This book is a gem, 145 pages of pure love, trust, gratitude and faith in Jesus. I was struck by how much this book spoke into my life when I read it. It gives you a glimpse of Jesus’ heart and his pure, rentless love towards His people.
This book defines self-hatred as the reason that so many Christian struggle with the constant unrelenting love of Abba. By clearly understanding and grappling with the life and teachings of Jesus we can understand and grapple with the real and true saviour. And then be truly changed and transformed.
In the astonishing chapter entitled ‘Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred’ we see Manning grapple with the experience of Peter (John 21:15-17, Matthew 16:13-20). He argues that the central question of the New Testament Gospel, especially John is ‘Who Do You Say I Am?’ Theologians, evangelists, biblical scholars, preachers and authors all have their own answers but he challenges us with the great truth that these are THEIR answers and we have to find our own answers. He speaks here of Jesus service of others and his love of all-inclusive love. I am struck down by how our understanding of the answer of the question call truly shape of lives and our grace must turn into love and service of others.
‘The unflinching, unwavering love and compassion of Jesus Christ, the stranger to self-hatred, is the ultimate source of our healing and wholeness’ (p.39). Here we see what the followers of Jesus lived in and experienced, Peter transformed the Roman world by preaching from his weakness the power of God.
Christ criterion by which Christ assess his friends and repudiators is still ‘Do you love me?’ (p.40) The story on page 41 o the mother is simply an extraordinary image/analogy of the Jesus that is a centre of the bible. He ends this chapter with an astonishing comment
‘This is a glimpse of Jesus whom I have met over the years of the terrain of my wounded self, the Christ of my interiority. There is a beauty and enchantment about the Nazarene that draws me irresistibly to follow him. He is the Pied Piper to my lonely heart.’
This sums up the heart of the reason for this very book and the whole in my life that I have been searching for, some days I stumble upon on it and other times I left searching for the sweet sound of his pipe.
Another chapter real jumped out at me, the chapter named ‘Healing through Meal-Sharing’ one of the most striking features of Jesus’ ministry [was] the meals he shared with ‘sinners’-that is, outcasts. Pharisees (and others) would not eat with someone who was impure and no decent person would share a meal with an outcast (p.54).
This book overall is a great read, should be read and reflected on by all Christians.