Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Review: "The Prodigal" by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett

"The Prodigal:  A Ragamuffin Story" by Brennan Manning and Greg Garrett is Manning's final work. A fictional companion to his previous work, "The Ragamuffin Gospel", this novel is a contemporary retelling to the story of the prodigal son featured in Luke 15. Jack Chisholm is the lead pastor of a megachurch who spectacularly and very publicly falls from grace. With his marriage in shambles, his job gone, and no money left to his name, his estranged father tracks him down and welcomes him back home with open arms. Jack heads home to the small town of Mayfield, Texas, in order to pick up the pieces of his life. What he unexpectedly finds is the love of his father, reconciliation with his family, and the love of God.

The story draws the reader right in from the beginning. The characters are realistic and engaging. Father Frank is based on Manning himself, and there are elements of Manning's teachings shining through in Frank's dialogue. It's a wonderful reminder of how we all are broken, we are all needy, and yet God's love extends to us in the midst of our brokenness. It's a beautiful story with many thought-provoking moments. It left me wanting to sit down with Father Frank myself and learning from his fountain of wisdom!

The beautiful thing about this book is that Jack still had to live with the consequences of his choices, his sin. But he did find redemption and he embraced new calling on his life, one that he wouldn't have found any other way but through his sin. "...in every faithful life, there comes a second call when the first one is no longer sufficient, a call to deeper faith, hope, joy" (p. 170).

The reader's guide at the back of the book is helpful for a small group or book club looking to dive deeper into the message of the book. Highly recommend Manning's final work!

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

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