Quotation of the Week

May all of your expectations be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child
And can sing and dance in the love of God,
Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The Benediction by Brennan Manning via Maurice Broaddus


  1. Does this quote mean you’ve got unresolved issues with Prosperity Jesus :^)?

    I’m good to go with (what I think is) Manning’s deeper meaning, and I’m glad to cut him creative slack, but I wonder if the wording of the actual blessing represents healthy Christian theology or practice in the pursuit of repentance and poverty of spirit.

    Sin defaces God’s creation but God’s handiwork and intentions are still the foundation everywhere in the world.

    I hope we don’t have to lose ‘all’ of our expectations and plans and desires to be ‘poor in spirit.’

    I’d like to think we can affirm many of the desires and hopes of every person and culture. Hard to know how to do mission in a loving and just way without that kind of fundamental affirmation.

  2. Amen to your comment Tom. I don’t think the metaphorical connection of experiencing children’s powerlessness and poverty as leading someone to be able to sing and dance in the love of God!

    And instead of desiring that people’s expectations, plans and desires be frustrated, thrwarted and withered to nothingness, it would be more wonderful to encourage and support that which is already divine within people’s desires – so that they would only be inspired toward the divine all the more…

  3. I like what you both are saying, and there is definitely truth in what both of you are saying! I also acknowledge that there is something in what Manning is saying that does have value as well, in my perspective.

    I don’t feel like he is saying this in a “may this always and ever be the sum total of your life experience” way, but rather in a “may you, in certain times and places, know this depth of disorientation and poverty in your life.” (now, I see his use of the word “all” and of course understand how that can seem totally absurd and offensive; yet somehow I am able to hear it differently, like “may all your desires/plans/whatever fail you in a specific time and place so that you can know yourself as truly poor.”

    And maybe I hear it that way because there have been times in my life when that has been true: when my every hope and dream and expectation felt like it DID come crashing down. And when it did, there was new life to be found that I otherwise would never have known.

    My other thought is, in studying Matthew’s gospel, there is such a priority given to images of being poor, the least, vulnerable, like a child, etc. That is just such an offensive concept for us to grasp, as it was for Jesus’ disciples. And I know for me I like to think of myself as living in a way that these terms are true of me, but then when my life actually looks and feels like them I resist and object and reject them!

    So again, I think the Manning quote just reminded me of that tendency in my own heart, and thought it was a good one to share (not that I only post quotations I absolutely agree with, anyway–the idea is to provoke, so I am glad for the discussion!)

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