Brennan Manning is an ex-Franciscan priest who is author of 11 books including A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred. In this updated and revised version of a book first published in 1976, he challenges Christians to walk in the path of Jesus of Nazareth. Manning spent two years with a Christian community called the Little Brothers of Jesus who live among the poor and work as manual laborers. This experience convinced him that "the compulsion of love" is far more important than the values that the world holds up as significant: namely pleasure, security, and power.
Manning states that our yearning for security is mainly a matter of emotional programming. We convince ourselves that our needs must be satisfied or else we will feel insecure. When things do not turn out as we expect, we become frustrated, angry, bitter, anxious, and resentful. He gives an example: "Say you meet me on the street and tell me you found this book to be a complete waste of your time and money. Your criticism triggers my inside programming, and I sink into a swamp of sadness, self-pity, and depression. Reality has not lived up to my expectations. I anticipated at least constructive criticism, possibly appreciation, and maybe even praise. But you are not the one who has destroyed my inner equilibrium. I did that. Inordinately attached to my preconception of what I need to feel secure (in this case, your approval) and willfully convinced of the way the world should be run, I have needlessly deprived myself of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the abundant life that Jesus promised."
Soren Kierkegaard, the father of Christian existentialism, wrote about two types of Christians: those who imitate Jesus Christ and those who are content just to admire him. Manning wants us to be the former. This will require eschewing the standards of the world and walking in Jesus' path of foolishness putting others first, forgiving again and again, and living by love. Francis of Assisi was called by his contemporaries "the most perfect image of Christ that ever was." Sadly, we have put both Jesus and St. Francis on pedestals instead of walking in their shoes.