Ruthless Trust (by Brennan Manning)

I first came across Brennan Manning's writings a few years ago, when my son gave me the excellent 'Ragamuffin Gospel'. Since then I've bought or borrowed other books by the same author, and found them mixed. Some inspiring and moving, others blander.

I borrowed 'Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God' from a friend who recommended it. Unsurprisingly, it has a similar theme to 'The Ragamuffin Gospel' - that of God's unconditional grace, and the importance of trusting him.

There are chapters on thinking big, on the infinite, on trusting Jesus, and more. There's one that expounds on the famous story of the cracked pot and one that talks about being thankful for the moment, rather than constantly thinking about everything but what is happening now.

It's all good stuff. It's well-written, and there are some anecdotes interspersed in the general writing.

And yet... it didn't really inspire me. I read it over about a week, finishing today. I liked each part as I read it; but I didn't find any of it memorable. I had to glance at the chapter headings just now, even to remember what the book was about. Indeed, the only thing of interest that I do remember from the book is that the author's Myers-Briggs personality preferences are INFP, and his Enneagram type is Four.

Perhaps that Enneagram type Four is significant, in that it tends to give people poor self-esteem, and a feeling of shame. I got the impression that Brennan Manning writes almost to expunge feelings of guilt and shame - and I don't identify with them at all. Probably because my Enneagram type is most likely Nine, with the sin of sloth rather than of envy, and a tendency to see everything through rose-coloured glasses.

Anyway - I shan't be buying the book, unless I happen to see it second-hand. I should think it might well be useful, even inspiring to someone struggling with self-esteem issues, feeling shame about their past, and unable to trust God for any reason. But it didn't particularly strike any chords with me.

Review copyright © Sue's Book Reviews, 12th June 2008

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