Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Abba's Child


I finally picked up Abba's Child by Brennan Manning. My pastor has been telling me for years that I need to read this. He was right. It's a great read.

In the book, Manning asks the question "Is an imposter robbing you of God's love?". As you read the book, you find the "imposter" in question is not a little red devil with a pitchfork. The imposter is the mask we all create to cover who we really are; the person we want nobody to see for fear of being exposed. Who is that person? The REAL you, beaten up by life's many twist and turns. The person who decided at some point could not be good enough for anyone; let alone a loving God. Manning challenges the reader to remove the mask; to destroy the imposter. Until we do, we cannot experience God's love to the fullest.

This book is a great read, and I highly recommend it. Too many books today are "self-help" books, prescribing steps or methods to live a better life. This book goes right to the heart of the problem; the battered heart, and the masks of our own design we use to cover it.

4 comments:

W Sofield said...

I've picked this one up a few times, but haven't read it yet. Your post will help me get into it, I think. It sounds like the kind of thing I'd really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

What?

In February 1956, while Brennan was meditating on the Stations of the Cross, a powerful experience of the personal love of Jesus Christ sealed the call of God on his life. “At that
moment,” he later recalled, “the entire Christian life became for me an intimate, heartfelt relationship with Jesus.” — Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child, p. 32

In the summer of 1992 I took a significant step on my inward journey. For twenty days I lived in a remote cabin in the Colorado Rockies and made a retreat, combining therapy, silence, and solitude. Early each morning I met with a psychologist who guided me in awakening repressed memories and feelings from childhood. The remainder of each day I spent alone in the cabin without television, radio, or reading material of any kind.
As the days passed, I realized that I had not been able to feel anything since I was eight years old. A traumatic experience at that time shut down my memory for the next nine years and my feelings for the next five decades.
When I was eight, the impostor, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The impostor within whispered, “Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody
likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.” — Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child, p. 32

Marquito said...

I take it this is a question regarding what Manning is saying here. I actually just read through this chapter this week. My question for you is, what is your question?

Is it regarding "weirdness"? Is it regarding something that is not Biblical? If someone wants to meditate on "the stations of the cross", and it leads them to a better understanding of their relationship with Christ, I'm not so sure I see the problem with that. Personally, that wouldn't be my way, but you may find my way weirder. Rather than go to a cabin in the Rockies, maybe Manning should have stayed in his house and read through a few verses from the Gospel of John, said a 2 minute prayer, and gotten in his car and gone to work? Sounds a lot like my life most days, and I can tell you that I long for retreat moments when I can get out and spend an extended period of time in solitude, in order to hear more clearly the voice of God.

But, I guess that's too weird. That would be like walking out into the wilderness for 40 days and fasting or something! Insane, isn't it?

Is fasting wrong? Is seeking counsel wrong? Is meditating on God's word wrong? Or are these simply different ways of drawing closer to God? Are they dangerous? To who?

"When I was eight, the impostor, or false self, was born as a defense against pain. The impostor within whispered, “Brennan, don’t ever be your real self anymore because nobody
likes you as you are. Invent a new self that everybody will admire and nobody will know.”

THAT is the key quote in what you quoted from Manning. THAT is what his purpose in writing that statement was. NOT the fact that he sought solitude, or proffessional counsel. Not the fact that he went to a cabin in the Rockies, and made a retreat (though again, I don't see what's wrong with that). But the fact that we all have created a mask, or persona to hide who we really are, because in reality, we are not happy with who we are and cannot understand -- not really -- that God actually loves us.

I am always seeking and longing for time alone with God. Nobody else, just He and I. Unfortunately, in our current culture, we are told God is found only through mundane prayers, reading the Bible, going to church, reading the latest how-to book on purpose, or listening to "Christian" music. God forbid we should seek solitude or contemplate God's word (don't say "contemplate", we prefer "study"... it's less mystical sounding, and involves less emotion and exposure of self).

I'm going to finish reading Abba's Child. As with every book I read, I'll take the good, and forget the innocuous. So far, I like the book.

Anonymous said...

Hey, can’t we all just get along? I just bought my own cabin in Rockies… I’m getting for the ‘Rapture’!!! In all seriousness… Maybe this experience should have been featured in a National Geographic issue or an Outdoor World, etc. “How to live in a cabin for 20 days and get therapy at the same time” or something… just one question for Manning… what therapist would go meet him every day at a Cabin in the Rockies for 20 consecutive days? And how much was he paying him? Not shutting Mr. Manning down or anything, but this whole ordeal it is just a bit too… mysterious.

I totally agree with solitude, meditation, contemplation, prayer and all of that deal. I need more of that as well. I can totally relate with wearing ‘masks’ I have my own personal collection, we all wear them from time to time, and if you say you don’t you’re a liar.

Good quote by Marquito:
But the fact that we all have created a mask, or persona to hide who we really are, because in reality, we are not happy with who we are and cannot understand -- not really -- that God actually loves us.

The truth is… It is hard to be REAL; it is hard to be real with ourselves and strangely enough with God as well.

See you all in the Rockies!

- Y-O!