A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred

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Overview

Following his work on the unconditional love of God in The Wisdom of Tenderness, bestselling Christian writer Brennan Manning now turns to the life and work of Jesus to find an answer to what he believes is the most pressing spiritual problem of our age: self-hatred. The damage caused by this problem is immense. We project it onto God, believing God could never love us because we are unlovable, or we expect an unattainable perfection of ourselves and are left drowning in shame. But Manning warns us that we can't ...
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A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred

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Overview

Following his work on the unconditional love of God in The Wisdom of Tenderness, bestselling Christian writer Brennan Manning now turns to the life and work of Jesus to find an answer to what he believes is the most pressing spiritual problem of our age: self-hatred. The damage caused by this problem is immense. We project it onto God, believing God could never love us because we are unlovable, or we expect an unattainable perfection of ourselves and are left drowning in shame. But Manning warns us that we can't look to ourselves if we want to understand God's love: "The Love of the Father for his children plunges us into mystery, because it is utterly beyond the pale of human experience."

The answer to the problem of self-hatred is better understood when we look to the life of Jesus to illuminate the mystery of God's love and compassion. Manning shows us that our persistent self-hatred is rooted in a "script" founded in a faulty understanding of the nature of divine love and a lack of clear understanding of the person and message of Jesus. "In the eyes of the Master whom we have failed, we detect the infinite compassion of the Father and see revealed, in Jesus, the human face of God," he writes. In bringing us a clearer glimpse of Jesus, he helps us to rewrite this script of self-hatred by patterning our lives after the examples of Jesus on earth: his healing work, stories of deliverance, liberating prayer, integrity of self-acceptance, and all-encompassing compassion. Manning also takes us beyond the personal predicament of self-hatred, asking, "What would the church be like if we erred from an excess of compassion rather than from a stingy and legalistic lack of it?"

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Self-hatred, low self-esteem, unhealthy guilt and self-pity, according to the author, pose the single largest obstacles in today's world to discovering the love of God in Jesus. In this compelling sequel to The Wisdom of Tenderness, former Franciscan priest Manning (The Ragamuffin Gospel) offers insights into ways that Christians can overcome self-hatred, accept themselves for who they are, and recognize that Jesus loves and values them. According to Manning, the church perpetuates feelings of unworthiness by projecting onto God the image of a punishing father who does not love his children. In addition, by requiring a perfect obedience to the letter of the moral law, the church forms people into Christians who internalize failure and despise themselves when they cannot live up to the church's high moral standards. This self-hatred can be overcome, Manning writes, by a glimpse of Jesus, the "Savior of boundless compassion, unbearable forgiveness, infinite patience and healing love." Such a glimpse of Jesus comes through prayer and silent meditation. Once Christians realize that Jesus accepts them for themselves, they are liberated from self-hatred and are free to love others with the same compassion God has shown them. Manning sharply criticizes evangelists, preachers and priests who induce feelings of self-hatred, and urges Christians to cast their eyes upon Jesus, embracing his love and acceptance. Manning's book offers a radical portrait of discipleship for the modern church. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booklist
“Manning does a good job of pointing Christians in the right direction by giving a glimpse of Jesus’ love.”
CCM Magazinen (Editor's Pick)
“Manning effectively leads readers on a journey of understanding and overcoming self-hatred.”
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
“The author’s obvious integrity, honesty and sincerity are as convincing as his arguments.”
Philip Gulley
“What a wonderful antidote to all the evil done in the name of Jesus.”
John Ortberg
“...Scorchingly prophetic, breathtakingly transparent, and extravagantly tender. I’m glad I got to learn from him.”
Bill Hybels
“The single chapter on ‘Healing Through Meal Sharing’ was worth the price of the book.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060000691
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/7/2003
  • Edition description: FIRST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Brennan Manning is the bestselling author of many books, including The Ragamuffin Gospel and Ruthless Trust. He leads spiritual retreats in the United States and Europe for people of all ages and backgrounds.

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First Chapter

Chapter One

The Script for Self-Hatred

Repetitio est mater studiorum, goes the old Latin proverb.

Since repetition is the mother of study, I begin this book with a story previously cited in my 1994 work, Abba's Child.

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

One night in bed Ruller overhears his parents analyzing him. "Ruller's an unusual one," his father says. "Why does he always play by himself?" His mother answers, "How am I to know?"

One day in the woods Ruller spots a wild and wounded turkey 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 and the whole family screaming, "Look at Ruller with that wild turkey! Ruller, where did you get that turkey?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two men approach and whistle at the turkey. They yell at some other men on the corner to look. "How much do you think 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."

He can'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 one before I get home." God had put the turkey there. Surely God will send him a beggar. He knows for a fact that God will send him one. God is interested in him because he is an unusual child.

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

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

Ruller notices a group of country boys shuffling behind him. He turns round and asks generously, "Y'all wanna see this turkey?"

They stare at him. "Where did ya git that turkey?" "I found it in the woods. I chased it dead. See, it's been shot under 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. Finally he realizes that he can't even see the boys anymore, they were so far away. Then he turns toward home, almost creeping.

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

The story hardly needs any commentary, for in little Ruller many of us Christians stand revealed, naked, exposed. Our God is the One who benevolently gives turkeys and then capriciously takes them away. When he gives them, they are a sign of his interest, favor, and good pleasure with us. We feel comfortably close to God and are spurred to the heights of generosity. 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 up only to let us down. He relentlessly remembers our past sins and vindictively retaliates by snatching the turkeys of good health, wealth, inner peace, empire, success, and joy.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 30, 2009

    This man's journey can be yours!

    Who doesn't want to change their life? Brennan Manning's look into Jesus' life and how it relates to all of us, brings new hope to the pilgrim's journey to a better, God inspired life. By using his own roller coaster life experiences, he brings hope and comfort that if we, too, follow the Master, our lives will be forever changed for the better, now and for eternity!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted March 20, 2012

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