Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: NIV Ragamuffin Bible

Today's post is a review of the "NIV Ragamuffin Bible"  by none other than my best friend Jackie. It's a great review and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Natasha’s house letting her dog out when I noticed she had a Bible I had never seen before in her kitchen. I picked it up glanced at it, put it back down and made a mental note to ask her about it. The Bible was called, “NIV Ragamuffin Bible” with a quote at the bottom that read, “Meditations For The Bedraggled, Beat-Up & Brokenhearted”.

Here’s a little back store on me...about 3 years ago I was introduced to a book called, “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. This book changed my spiritual life in a way no other book has. It rocked my existence in my perceived Christianity on a level I didn’t know existed. This book I speak of wasn’t written for the “super spiritual or “muscular Christians” it was written for the “bedraggled, beat-up & burnt out” which is exactly what I was and to this day still am but on a slightly different level. You see I found a book that mainly focused on God’s grace and love and that didn’t scare the life out of me. Brennan Manning was as fallible as a person could be but even through his abandonment of the priesthood and his constant struggle with alcoholism, he strived to show the world God’s LOVE. This man is conservative by no means. In fact I feel like most people in the conservative church would argue most of his points viciously. Most of you reading this also know that I have a soft spot for addicts and those who can’t fend for themselves. This book was my brother Kenny’s favorite book. I am SO grateful that I was able to read this book while he was still alive so we could have numerous conversations about it. 

Now back to the book I am supposed to be doing the review on (sorry I am long winded). When I asked Natasha about the NIV Bible she said she was supposed to review it and then she got to keep it. She later asked if I would read through it and review it for her so here we are. I basically skipped through the Bible and pulled out different passages that have hit me for specific reasons either in a good way or bad. First of all this reads just like an NIV but each book and chapter have an excerpt from one of Brennan Manning’s books. Me being me I started in Revelation and worked backwards because I am weird and I rarely ever do anything normal. 

Revelation 21 1:4
The Apostle John is describing basically the end of days. He is describing the “New Jerusalem”  coming down out of heaven and God’s dwelling place being amongst his people. Verse 4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”. This is something as a Christian I long for. Brennan’s excerpt about this is, “The deeper we grow in the Spirit of Jesus Christ , the poorer we become – the more we realize that everything in life is a gift. The tenor of our lives becomes one of humble and joyful thanksgiving. Awareness of our poverty and ineptitude causes us to rejoice in the gift of being called out of darkness into the wondrous light”. 

John 13:1-17
Jesus washes his Disciples feet. This in my opinion is one of the most powerful stories in the Bible.  It is Jesus’ way of teaching his Disciples to be humble and recognize we are all equal, that no one person is greater than the next. What is so powerful to me is he does this knowing he is about to be crucified and he sets that reality on the shelf to have a teaching moment with his Disciples.

Brennan, “What a shocking reversal of our culture’s priorities and values! To prefer to be the servant rather than the lord of the household, to merrily taunt the gods of power, prestige, honor and recognition, to refuse to take oneself seriously, to live without gloom by the lackey’s agenda; these are the attitudes and actions that bear the stamp of authentic discipleship. In effect, Jesus said: Blessed are you if you love to be unknown and regarded as nothing. All things being equal, to prefer contempt to honor, to prefer ridicule to praise, to prefer humiliation to glory – those are formulas of greatness in the new Israel of God.”

Jeremiah 29:1-13
My favorite Bible verses of all time is verse 11. “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” While this is my favorite verse I have a love hate relationship with this verse because when times are hard you look at this and think, what is going on?!?!

Brennan, “In most of our lives we have the impression the world has done us considerable harm and comparatively little good. Yet if the Abba of Jesus loves us, if he pursues us as a tremendous Lover who is dying (in his Son) to be with us, then we are committed to the notion that his world, the work of his hands, is out to do us good. 

Let me reiterate this is a normal everyday New International Version of the Bible. It does however have some very humbling and yet at times very in your face excerpts from the many different books written by Brennan Manning. IF you are an extremely conservative Christian this is probably not the Bible for you. IF you are the type of Christian who Jesus himself would probably come sit with at the dinner table because you are pathetically broken and humbly seeking some sort of guidance and peace this Bible is for YOU!! 

Thank you for taking your time to read this. Natasha, thanks for the opportunity to review this and also thank you for letting me keep it!

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