Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Sinners in the hands of a loving God!

I thoroughly recommend you read this book! Live loved!

Br. Michael

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November 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Feel the Falseness

Feel the Falseness
Brian Zahnd

“The first precondition of being called a spiritual leader is to perceive and feel the falsehood that is prevailing in society, and then to dedicate one’s life to a struggle against that falsehood. If one tolerates the falsehood and resigns oneself to it, one can never become a prophet. If one cannot rise above material life, one cannot even become a citizen in the Kingdom of the Spirit, far less a leader of others.” –Vladimir Solovyov in his eulogy of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Can you feel it?

It’s all around you. But can you feel it? The falseness — the falseness that prevails in society. Most are so sedated they never even suspect it. Some sense it, but cannot name it. It takes a prophet to name it. Dostoevsky in his day was well aware of it, which is why he was so much more than a novelist. Dostoevsky wrote his dark, brooding stories because he felt the falseness. What we take for truth, for reality, for the way things are and the way we assume things must be is almost entirely false. The world as it’s arranged is built upon a foundation of falsehood. The prevailing falseness memorialized in marble and robed in glory can appear indisputable, but as Dylan says, “all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.”

And now I will appeal to someone more authoritative then Dostoevsky or Dylan.

Jesus.

The Galilean prophet had been hauled before Pontius Pilate by the Sanhedrin. Caiaphas, the high priest, accused Jesus of claiming to be a king — a seditious act punishable by crucifixion. Jesus was now to be tried before the Roman governor. The trial was held in Pilate’s praetorium. The marble-adorned palace, the governor’s stately attire, the presence of the imperial seal all produced an atmosphere of authority and grandeur. Jesus was on trial before the Roman Empire. Which is to say Jesus was on trial before the world in all its glory. Jesus had refused that world during the wilderness temptation and now the spurned world was striking back.

Pilate, a man of action, immediately moved to the heart of the matter, asking Jesus the only question that mattered to Rome: “Are you a king?” Jesus answered Pilate, “You say that I am.” But then Jesus added this:

“For this purpose I came into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)

Jesus tells the Roman governor that the purpose of his life is to bear witness to the truth. Jesus knows that the world as it’s arranged (and most gloriously represented in the splendor and majesty of the Roman Empire) is built upon an enormous falsehood. Jesus then says that those who can feel the falseness will be inclined to listen to what he has to say. (“Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”) Jesus claims not only to be a king, but to possess the ultimate truth that exposes the lie that the world has become.

Pilate’s cynical reply is legendary: “What is truth?”

After Jesus is flogged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, Pilate renews his interrogation. But Jesus now remains silent. In frustration the Roman governor shouts, “You won’t speak to me? Don’t you know I have power to release you and power to crucify you?”

There it is.

Pilate has answered his own question. What is truth? Truth is the power to kill. According to Pilate, the truth is that the world is run by those who have power. Military power. Economic power. Religious power. The world is run by people like Governor Pilate, King Herod, and the high priest, Caiaphas. And most of all the world is run by the Emperor. Caesar is Truth. Because it all comes down to power. Power trumps everything.

Caiaphas admits this when he tells Pilate, “we have no king but Caesar.” In this stunning betrayal of all that the Law and the Prophets stood for, Caiaphas takes off his religious mask and says, “Look, Governor, we all play games, and my game is religion. But I know the truth; it’s all about power. So I have no king but Caesar. I admit it. Now, I’m going to put my religious mask back on and go back to pretending that God is king, but you and I both know that the only truth in the world is power.”

That’s the lie.

That’s the falseness that prevails in society.

That’s the deception of the material life.

The great lie is that life is about the acquisition of money and the other forms of power. The lie is that to live well you must be closely aligned with power — especially the power to kill. For Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas, the truth is that the good life is acquired and maintained by the will to power and the means of lethal violence. This is why the governor, the client king, and even the high priest all confess, “we have no king but Caesar.”

But can’t you feel the falseness of it all?

Don’t you know it’s all a lie?

Resist it! Don’t tolerate it! Rise above it!

The meaning of life is not power, the meaning of life is love. God is not Nietzsche’s totalized Will to Power; God is Love. It’s not proximity to power that is the goal of life; the goal of life is love. When we see faith leaders fawning over proximity to political power, don’t we feel the falseness of their faith? Don’t we know they too are confessing, “we have no king but Caesar”?

I feel the falseness. And I’m determined to resist it, to struggle against it.

Jesus is the world’s true king. Right now. Jesus is not going to be king some day, Jesus is King of Kings right now! He was crowned as king on the cross and God vindicated Christ as the world’s true king by raising him from the dead. I believe this. I confess this. I seek to live this.

I have no king but Jesus. And my king has nothing to do with violent power. My king has no use for nuclear weapons. Why? Because you can’t love with hydrogen bombs. My king said his kingdom does not come from the world of war, which is why his servants do not fight. (See John 18:36)

In the kingdom of the Prince of Peace we study war no more; we turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; we turn tanks into tractors and missile silos into grain silos. Our task is not to turn the world into the battlefield; our task is to turn the world into a garden. Our goal is not Armageddon; our goal is New Jerusalem. We’re marching to Zion; the beautiful city of God.

Of course Governor Pilate doesn’t believe this. And neither does billionaire Herod. The faith leader Caiaphas will give some lip service to this, because it’s in the Bible, but the faith leader will kick the can down the road saying, “All that peace stuff is for when the king comes, but for now it’s all about power; for now we have no king but Caesar; for now proximity to power trumps everything.”

They can’t feel the falseness. They are the falseness.

But if you can feel the falseness, that’s good. It means you still have a heart for the truth. So if you feel the falseness, keep listening to the truth that Jesus speaks. Keep believing in the truth that Jesus is. Let Jesus lead you out of the falseness — the falseness of a world built around power. Follow Jesus into his kingdom of love.

The meaning of life is not power. That’s the prevailing falsehood. The meaning of life is love. That’s the eternal truth. Caesar is not the truth. Christ is the truth.

May we have courage to live the truth.

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Giving Birth…Untying Knots

I feel the need to blog again! It has been an interesting journey…and I find myself needing to share some of it with you!

Learning to unlearn is quite a task! I remember reading a book in the 70’s when I was a young seminarian, by the psychologist R D Lang… I think it was just called, ‘Knots’ and it was about the knots inside ourselves..in our mind and psyche that were often old, hard and difficult to undo!  I have come now to see these knots in myself and how the indoctrination of six decades has become an almost an impossible knot to untangle within me! But by the grace of God…I am slowly but surely undoing these knots and I am finding a freedom I had never envisioned!

 

I am thankful for meeting some folk along the way who have shown me a more beautiful Christ like God than I had ever known! Some of theses folk have been Brennan Manning, William Paul Young, Brad Jersak, Brian Zahnd, Matthew Distefano, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, Wayne Jacobsen,  John Paviloviz, Chuck Mcknight, Stephen Daly.  To you and all those who have helped me see the beauty, grace, mercy and furious love of God…I am forever indebted!

Live loved!

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

 

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

God is like Jesus!

God is like Jesus.
God has always been like Jesus.
There has never been a time when God was not like Jesus.
We have not always known what God is like—
But now we do.

Consider these two foundational truths of Christian theology:

1. God is immutable. i.e. God does not change and is not subject to change.

2. God is perfectly revealed in Jesus. i.e. Jesus does not change God, Jesus reveals God.

(see John 1:1, 14-18; 5:19-21; 7:28-29; 8:19; 10:28-30; 12:44-46; 14:7-9)

Understanding that God is immutable and that God like Jesus is essential to our understanding of salvation. We must not think that salvation comes about because Jesus placates God (thus changing God) or that God is obligated to satisfy retributive justice in order to forgive sin (thus making God subordinate to a higher justice). Salvation comes about because Jesus reveals the Father and does the Father’s work. Jesus tells us that the great work of the Father is to give life to the dead (see John 5 and 11). Thus the primary problem the Gospel addresses is not personal guilt (though this is included), but human subjugation to death. If we think judicial guilt is the primary problem of sin, instead of death (and then falsely imagine that God is responsible for killing Jesus instead of sinful humanity!), we greatly misrepresent the nature of salvation and concoct a distorted gospel where Jesus is saving us from God. No! Jesus reveals the Father, does the work of the Father, and saves us from the dominion of sin and death.

The Apostle Paul tells us that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself…not reconciling himself to the world. The cross doesn’t change God (God is immutable). The cross shames the principalities and powers (exposing their claim to wisdom and justice as a naked bid for power) and changes us!

Brian Zahnd

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Prayer for Christin Unity

A prayer for Christian Unity
(Based loosely around a prayer of St. Nicholas of Flue)

My Lord and God,
Take everything from us all that
Tells us we are not united
That keeps an us and them mentality
That keeps us bound in our traditions.

My Lord and God,
Give everything to us that
Helps us see the truth
That in you we are one
And bring us near to each other and so to you.
Break down the walls which we have built and still build
That divide and separates your body.

My Lord and my God,
Take away from us the power and prestige
The offices and titles that we have made
Take away from us our grandiose theologies and man made doctrines
which make us right and others wrong.

My Lord and God
Take away from us the crutch of religious superiority
Break our legs so that we might be humbled.
Shock our hearts that we might live again.
Clear the spiritual arteries clogged with dead piety.
Awaken us out of the narcissistic slumber we have wallowed in too long!

My Lord and God,
Give us new eyes to see you in the poorest weakest creature
Take from us all that hardens us and humble us in your furious love.
Take us from ourselves and
Give us completely to one another
………..And so to you!

Amen

November 19, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity…

Why do we have a ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’? Why just a week…?  Why not a month…or a year of prayer?  Maybe it should be a lifetime of prayer…….?

But I have more questions…! Why do we pray for unity at all?

What separates Christians?  What causes disunity?  Were we ever united?

I do not have answers that satisfy…but I do have questions!

Let me assume that we all believe (‘We’ being Catholic and Protestant, Orthodox and Messianic) that Jesus is God incarnate (come in the flesh, born of the Virgin Mary) and that through him we are again in fellowship with God…not by anything we’ve done or could do..but but grace! That Jesus is the only way to God and through him, with him and in him we are saved! We have the deposit of the Holy Spirit now living in us through a new birth, not of the flesh..but by the Spirit and the water of the new creation! Let’s not get too screwed up here with the words I am using poorly..but let us agree the all who are ‘in Christ’ are united..just as The Father and Son are one…so are all who are in Christ!  The Prayer of Jesus in The Good News of John, chapter 17 speaks about the unity Jesus has with The Father, and about how that same unity is now to be given to the whole world through the Good News..the message his disciples would proclaim..make known…so that the world would believe!

But the world doesn’t believe! Why?

Part of the question I ask is why are Christians seemingly disunited…? Why do we have a week during the year to pray for unity? Why or how, can those in Christ be disunited?

May I be so bold as to tell you what I see the problem is…? It is power and the struggle to hold onto power! It is the understanding that I am right and you are wrong! It is where we claim to have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…yet miss Him, who is the truth!  When we presume to have the answers and that our answer is the correct one..when we create systems and liturgies that separate the Children of God into those who can and those who can’t..those who have and those who don’t…when we create power hierarchies that rule from a power system of top down, rather than following the example of Jesus, and serve from the bottom upwards…we create false divisions in the Body of Christ!

To pray for unity, for me, is a complete misnomer….! If we are going to pray…let it be for repentance..for  a dismantling of power systems, for new humble servant hearts…for strength to stand up and open our hearts and our church buildings..our services..our liturgies and the great Eucharistic feast, at the Lord’s table, to all in Christ!

Let us pray to dismantle the systems of the world that have infected the Body of Christ with its desire for power and celebrity status! Let us stop playing this ‘Week of Prayer for Christian Unity’ game, that allows and conditions us, to annually accept, the segregation of God’s children, in the name of Christ!

Sometimes tables need to be turned over…theses need to be nailed to doors…

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ

12th January 2017

 

 

 

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The stench of some Christians….(A rant from my fingers…)

This morning I was out with one of my Franciscan Sisters and we decided to call into see how a local Christian Community was doing? First mistake! OMG…what we found was a holy huddle who neither greeted us or took time out from their most holy prayer/bible reading…to welcome us! We felt so unwelcome that I was almost physically sick from the stench of their religious piety! If we were complete strangers…heavens knows what would have happened! But we knew most of the folk there, but all were somehow mesmerised into a kind of stupor, that was so indicative of a very controlling spirit! There was no fruit of joy, or love or kindness…no, there was no fruit other than a bitter imitation, which seemed to be devoured by those present! I was reminded of Matthew 10: 40 where Jesus tells us that those who welcome you welcome me…but there was no welcome! And then again in the Good News of Matthew: verses 5 – 6 Jesus reminds us about praying and where to pray… instead of putting on such external shows of sanctimonious piety…we should go into the closet and close the doors so that it is done in secret…(oh.. but what if we are interrupted..?)….I think it is something about loving others and welcoming others and caring for others and feeding others………..!

Well, these Christian really love one another and show it so beautifully, don’t they…!??????? I think I prefer atheists than these stinkers!

Please bring me a bucket…. the stench is disgusting!

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

11th January 2017

January 12, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Something Beautiful

I found this on the internet, by ‘The Thinking Atheist’…..I only wish we had more ‘Thinking Christians’ like this guy! Although he might not like me saying it and many others will not like me saying it….but this guy’s message is more Christlike than so much of the garbage, that is promoted by “Mindless Christians”! Thank you Mr. Atheist…Live loved!

 

October 22, 2016 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Beautiful Gospel – Two Tellings by Brian Zahnd and Brad Jersak

Here are two wonderful presentations of, ‘A Beautiful Gospel’!

Brian Zahnd and Brad Jersak both show through this simple approach/telling, how we Christians have too often made the ‘Good News’ not so good..but then they show/tell it as it is..the greatest news of all!  A Beautiful Gospel indeed!

 

 

October 13, 2016 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Emperors New Clothes

The Emperors New Clothes.

Serving the Church and local community is a great blessing…to see lives transformed, to see people freed from prisons they have been in for years, to see shackles removed so that people are free, to see the hungry fed and the dead brought back to life…this is the grace and mercy of God. I have been privileged with my Franciscan Brothers and Sister to have been part of this ministry and service in Bexhill on Sea, at The Little Portion in St. Barnabas Church.

In 2010 we were invited by Fr. Roger Crosthwaite to set up our ministry within St. Barnabas Church in the town centre. From here we have continually ministered the love of God to the homeless, the lonely and the marginalized. We have seen lives renewed and transformed. We have wept with those who weep and laughed with those who have found joy and peace. We have worked tirelessly and for no reward to bring the Good News to the community and to the transient nomads who pass through the town. Our clothes bank has covered and warmed many who either visited us or were found on the streets by the local Street Pastors. We have prayed with, baptised, and buried a number of souls who came to us seeking solace and wholeness. We have seen healing renewal and restoration of broken lives, feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

 

On Tuesday 20th September I was called by one of the new clergy who have been appointed by the diocese of Chichester to oversee the church that gathers at St. Barnabas. I was asked if I could meet for a coffee and chat.

At the meeting I was told and later given a letter stating what was outlined at the meeting. The Franciscan order of the Companions of Jesus was no longer wanted in the church as we were deemed not to be under any authority and so not accountable.

We were told that:

  1. The Worship area is a fixed space. This means that the Church cannot use this space for other activities. The Church of England does not allow this fixed space unless it has what is called a faculty. The faculty jurisdiction is the Church of England’s regulation of works to church buildings, their contents and churchyards. It ensures that churches are properly cared for, and that whatever is done to them is properly considered beforehand and carried out in the most appropriate way.
  2. Bishop of Chichester has what is called the Cure of Souls and he shares this with his priests. This means all the souls of the parish are in our care and the Bishops authority is given to the priests of the Parish to minister in his name. in other words, I am accountable to him for the ministry in the parish. The problem with your ministry is there is no accountability, as far as I am aware.

We were therefore given four weeks to remove the Little Portion and the Clothes Bank for the homeless and we were to cease to minister in St. Barnabas.

How do I respond to this excommunication…this casting out?

My first reaction is hurt and yet I am not in any way shocked at this pharisaic, narrow minded, bureaucratic stance. But, I see that letting this pass over and just accepting matters as part of life’s strange tapestry would be dishonest….I have some questions that need to be looked at and I dare say answered.

I am a Christian…that is, my life is hidden in Christ..I have the Spirit of the living God living in me and the risen Lord is my friend and the one who called me to follow…and I seek always to serve those I share this earth with..out of love. (Not that I always or in any way come up to the mark!) I am a member of His body, known as, The Church!  The Body of Christ! The Bride of Christ! I am a small but essential part of a body and my role is no less important than those called to other parts/ministries in the body.

The two points raised as reasons for our removal are open to scrutiny and I intend to look briefly at these points.

Beginning with the first point..

I am told that the Worship area is fixed and cannot be used for other activities. What does this mean? The Little Portion was at the side of the church and did not take up space in the sanctuary or in the main part of the church. The little Portion was used to minister healing and prayer to those who were in need. It had been used for this purpose with the full knowledge of the diocese and the Bishop of Chichester, the Bishop of Lewes and the Archdeacon had been in St. Barnabas and seen our work and I was told personally by the Archdeacon that our work was needed and he asked that it would continue. Never once was it ever questioned, nor were we ever told that our work was inappropriate or in breach of any faculty, rules or regulations. You would think that one of the Bishops or the Archdeacon would have said something…..? It would also seem rather strange that the area can be used for craft fares and other activities…but when it comes to the ministry of the gospel and the healing or cure of souls…it is out of bounds!

As to the second part of the objections…The Cure of Souls!?

If our presence was allowed for the six years with the full knowledge of the Bishop, local ordinary and Archdeacon…you have to ask how did this accountability somehow pass their scrutiny?

No!  This is purely the religious nonsense and hypocrisy of those who have control issues and are as far from the kingdom as the earth is from the sun!

As a Franciscan Order and Community, the Companions of Jesus are looked on by many in the institutional churches as being outside of the box…and this is what we are! We do not fit into the controlling, manipulative and domineering control of theses wonderful servants of God…whatever god that is…and I for one am delighted that we are and ever will be..not part of that game!

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

Servant of communion

Companions of Jesusimg_0170

September 21, 2016 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments