The Wisdom of Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning (Photo credit: Jordon)

This morning, I was searching for the author of the quote “Evangelism is just one beggar telling another where to find bread.”  I had attributed it to “someone” in my Breathing Under Water – Part 10 post yesterday, and I woke up thinking I should really try to find out the author. One site  said D.T. Wright.  A reader of this blog suggested Brennan Manning.  Since I love Brennan Manning, I knew that checking him would  provide inspiration, if not an answer, so I started digging. I found a spot on the Good Reads website that lists 127 of his quotes. The “beggar” quote was not there, but I did find a treasure box full of Brennan Manning wisdom.   I couldn’t let the day go by without sharing a couple of these quotes.

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church.  He took his woes to God. ‘They won’t let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.’  

“‘What are you complaining about?’ said God. “They won’t let Me in either.'” From The Ragamuffin Gospel, Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up and Burnt Out

What makes a genius? The ability to see. To see what? The butterfly in a caterpillar, the eagle in an egg, the saint in a selfish person, life in death, unity in separation, God in the human and human in God and suffering as the form in which the incompre- hensibility of God himself appears.” The Wisdom of Tenderness:  What Happens When God’s Fierce Mercy Transforms Our Lives.

During my research, I also learned that he had published a memoir All is Grace- A Ragamuffin Memoir with John Blase in 2011.

Brennan Manning died on April 12, 2013.  It was one of those days (like the days recently when I learned of the deaths of Gordon Cosby and Dallas Willard) when the world just stopped for me for a few minutes as I thought about the impact this man had on spiritual formation and on my life.  God took home another beloved ragamuffin that day.

Now, can anyone verify who first said, “Evangelism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread?”

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5 Responses to The Wisdom of Brennan Manning

  1. Karen Watson says:

    I t is kind of the quote that Steve Brown always said… I loved that guy….. another ragamuffin!

  2. Knapsack Heart says:

    Yes, he definitely made an impact! From what I could find, that quote is by D. T. Niles, “a great Sri Lankan evangelist, ecumenical leader and hymn writer. I’d never heard of him before, so don’t know what else to tell you, but maybe that will help.

    • That’s what we are all coming up with. So I guess I’ll give him credit. It does seem odd that such a famous saying came from someone few of us have heard of.

      • Well, now I’m replying to my own comment. My friend and colleague did some more searching and found the quote “we are all mere beggars telling other beggars where to find bread. attributed to the reformer Martin Luther (November 10, 1483 – February 18, 1546).

      • Knapsack Heart says:

        Maybe he would have wanted it that way.

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