All is Grace – A Sort of Review

“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy I cannot find in my own, and he keeps his fire burning to melt this heart of stone. Keeps me aching with a yearning, keeps me glad to have been caught in the reckless raging fury that they call the love of God.”

~Rich Mullins

Love–that wretched four letter word.   It is malleable, unwieldy, and shifty. It is incalculably broad, mercifully wide. It is not mathematical, less than systematic, logically anomolaic. Love finds room for the unrepentant and regenerated alike. Love is not fair. Love is not an affair. It is wholly other.

I’ve watched proper theology work itself out in many kinds of impropriety. A kid, a really smart one, pushed against the lover metaphors in Hosea and Soloman’s Song with such formulaic vehemence. Removing the reckless relational love from whores and brides alike kept God a bit more understandable. A bit more at arm’s length.  It was theology for the theoretical.

Sinners have seen this logarithmic God too, right? They have stopped coming as they are. In fact, they have stopped coming at all. “It’s okay,” the theologians say, “no one seeks God, after all.” No not one. And so, losses have been excused due to proper theology.


What if God’s love recklessly seeks the broken, the ones with terrible theology. What if God cares first about the soul, about lost coins?  What if Jesus meant what he said about dogs and vipers.

These are the thoughts spurred by All is Grace, the memoir of Brennan Manning, coauthored by John Blase.


*P.S. my auto correct always tries to change Blase to Blasé. Just thought I’d mention that.

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19 Responses to All is Grace – A Sort of Review

  1. A.J.Neufeld says:

    How about this, Mr. Haines – my first blog comment ever is on your post. You lucky dog! Just wanted to say, Amen! Those are two of my favorites, Rich and Brennan. Thanks for the endosrement! It’s now at the top of my list. My favorite Manning line that I first read in ruthless trust, I think it was, “…just as you are and not as you should be.”

    Let’s get together soon, please!

  2. Glynn says:

    You convinced me, Seth – I’m buying the book.

  3. First thing I read this morning and it rolled like a devotional. I’ve watched that video a dozen times or more since the last time you posted it, and shared it with many. The book is on my Amazon wish list. Can’t wait until it’s in my hands.

    I’m reading Brennan’s “Abba’s Child” for the first time and wondering why it took me so long.

    Good stuff this morning, Seth.

    • sethhaines says:

      Thanks E. I think you’ll find that this memoir puts FLESH on the bones his other books. Watching the theology work itself out through Manning’s unashamed narrative brings a deeper level of understanding. It’s legit.

  4. Okay, okay – it’s on the one-click list. Wow. Love the video, love your words, love the Mullins quote. Great way to start the day – thank you.

  5. hamster says:

    That video nearly broke me. I did not realize Manning was so weathered. I can say with all certainty and zero ounce of hyperbole that A RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL was the worst and best thing that ever happened to me as a Christian. It was the worst thing ever because it presented the Gospel in a way I had never been taught, and that scared me to a degree that I responded to in rebellion. It was the best thing ever because of the same reason, and when I returned to the faith I returned to the vision Brennan presented: God as Father, neverending Forgiver, endless Mercy. After reading Manning, God could never be the Great Secretary in the sky counting off my work orders and jotting down demerits – that’s how the church taught me to view God all my life. Praise God for a different vision. I owe a great deal of who I am now before God and man to Brennan Manning. Bless him.

    • sethhaines says:


      This is a book for those w great aficion… For the bullfighters who were gored in the process and respect the fellow gored.

      You know what I’m saying here, yes?

  6. J. Ray says:

    Did you really use the word “ninnyhammers”?

  7. Autocorrect is the invention of ninnyhammers, plain and simple.

    Thank you for your review, Seth…and in a very real way, Brennan thanks you as well.

    • sethhaines says:

      Thank’e, John. I don’t think I’m done here with this book. I think there is more to contemplate before a proper review works itself out. I’m going to sit with this one for a while.

      Thanks to you and the Man for offering this memoir. It felt real honest. And yes, I meant it to grammaticize that way.

  8. Carolyn says:

    I’m so behind on my blog reading. I’m glad it is just bits and bytes. If it were stacks of papers I would be buried beneath it.

    My thought was also, “Did Seth really just say ninnyhammers?” Gotta love it.

  9. Carolyn says:

    Okay, what song is playing in the background of the video?

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