Ragamuffin Christians rarely quite fit into a mold, and defy accurate or definitive description.
If found to be in an enclosed environment crowded with celebratants or otherwise social minded people, the Ragamuffin slowly — or not so slowly — diminishes in size to that of a newt in a valley of colossus Nephilim. However, when they are able to find their own element within a solitary thimble, their inward stature grows such that they are able to stretch beyond the universe and explore eternity. This is, of course, hyperbole — and at the same time it’s not. The Ragamuffin know their limitations, but at times break them. Their greatest intellectualism is that they know God and know they are not Him.
If I had not been so slow I would have said it first.
But Brennan Manning said it first here:
From ‘Ragamuffin Gospel’
“When I get honest, I admit I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games. Aristotle said I am a rational animal; I say I am an angel with an incredible capacity for beer.
To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark. In admitting my shadow side I learn who I am and what God’s grace means. As Thomas Merton put it, “A saint is not someone who is good but who experiences the goodness of God.”
The gospel of grace nullifies our adulation of televangelists, charismatic superstars, and local church heroes. It obliterates the two-class citizenship theory operative in many American churches. For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift. All that is good is ours not by right but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God. While there is much we may have earned–our degree and our salary, our home and garden, a Miller Lite and a good night’s sleep–all this is possible only because we have been given so much: life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love. We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh. We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt. This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer. Even our fidelity is a gift, “If we but turn to God,” said St. Augustine, “that itself is a gift of God.”
My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” Brennan Manning (April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013)
Ragamuffin Christians don’t do it perfect, but we are unwavering in our love for Jesus Christ.
Ragamuffins OT and NT: By Faith
Hebrews Chapter Eleven: 32-40
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon,Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[a] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Not Heroes — Ragamuffins, All — Living Faith in Christ, the Giver of faith.