Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Prodigal

by Brennan Manning & Greg Garrett
Thomas Nelson Publishers

From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jack Chisholm is 'the people's pastor.' He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, 'We have got to do better.' Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn't know is anything about grace. 

This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news. After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter. But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.' 

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be. 

'A wonderfully written story that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.' ---Publishers Weekly, starred review '. . . the consummate final tale. What they have created is the Ragamuffin at his best, full of hope, full of love, and finally, full of belief in the goodness of God.' ---Phyllis Tickle, founding editor, Religion Department, Publishers Weekly 'Brennan Manning's last work continues the powerful message of grace and forgiveness that has transformed so many lives. The Prodigal will transform you too.' ---Mark Batterson, New York Times best-selling author of The Circle Maker.

My Review:

This book is sin and grace at it's best. When Jack has everything he could ever ask for, he throws it all away for a night that will destroy everything he's built. His life, his ambitions, and all his dreams lay waste at the feet of lasciviousness and revelry, and there is nothing he can do to take it back. When his wife leaves him, Jack is at the precipice of disaster, and he can do nothing but drink himself into oblivion. 

My favorite part of this book is that moment when Jack realizes who he was and what he has become. That pivotal moment when he saw himself as he truly was, was the moment that grace could become a reality to him and not just words from the pulpit. It can be so difficult to reconcile the past and the future, especially when you feel as if there is no way to move forward. But God offers a hand of redemption to anyone who asks for it, and this novel clearly shines a light in the darkness of the human condition and offers the solution for all the ills of humanity. No matter what your past or current situation, the writing contained herein will touch your heart with the profound reality of God's love and mercy. We are all promised Immortality. Which future will you choose? 

This book was provided by the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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