I have considered myself a ragamuffin for at least 15 years now. The reason I am "just another" ragamuffin is that there are many of us. And I cannot claim any responsibility for defining what that means. I suppose it was an easy out to pick a blog name that comes from someone else's idea; but I did not start this blog to show how creative and original I am, so I guess I'm good with taking the easy out. I'm just writing about the lessons that God is teaching me and one of those lessons is that I'm very glad that God loves ragamuffins.
So who is responsible for the definition of a ragamuffin that is popular in Christian circles these days? That would be Brennan Manning. You can find out more about him on his webpage here. I did not know who he was when I picked his book The Ragamuffin Gospel out of my book club catalog. I just thought the book sounded like something I could relate to. I'll certainly never be a candidate for identifying with "the Got-It-All Together Gospel" (if anyone ever writes that book).
If you want a well-rounded idea of what a ragamuffin really is, I suggest you read the whole book. First, because it is good. Secondly, because I'm not that great a summarizing. So that you can get at least a beginning understanding of ragamuffins, I will give you an excerpt from the beginning of the book. This comes after the Foreword and before the first chapter.
A Word Before
The Ragamuffin Gospel was written with a specific reading audience in mind.
This book is not for the super-spiritual.
It is not for muscular Christians who have made John Wayne and not Jesus their hero.
It is not for academicians who would imprison Jesus in the ivory tower of exegesis.
It is not for noisy, feel-good folks who manipulate Christianity into a naked appeal to emotion.
It is not for hooded mystics who want magic in their religion.
It is not for Alleluia Christians who live only on the mountaintop and have never visited the valley of desolation.
It is not for the fearless and tearless.
It is not for red-hot zealots who boast with the rich young ruler of the gospels: "All these commandments I have kept from my youth."
It is not for the complacent, hoisting over their shoulder a tote-bag of honors, diplomas, and good works actually believing they have it made.
It is not for legalists who would rather surrender control of their souls to rules than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.
If anyone is still reading along, The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out.
If is for the sorely burdened who are still shifting the heavy suitcase from one hand to the other.
It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don't have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace.
It is for inconsistent, unsteady disciples whose cheese is falling off their cracker.
It is for poor, weak, sinful men and women with hereditary faults and limited talents.
It is for earthen vessels who shuffle along on feet of clay.
It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.
It is for smart people who know they are stupid and honest disciples who admit they are scalawags.
The Ragamuffin Gospel is a book I wrote for myself and anyone who has grown weary and discouraged along the Way.
That is what I know about ragamuffins. I've read the book more than once, but I can say that I have gone back and read that description many times. I have no idea what Brennan Manning would think about what I write here. I just know that God used him as an instrument in my reconciliation with Christ. Ragamuffins really need that reconciliation.
Welcome ragamuffins and other travelers on life's road.