Book Review: “The Furious Longing of God” by Brennan Manning

A few months ago, a friend, Ronn, handed me this book and said to read it then pass it around to every guy in the high school Bible Department at our school.  With the busyness of life, I am afraid I found many other things to do and read before this book.  That was my loss.  When I finally picked up Furious Longing I could not put it down, and at just over 140 short, simple pages it did not take long to read.  I will be sure to pass it down the line with a hearty encouragement to devour it quickly.

Brennan Manning has lived a hard life.  This former Franciscan priest turned alcoholic turned premier evangelist of radical grace understands the pit of life and loves deeply the God who lifted him from that hell.  Widely read and broadly cultured, Manning writes with erudition and affability.  Stories from his diverse ministry abound.  His entire life has become a testament to the need to become one of the “ragamuffins” he so often writes about and the mission we have to reach out to the “least of these.”  With a message of the Father’s unsurpassed love, he woos people back to the Lover of their souls.

One might not expect to find in Song of Solomon the impetus for a book on divine grace and extravagant service to others, but that is exactly what Manning found in Songs 7:10, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.”  From this verse came the title of the book and the idea that God is seeking all of humanity with a furious love that cannot be extinguished.  A far cry from “cheap grace” pabulum, this vision of the deep love of God becomes the basis for a call to radical love to others in the same measure we have received.  In short chapter after short chapter, I was amazed at how he touched on one foundational Christian idea after another, often with an extreme economy of words.

Manning concludes this way:

Perhaps the gut issue is not how much theology we have studied or how much Scripture we have memorized.  All that really matters is this: Have you experienced the furious longing of God or not?  This very question provoked the brilliant Karl Rahner to prophesy: “In the days ahead, you will either be a mystic (one who has experienced God for real) or nothing at all.”  In times of persecution, theoretical Christianity will collapse. (129)

If you need a short, weekend’s read that will help you move closer to experiencing the incredible love and grace of God, Brennan Manning’s The Furious Longing of God is exactly the book to pick up.  I highly recommend this book for its easy readability and even more so for the emotional impact it will have on the reader.