I originally tried to read this book while being indoctrinated in fundamentalism at my southern bible college (mostly the culture's fault, not wholly the school's). that being said, I quickly put it down when I saw that Manning thinks God's love is unconditional. That didn't work for me then...however, now I have read the Scriptures for myself and I think that God loves everybody...unconditionally. I think, perhaps, the biggest folly in humanity's history is the people of God (Adam, Israel, Church) thinking that God's favor being on them is synonymus with being God's favorite.
Today, I much appreciate the Ragamuffin Gospel's availability and vulnerability to me. And when I hear people say that they heard that guy is a liberal and dangerous...I pick it up and read it again...
Here's some quotes, processes and questions (pages are from the 1990 Multonomah version):
p.11 First off, if you can read the word before without feeling conviction, put the book down, go pray for a few years and then come back. Or as Jesus says (p.19) "Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'It is mercy I desire and not sacrifice. I have come not to call the self-righteous but sinners.' "
p.22 "Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer."
This is the quote that caused me to put the book down in judgement so many years ago. I have moved forward and am more able to accept others' faults now. Where have you been? Where do I need to move next?
p.25 quoting Paul Tillich "Simply accept the fact that you are accepted."
p.32...go read Job 26:7, then tell God what you think. See if you aren't changed.
p.42 "When the religious views of others interpose between us and the primary experience of Jesus as the Christ, we become unconvicted and unpersuasive travel agents handing out brochures to places we have never visited."
p.53 "For the disciple of Jesus 'becoming like a little child' means the willingness to accept oneself as being of little acocunt and to be regarded as unimportant."
Are you important? Really? Are you answering from your dreams or from your reality/actions?
p.72 "The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with."
p.74 "The tendency in legalistic religion is to mistrust God, to mistrust others, and consequently to mistrust ourselves...Do you really believe that God is love?"
p.85 "When a man or woman is truly honest (not just working at it), it is virtually impossible to insult them personally. There is nothing there to insult...people who had nothing to be proud of."
p.134 quoting Jean Danielou, " 'Truth consists in the mind giving to things the importance they have in reality.' The really Real is God."
and finally to end with...
p.29 "My friends, if this is not good news to you, you have never understood the gospel of grace."
Great stuff - go at it.