I love how he says God’s grace is one that offends…..for the worker in the field all day, maybe it does; but for the dying sinner on the cross, it’s nothing short of amazing.  To me this is one of the biggest doctrines of Christianity that sets it apart from all other religions  – the fact that God demands no works or good behavior as payment for the gift of His grace.  It’s given completely freely and without discrimination.  The pious nun who is virtually sin free in the world’s eyes is loved just as much as the heroine addict convicted of murder.  And both are offered the same gift.  And no amount of their good work gets them any closer to that gift, nor their bad behavior any further away.  It makes no sense and can offend our humanistic “earn-and-get-what-you-deserve” mentality.  Seriously – what kind of god does that??!! Only one who is completely holy, fully compassionate, and unconditionally loving. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,” says the Lord.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.  Oh I love that! To have a God, a creator, I can’t fully understand.  But what tiny part I do understand is that His grace is good and I’m desperate for it and I’m going to take it and claim my place as his fully forgiven, fully loved daughter.  In all my mess and ugliness I am loved by the King of Kings and His grace IS enough!

Hope you have a good weekend and that you know and accept and experience the beautifully vulgar grace that is freely offered to you!

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4 responses »

  1. To my darling daughter, I continue to stand amazed and humbled that our Heavenly Father “Graced” me to be your mother. I love how God uses even the mundane task of just cleaning the old bookmarks that He can than use the words & experiences of an “inconsistent, unsteady disciple whose cheese is falling off their cracker” to reach into our hearts and let us hear once again THE GOSPEL…..THE GOOD NEWS….that God loves us as we are and not as we should be. God’s word is always on time. Thank you for having the boldness & the courage to write as you believe & feel! Love you so very much!!

  2. Yes, it is totally amazing, and totally undoing. I feel that even though I have walked with the Lord for most of my life, I am just now starting to really get a revelation of what He actually did for us. That His grace and favor and love acceptance are gifted freely to me, regardless of how well I perform or how zealously I uphold the law. I am learning that it has to be grace all the way…grace or law…and I choose grace!! Thanks for this post-a great reminder! Looking forward to meeting you at (in)RL! Have a great week!

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