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Manning, the Catholic-priest-turned-itinerant-evangelist who penned The Ragamuffin Gospel, perceptively addresses the intricacies of trusting God, arguing that to trust in God is to bring God joy. He distinguishes this from intellectual assent to Christian teachings and proposes that when Christians add hopeÄthe belief that God will do them goodÄto faith, then they trust. He acknowledges the problems of evil and pain that make trust difficult, but calls readers to trust God despite these circumstances. The God in whom Manning urges trust is both transcendent in glory and immanent in Christ. Manning suggests that gratitude is the prerequisite to trust, and grateful trust becomes the antidote to both self-flagellation and self-pity. Because the trust he proclaims is so complete, so perfect, Manning calls it "ruthless." The term ragamuffin, made famous in his earlier title, refers to the brokenness and spiritual poverty of people who need God. Although the titular word threatens a too-precious approach, Manning is in fact intellectually strenuous, and the book highly readable; he tells stories and draws upon religious writers from medieval saints down to such present-day authors as Philip Yancey, Dallas Willard, Frederick Buechner and Richard Foster. (Foster provides the foreword.) Fans of those authors should also appreciate Manning's work, finding his call to ruthless trust both commanding and challenging. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.