A Glimpse of Jesus

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-08-21
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications
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Following his work on the unconditional love of God in "The Wisdom of Tenderness," bestselling Christian writer Manning now turns to the life and work of Jesus to find an answer to the pressing spiritual problem of self-hatred.

Author Biography

Brennan Manning is the best-selling author of eleven books. He leads spiritual retreats in the United States and Europe for people of all ages and backgrounds

Table of Contents

Foreword ix
Acknowledgments xi
Afterword 143


A Glimpse of Jesus
The Stranger to Self-Hatred

Chapter One

A Script for Self-Hatred

Repetitio est mater studiorum, goes the old Latin proverb.Since repetition is the mother of study, I begin thisbook with a story previously cited in my 1994 work, Abba'sChild.

If repression was the predominant defense mechanism ofthe past century, projection takes pride of place today. And sowe turn to Flannery O'Connor's short story "The Turkey."The anti-hero and principal protagonist is a little boy namedRuller. He has a poor self-image because nothing he turns hishand to ever seems to work.

One night in bed Ruller overhears his parents analyzinghim. "Ruller's an unusual one," his father says. "Why does healways play by himself?" His mother answers, "How am I toknow?"

One day in the woods Ruller spots a wild and woundedturkey and sets off in hot pursuit. "Oh, if only I can catch it,"he cries. He will catch it, even if he has to run it out of state.He sees himself triumphantly marching through the front door of his house with the turkey slung over his shoulder andthe whole family screaming, "Look at Ruller with that wildturkey! Ruller, where did you get that turkey?"

"Oh, I caught it in the woods. Maybe you would like me tocatch you one sometime."

But then a troubling thought flashes across his mind: "Godwill probably make me chase that damn turkey all afternoonfor nothing." Hmmn, shouldn't think that way about Godthough; yet that was the way he felt. If that was the way hefelt, could he help it? He wondered if he was unusual.

Ruller finally captures the turkey when it rolls over dead froma previous gunshot wound. He hoists it on his shoulders andbegins his messianic march back through the center of town. Heremembers the things he had thought before he got the bird.They were pretty bad, he guesses. He figures God had stoppedhim before it was too late. He should be very thankful.

"Thank you, God," he says. "Much obliged to you. Thisturkey must weigh ten pounds. You were mighty generous."

Maybe getting the turkey was a sign, he thinks. MaybeGod wanted him to be a preacher. He thinks of Bing Crosbyand Spencer Tracy.

Ruller enters town with the turkey slung over his shoulder.He wants to do something for God, but he doesn't know whatto do. If anybody was playing the accordion on the streettoday, he would give that musician his dime. It was the onlydime he had, but he would give it to them anyway.

Two men approach and whistle at the turkey. They yell atsome other men on the corner to look. "How much do youthink it weighs?" they ask.

"At least ten pounds," Ruller answers.

"How long did you chase it?"

"About an hour," says Ruller.

"That's really amazing. You must be very tired."

"No, but I have to go," Ruller replies. "I'm in a hurry." Hecan't wait to get home.

He begins to wish that he would see somebody begging.Suddenly he prays, "Lord, send me a beggar. Send me onebefore I get home." God had put the turkey there. SurelyGod will send him a beggar. He knows for a fact that Godwill send him one. God is interested in him because he is anunusual child.

"Please, one right now" -- and the minute he says it, an oldbeggar woman heads straight at him. His heart is stomping upand down in his chest. As they near each other, Ruller springsat the woman, shouting, "Here, here," thrusts the dime intoher hand, and dashes on without looking back.

Slowly his heart calms and he begins to feel full of a newfeeling -- like being happy and embarrassed at the same time.Maybe, he thinks, he will give all his money to her. He feelsas if the ground doesn't need to be under him any longer.

Ruller notices a group of country boys shuffling behindhim. He turns round and asks generously, "Y'all wanna see thisturkey?"

They stare at him. "Where did ya git that turkey?"

"I found it in the woods. I chased it dead. See, it's been shotunder the wing."

"Lemme see it," one boy says. Ruller hands him the turkey.The turkey's head flies into Ruller's face as the country boy slings it up in the air and over his own shoulder and turns.The others turn with him and saunter away.

They are a quarter-mile away before Ruller moves. Finallyhe realizes that he can't even see the boys anymore, they wereso far away. Then he turns toward home, almost creeping.

He walks for a bit and then, noticing it is dark, suddenlybegins to run. O'Connor's exquisite tale ends with the words:"He ran faster and faster, and as he turned up the road to hishouse, his heart was running as fast as his legs and he was certainthat Something Awful was tearing behind him with itsarms rigid and its fingers ready to clutch."

The story hardly needs any commentary, for in little Rullermany of us Christians stand revealed, naked, exposed. OurGod is the One who benevolently gives turkeys and thencapriciously takes them away. When he gives them, they are asign of his interest, favor, and good pleasure with us. We feelcomfortably close to God and are spurred to the heights ofgenerosity. When he takes them away, it is a sign of his displeasure,rejection, and vengeance. We feel cast off by God.He is fickle, unpredictable, and whimsical. He builds us uponly to let us down. He relentlessly remembers our past sinsand vindictively retaliates by snatching the turkeys of goodhealth, wealth, inner peace, empire, success, and joy ...

A Glimpse of Jesus
The Stranger to Self-Hatred
. Copyright © by Brennan Manning. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred by Brennan Manning
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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