A Stirring Invitation to Accept God's Unfathomable Tenderness
This testament to God's tenderness is a modern-day epistle to churches, though its core message is sometimes obscured by the author's personal issues with the institution. Manning, a retreat leader and author who married after leaving a religious community in which he had been a priest, is openly critical of churches and leaders that have failed to reflect and transmit the tenderness of God. Because of this, his words can be harsh, perhaps by prophetic necessity, but this tone sometimes detracts from the tenderness of which he speaks. Manning came to write on the subject when, after an extended time of silence spent in the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania, he heard a single phrase in his head and heart: "Live in the wisdom of accepted tenderness." In elaborating on this inner directive, he draws on a wide range of sources, including Daniel Berrigan, Ken Keyes and C.S. Lewis, giving his work an ecumenical flavor. He is most effective, however, when he uses his own life as illustration, relating how alcoholism made him keenly aware of God's tenderness and mercy. Manning writes for the individual and the institution, and both will benefit from listening to his words. Especially those who long to hear more about divine mercy from the pulpit and see it reflected in their leaders and institutions will welcome his brief treatise.