Monday, February 1, 2010

"Patched Together" by Brennan Manning Disappointed Me

Although "The Ragamuffin Gospel" had been on my "to be read" book for a long time, this was my first Brennan Manning book. My expectations were very high based on all I've heard about The Ragamuffin Gospel and, as a result, I was somewhat disappointed. (My disappointment increased after I started reading Ragamuffin Gospel.)  I would not recommend this unless you just want to read all of his books.

This "new" book is not entirely new. The first and sections previously were published as separate books about the story of Willie Juan. "Morning" is from his earlier out-of-print book "The Boy Who Cried Abba: A Parable of Trust and Acceptance" and is the story of a scarred and nearly friendless young boy who meets the Medicine Man aka the Man of Sorrows (Jesus) and learns about Abba's love. In "Noon," previously published as "The Journey of the Prodigal: A Parable of Sin and Redemption", Willie Juan is an adult who experiences fame, fortune, love, loss, and grief and forgets the Medicine Man but at the end re-experiences the love. The last section, "Twilight," is new for this book and completes the story of Willie Juan. The new part was the most difficult part for me to appreciate, partly because a miraculous event in the story was too distracting for me to find the parable meaning application.

I think there are a couple reasons why this book was disappointing. The first is that it is very much autobiographical to the author and that made it feel less applicable to me. Also, I often didn't understand the parable meaning of specific parts of the story. I don't know if the failure was in me or in the writing, but I didn't have an emotional or spiritual connection to the book except in a few places.  That being said, there are some lovely parts in the book, about God's love and forgiveness. I don't think this book will become as important as Ragamuffin Gospel but there are many people who will read it and remember how much God loves them and that will be a good thing.

After I read this book, I went back and started "The Ragamuffin Gospel."  Now I understand why people make such a big deal about Brennan Manning.  I'm not quite done with it, but now that I've read a good bit of it, I find "Patched Together" even more lacking.  I'll write about Ragamuffin Gospel when I'm done with it, but for now if you only read one Brennan Manning book, it should definitely be Ragamuffin Gospel.

I received Patched Together free from Amazon under the Vine review program.

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