Editorial: Goodbye to an Old Friend

Today will be a “quieter” day than I figured it would be.  Jeannie found the notice of Brennan’s death (yesterday), and as soon as she told me, I felt an emptiness in my heart—the way I feel when someone has come for a visit, but has just left.  After waving good-bye the walk back into the house is different.

I call Brennan “an old friend” the same way millions of others do–someone who walked with me without ever really knowing it.  I only spent three days in his presence, joining with about 20 others at Aqueduct Retreat Center in North Carolina in 2001, where Brennan shared with us from his book, Ruthless Trust.

But about ten feet from where I am writing this I have all his books in a box, so I can get to them ina moment’s notice.  Add to that a few audio tapes, and you have my “Brennan Manning Collection” that guided me as much as any other single Christian has done.

I was drawn to him, as most have been, by his honesty.  For nearly 50 years I have told folks that “spirituality is reality.”  Brennan confirmed that over and over again, including through times that were indescribably painful and disappointing.

His final book summed it up: All is Grace.  And it was…and is.  All based, As Brennan put it, on “God’s furious love”—a love Brennan now enters into fully.

Thanks for a good visit, Brennan, in the home of my heart.  I am going to miss you.  I am going to stand here waving until your car is only a small dot on the horizon of my soul.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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4 Responses to Editorial: Goodbye to an Old Friend

  1. Gary says:

    I was saddened to hear of this news also. Brennan’s writings helped me get through a very rough time, and helped me to see that I just needed to accept God’s full acceptance. A loss always makes me so thankful for the Communion of Saints!

  2. Keith says:

    I was reading Brennan’s book “The Ragamuffin Gospel” when my wife was pregnant with our forth child. I read it because we heard him speak in the middle of a field in Okehampton, England. He had such an impact on my wife and I, when our baby was born we named him David Brennan. He is now 8, I am sure his spirit will live on. RIP Brennan

  3. You (we) have his many great books as his voice that can remain with us. I just lost a wonderful friend and all I have of her voice is her texts messages before she died and her coffee cake given at Christmas time in my freezer. We don’t lose unless we love…..I am grateful for love even if the loss is painful. Thinking of you in your loss.

  4. genesmith12 says:

    I can see him now standing before the throne saying with outstretched arms “Abba, I belong to You!”

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