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The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story

Brennan Manning, Greg Garrett
The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story
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From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jack Chisholm is 'the people's pastor.' He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, 'We h... Read More

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Softcover
Item # 1499746

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From the inspirational author of The Ragamuffin Gospel comes a powerful contemporary retelling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Jack Chisholm is 'the people's pastor.' He leads a devoted and growing megachurch, has several best-selling books, and a memorable slogan, 'We have got to do better.' Jack knows how to preach, and he understands how to chastise people into performing. What he doesn't know is anything about grace. This year, when it comes time for the Christmas sermon, the congregation at Grace Cathedral will look to the pulpit, and Jack will not be there. Of course, they will have seen plenty of him already---on the news.

After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter. But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.'

A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be.

'A wonderfully written story that is as entertaining as it is thought provoking.'---Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • Product type: Book
  • Format: Softcover
  • Release Date: Nov 5, 2013
  • UPC: 9780310339007
  • Height: 0.81
  • Width: 5.59
  • Length: 8.45
  • Volumes/Discs: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Publish Date: Oct 28, 2013
  • Language: English
  • Audience Age Maximum: 0
  • Audience Age Minimum: 0
  • BISAC: "FIC042000"
  • ISBN: 0310339006

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A wonderful story, illustrating grace. by Karen (karencollier.com) on 1/7/2014
Rating

Contemporary Christian fiction.

Jack Chisholm was lead pastor for a megachurch with three campuses and thousands of members. He was a best-selling author and a public figure known by some as "America's pastor." Then some poor decisions he made one night off the coast of Cancun lead him into sin he would not have thought himself capable of. When his actions come to light he is disgraced, and he loses his job and his family. Jack's life is in a tailspin, until his estranged father seeks him out and brings him home. It's in the small town in Texas where he grew up that Jack reconnects with friends and family, learns some important lessons about grace and forgiveness, and discovers that God may not be through with him after all.

I know a lot of people, both Christian and non-Christian, who have misconceptions about what it means to be Christian. I wish those people would read this book. It's that good. Seriously. The story is character driven, based on believable three dimensional "people," primarily Jack, his father, and the local priest called Father Frank. While the take home message of the story will not surprise anyone familiar with Manning's work, it was skillfully woven into the story, seeming to arise naturally from the characters and situations, not tacked on as an afterthought, so it didn't feel intrusive or overbearing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the vivid and out of the box descriptions found in this book. I'm reminded of the way Charles Dickens could paint a memorable secondary character in just a few brush strokes. Here's a particularly vivid example from <em>The Prodigal</em>:

"Carlene Petsch was the city secretary. Carlene had been called 'Petshop' in their youth, if only rarely to her face. It made her cry, got people sent to the office. She had grown into a hard, hefty woman, the kind of <em>hausfrau</em> who could bake an apple pie and then beat you to death with her rolling pin."

The ending of <em>The Prodigal </em> felt a little abrupt to me. I would have liked to see a little more resolution following Jack's moment of epiphany, in a few specific areas that I probably shouldn't mention for fear of spoiling the ending. That said, if you're going to err one way or the other, better to leave us wanting more than to make us beg for it to end. And, much as I wanted more closure, I do think this approach left things hopeful without downplaying the consequences of Jack's actions by tying everything up in a neat little bow. It also left room for speculation on where the story might have gone next had it continued. Which would be great fodder for a book discussion group. All in all, an excellent read, and I would highly recommend it.

I would like to thank the publisher, Zondervan, for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book through NetGalley for my review.


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