cover image The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus

The Importance of Being Foolish: How to Think Like Jesus

Brennan Manning, . . Harper San Francisco, $21.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-06-075165-4

With his now classic book The Ragamuffin Gospel , Manning set a standard for powerful writing and no-holds barred personal candor that even his own subsequent books (Ruthless Trust ; The Wisdom of Tenderness ), however excellent, have not quite matched. Here, Manning offers a fiercely provocative call to arms that exhorts Christians to stop pandering to the things of this world (wealth, power, influence, pleasure) and instead choose to be so "foolish" as to follow Jesus. This book is not for the easily offended, as Manning pulls no punches and does not attempt to soften the radical nature of Jesus' message. He decries superficial faith and hypocrisy, and points to the unfortunate prevalence of the shallow Christianity that Thomas Merton once called "convenient spirituality." In its place, Manning upholds a Christian faith that is simultaneously hard-line about the intransigent demands of the New Testament, yet wrapped in grace and mercy, not judgment and condemnation. Drawing on the Bible (particularly the gospels and the letters of Paul), his own experiences and thinkers like Paul Tillich, Edward Schillebeeckx, Søren Kierkegaard and other heavy hitters, Manning proposes an iconoclastic faith that calls Christians to the dangerous, wild and wonderful abyss of a fully surrendered life. (July)