Reruns

Tivo has a wonderful thing called a Season Pass. You can record every instance of a show without having to worry about what time it is, what night it’s on, etc. When you set up a season pass for a show, you can decide whether you want only first run shows, first runs and reruns, or all shows. I always choose the first option — who wants to watch reruns?

And yet, I will re-read a good book over and over. I’ve read Les Misérables a half-dozen times, Into Thin Air at least as many, and LOTR too many to count. Tonight, I got out Ragamuffin Gospel by Brandon Manning again. I only got through four chapters, but was immediately reminded of two things.

First, just from his two page introduction, I was reminded how much I miss Rich Mullins. It’s been fifteen years last September since the Lord welcomed him home, yet his albums, all of them, still have a permanent place on my iPhone. His introduction to the book spoke of a friend wanting him to listen to a Manning tape and Rich not wanting to, and then five minutes later he (Rich) had to pull over because he couldn’t see to drive through his tears. Brutal honesty on both the front-end and back-end of the story. I miss that honesty. I miss his gift of hiding Chesterton and the Apostles Creed in his music. I miss his heart.

Second, I was reminded of how much I love this book. I first read it fifteen years or so ago, and much of it literally took my breath away. You don’t hear a lot of preaching in America on pure grace, or least I didn’t (and don’t). It was shocking to my sensibilities; I felt like a Cowboy fan who just found out their team had won a playoff game. As I read tonight, I hit yellow patch after yellow patch where I had highlighted pieces that spoke to me, that impacted me, that completely messed me up.

As just one example, Manning tells the story of a pastor friend who was conducting a Sunday morning Bible study on Abraham and Isaac’s trip up Mount Moriah. The pastor gave them some background, then asked, “What does this story mean to us?”

A middle-aged man replied, “It means me and my family are looking for a new church.” The pastor wasn’t quite prepared for that answer; “What? Why?” was all he could muster.

“Because,” the man said, “when I look at that God, the God of Abraham, I feel I’m near a real God, not the sort of dignified, businesslike, Rotary Club God we chatter about here on Sunday mornings. Abraham’s God could blow a man to bits, give and then take a child, ask for everything from a person, and then want more. I want to know that God.”

Yes, reruns are a good thing. Sometimes. And I, too, want to know that God.

Sometimes.

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