The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story
By Greg Garrett and Brennan Manning
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. 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.
Themes: Loss and redemption, brokenness, financial despair, estrangement
Locations: Grace Cathedral, Seattle, WA; Mayfield, TX, Boston, MA
Jack Chisholm: pastor of Grace Cathedral, estranged from his wife, involved in a church scandal
Tom Chisholm: Jack’s estranged father
Dany Pierce: a young priest who Jack mentored
Tracy Chisholm: Jack’s estranged wife
Alison Chisholm: Jack’s 8-year-old daughter
Sally Ramirez: Jack’s personal assistant with whom Jack had an affair
Mary: Jack’s sister
Greg Garrett is one of America’s leading voices on religion and culture. He is the author or co-author of over twenty books of fiction, theology, cultural criticism, and spiritual autobiography. His most recent books are The Prodigal, written with Brennan Manning, Entertaining Judgment: the Afterlife in Popular Imagination, and My Church Is Not Dying: Episcopalians in the 21st Century. A contributor to Patheos since 2010, Greg also writes for the Huffington Post, Salon.com, OnFaith, The Tablet, Reform, and other web and print publications in the US and UK.
Brennan Manning was a writer and speaker who lead spiritual retreats for people of all ages and backgrounds. He authored more than ten books, including Abba’s Child, Ruthless Trust, The Ragamuffin Gospel, and Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes.