Above All (by Brennan Manning)

I have very much appreciated the books I have read, over the past decade or so, by Brennan Manning. He was a Franciscan priest, as well as a speaker and writer whose main message was the love of God for even the worst of sinners. I first came across his writing in 2006 when my son gave me ‘The Ragamuffin Gospel’ and have gradually acquired several more of his books over the years.

Browsing the AwesomeBooks site a while ago, I looked to see if there were any more books by this author. I spotted ‘Above All’, one I had not previously read. It was in the ‘Bargain Bin’ so I added it to my order, and have been reading it for the past few days.

My copy is hardback, in excellent condition. And it’s a gorgeous looking book. There’s a peaceful picture on the front, line drawing illustrations in between each chapter, and even in the middle of each chapter. The cynical part of my says that this is to make it longer; my one criticism is that it’s really a very short book. It's just under 140 pages, and would have been nearer 120 without the drawings. There are only six chapters, divided into two sections.

The focus of the book is the song ‘Above All’, which was becoming popular in 2003 when this book was written. Sung by Michael W Smith, it moved Brennan Manning deeply, and he wrote this as a devotional study of the words, and the theology behind them.

The writing is inspiring and encouraging, with a few personal anecdotes and much to ponder. It doesn’t exactly offer anything new, but looks at the words of what is now a well-known song, and reminds readers what they mean. Manning takes a look what Jesus did when he died, and how the love of God is, for each of us, ‘above all’.

There’s not much more I can say. Had I paid full price (I have a US edition that was apparently $16.99) I would have been rather disappointed because it’s so short, although it would make a lovely gift. But I liked reading it very much, and would recommend it to anyone, particularly those who might be feeling discouraged or unloved. No longer in print, but widely available second-hand.

Review copyright 2017 Sue's Book Reviews

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