Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Let Yourself Be Useless! – Thought for the Day

Let Yourself Be Useless!

Prayer is not a way of being busy with God instead of with people. In fact, it unmasks the illusion of busyness, usefulness, and indispensability. It is a way of being empty and useless in the presence of God and so of proclaiming our basic belief that all is grace and nothing is simply the result of hard work. Indeed, wasting time for God is an act of ministry, because it reminds us and our people that God is free to touch anyone regardless of our well-meant efforts. Prayer as an articulate way of being useless in the face of God brings a smile to all we do and creates humor in the midst of our occupations and preoccupations.

Thinking about my own prayer, I realize how easily I make it into a little seminar with God, during which I want to be useful by reading beautiful prayers, thinking profound thoughts, and saying impressive words. I am obviously still worried about the grade! It indeed is a hard discipline to be useless in God’s presence and to let him speak in the silence of my heart. But whenever I become a little useless I know that God is calling me to a new life beyond the boundaries of my usefulness.

 

Henri Nouwen

May 16, 2020 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Lockdown and The Worry Game

The Rev Nadia Bolz-Webber shares some very helpful thoughts for us all in the present Covid-19 lockdown. We can learn from others who had to wait for years to be free! Listen and learn!

 

May 16, 2020 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Pain of Friends!

My dear friends Glyn and Emma Moreton have suffered quite enough from the lies and toxic venom some so called Christian have been injecting into the local Christian Community, here in Bexhill on sea.

After 9 months they are drained and hurting…not only them but their children too! I have written before about the peddlers of these lies and their delusions. These peddlers live locally and they are known to me and many folk in and around Bexhill. The sad thing is that other Christians have been taken in by these pseudo Christians and because they (unwittingly or knowingly) believe in a wrathful, exclusive god, they have swallowed the peddlers lies, completely!

Glyn, Emma and their children are not beaten by the this putrid demonic attack bought about by these peddlers of lies and falsehood! Battered yes…but not crushed! You see they know the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ and they know that in all these vile lies and deranged tales, they are more than conquerors, through the One whose fragrance they exude and show to all who know them! The Jesus they follow is inclusive and not exclusive! His raging furious love is what sustains them and enables them to be a people of Shalom!

I pray that the peddlers of these lies will come to a place of true repentance and that the churches and folk locally, who not only swallowed the lies and deceit of the Peddlers, but also propagated it, will fast and with true contrition seek how they might make reparation to Glyn, Emma and their children!

 

 

Pax et Bonum

Brother Michael

20th March 2020

March 20, 2020 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Corvid-19 Corona Virus….is Not God’s Judgement!

(Note to reader: I will use the masculine for God, but as the Divine does not have a gender…you can use She if you so choose!)

I received an email from a Christian ministry that is calling the nation to prayer to overcome the present Corona virus pandemic. It might seem like a good thing…but I have serious concerns regarding Christians who think that God is somehow behind this and so is shaking the nations in some fit of judgemental anger for our wickedness!

Whilst I applaud a call to prayer…I do not think it should be one that implies that God is the instigator, overseer, designer….or is in any way responsible, for this present pandemic and that He is not shaking the nations in wrath against our sinfulness!

God is not a god of anger! He is the God of Love and is Love! To think otherwise is folly and based on fear! Love drives out fear as Light does darkness!

God does not interfere in the world which He created and loves! There is a mystery hidden in creation and it includes the mystery of suffering and death. We cannot escape this mystery and should not seek to scapegoat it either upon God, or as in this pandemic, some are doing against the LGBTQ community or the Chinese.

I believe God can and does sometimes miraculously intervene in situations and circumstances. I have no idea why He chooses some and not others…but that is part of the mystery. I have seen miracles which according to science are impossible and yet they have been verified by doctors and those qualified to say that the matter was not explainable in the natural order!

So should Christians be praying that God come and stop this pandemic?

Yes and No.

There is nothing wrong in praying for healing, restoration and wholeness. But what is wrong is when you think that sin has caused this event and that evil somehow has the upper hand! When we start to believe that the nation(s) is (are) sinful we then we start to point, (albeit at times silently) to those who we deem are the sinful ones and so responsible for the dire conditions we find ourselves in and therefore it is they who have made us all vulnerable to the wrathful vengeance of God! When we do this then we depart from the Gospel – Good News and have given ourselves fully into the hands of the great liar and adversary of Love!

Let us pray for shalom and try as best we can, to show the love of God by our words and actions in these difficult days and seek to be true emissaries of love and not of fear!

Br. Michael

(Originally posted on Facebook)

March 14, 2020 Posted by | Thoughts | 1 Comment

Christ The Light

“Christ is the light that allows people to see things in their fullness. The precise and intended effect of such a light is to see Christ everywhere else. In fact, that is my only definition of a true Christian. A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else. That is a definition that will never fail you, always demand more of you, and give you no reason to fight, exclude or reject anyone.

Isn’t that ironic? The point of the Christian life in not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the full, final, and intended effect of the incarnation – symbolized by its finality in the cross, which is God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgement. Without a doubt, Jesus perfectly exemplified this seeing, and thus passed it on to the rest of history. This is how we are to imitate Christ, the good Jewish man who saw and called forth the divine in Gentiles like the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Roman centurions who followed him; in Jewish tax collectors who collaborated with the Empire; in zealots who opposed it; in sinners of all stripes; in eunuchs, pagan astrologers, and all those “outside the law.” Jesus had no trouble whatsoever with otherness. In fact, these “lost sheep” found out they were not lost to him at all, and tended to become his best followers.”

(Excerpt taken from, The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr, OFM)

No photo description available.

August 4, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Reaching Christians With The Good News – (Part Three)

The churches one foundation is fear and fear alone…

Fear is sadly at the heart of most churches! Fear is the driving force for evangelism. Fear is the bedrock on which individuals and congregations are controlled! Fear is to do with punishment!

I grew up in a fear driven church system! Sadly, in my 65 years, I have seen the same fear based controlling influence, in all the churches I’ve attended or read about. Fear is a powerful weapon and the easiest way of controlling people and produces an exclusive group. Fear produces a ‘we have – we’re in’ and  and a ‘you don’t – you’re’ out’ mentality!

Fear is driven by the idea of punishment! The Christian idea of hell is based on this fear system. We have so influenced the world that they produce copious works of horror stories and films, all based around this system of belief!

My early life and much of my adult life was driven and influenced by the fear of damnation and being lost forever! The Church set out what was Mortal or Venial in sin terms…but the consequence of not doing the right thing…at least the right thing according to the Church…left me on the very precipice of hell and eternal punishment and damnation!  (Punishment is central to any fear based system!)

As long as I performed the right way, attended the Church weekly/daily, went to mass/confession, prayed the prayers, did all the right things that I was told to do, I was safe! But, if I strayed….I was damned unless I sought forgiveness and then of course had to make recompense and do penance…and then this might not have been truly enough, as I would fall into sin again and the gates of hell were then wide open again to take me! Fear..fear..fear!

The other churches were the same, though in different ways! We didn’t have to confess to a priest…but the fear of hell was the same! In fact it was in many ways worse! It was no fun being a sinner in the hands of an angry god! How many lost souls had we saved in the week…saved from going to hell?  Had we paid our tithe and so honoured God? Had we respected the anointed pastor? Had we drunk alcohol, smoked or watched filth on the TV?  Had we become backsliders? Were we really converted!?  I think I must have said the sinners prayer again and again, at least at every large meeting’ and privately too, in case I had not really been fully repentant, or maybe, because I had lustfully looked at a human body during the week, and so knew that God hated me for such wickedness!  I didn’t want to go to hell and burn in excruciating agony for all eternity! Fear..fear..fear!

So how do we escape this perversion of the Good News?

Love is the answer!

I will be writing more fully on the perfection of love, in my continuing series on, ‘Reaching Christians with The Good News’, and how love drives out fear!

 

Live loved!                                                                                                                                                Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

 

August 3, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Yes, I Believe In Marriage!

I was married for 21 years to the most beautiful and loving woman God had made! We were the yin and yang to one another! At first we were unable to have children, but after seven years, we were gifted with our first son and later with a second and subsequently a third son! However, marriage is not just about having children! For Sue and I, the addition of children undoubtedly helped enrich our lives more fully…but for some couples, this does not always happen! So what does God think of marriage, in particular, the marriage of gay people?

I was bought up with a somewhat restricted view of marriage! In the first place, my early life was very much educated by the pre Vatican II teachings, which did not look kindly on mixed marriages…that was…a Catholic marrying a non Catholic!  Later it was allowed, but, the non Catholic had to agree to bring the children (of that union), up as Catholics! I believe this is still the same today! Later on I became very evangelical within the Catholic Church and latterly outside it, within more Evangelical/Charismatic type churches.

So what does my gay friend do? He has lived with his partner for over 40 years! (They met at school.) How does God see them? Are they outcasts? Does God demand they remain celibate? Does God bless their union or does he curse it as an abomination?

Marriage is a covenant and a sacrament! As a Covenant, it is an agreement between two people to live together, honouring one another and loving each other in good times and bad! As a sacrament it is an outward sign of the inward grace that God bestows on such a covenantal union! But, I can hear voices saying, what about what Jesus said on marriage? Well, what did he say? In Matthew 19 he is correcting the religious authorities on their rather shallow interpretation of the Mosaic law in regard to divorce. He points out why a man and a woman leave their home to be joined together and become one and that this union should never be interfered with, or dissolved! He points out that in the Genesis record, it clearly states that God made man and woman to leave their homes and be joined as one and that as they are now one, nobody should seek to interfere or cause a divorce! The Genesis account indicates, that the Hebrew people are being instructed (in poetic and story language), to be fruitful and fill the earth with offspring!

So does this allow same sex marriage? No and Yes is the answer! For the Hebrew people the Genesis account, tells (in poetic and story language) the start of mankind, of tribes, tongues and nations and so there is quite naturally, an imperative, to reproduce! So if we stopped here, the answer in regard to same sex marriage would definitely be, a big ‘No’! But, God is the giver of life and he is, within the historic Christian view, a triune God, who is Love; Father, Son and Spirit.  We are made in His image and so love is central to who we are and why we are!   It is not good for man to be alone…just as God cannot be a singularity, because love always gives (or reproduces) and always to another! (Self love can never be pure, unless it is a reflection of the love, from another!)  Love is more than producing progeny! Love is who God is! Love is the very foundation of everything that exists! It is truly in Love, that we live, and move and have our being!

Paul tells us something of this love and the way of love, in his first letter to the church at Corinth:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,1 but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (ESV)

So, to finish, I believe love is the big ‘Yes’, central to everything, especially to marriage and this includes, gay marriage! My thoughts on gay marriage are found within the context of unconditional Love! I firmly believe that those who are homosexual should have the same rights as those who are heterosexual! People don’t choose to be homosexual! You don’t choose to be heterosexual, you are just born that way! My friend who has lived with his partner for over 40 years in a gay, monogamous, loving, relationship will find I will bless them and their union! They have God and one another and I cannot love them conditionally, but will always seek to love them (and all gay, LGBTQ folk), unconditionally and so enable them to live freely in society and also within the household of God, without fear and with the full protection of the law and with the merciful covering and love of Christ Jesus!

Yes, I believe in marriage!

 

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

July 28, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Reaching Christians with The Good News – (Part Two)

Control v Freedom or Order v Messiness

I recently posted this humorous photo, on my Facebook page, and was quickly told by a “Christian” lady, (not a Facebook, friend…just someone who seems to follow me, for some reason…?) that I shouldn’t post such a thing, as “this is inappropriate for your Facebook page”, because, I represented my work place and also Christ! This epitomizes what I fear is and has been for some time, an unhealthy spirit of the desire to control and dominate, that is found, sadly, in too many Christian circles!

Some Christians just need to control people! Their good news is not so good as controlling! It is found in every denomination and none…it is part of the problem of our false ego and damaged humanity!

I grew up as a devout Roman Catholic and in that particular church club, they (the hierarchy of pope, prelates and priests) were always right and others (the separated brethren) were always wrong! Well that might be an exaggeration, but certainly until the 2nd Vatican council, Catholics were subject to a multitude of controlling powers.  You could not think on your own and were not allowed to study the bible without consent and the input of the priests. When a priest spoke, God spoke! I remember as a teenager joining a magic circle, chaired by the late, Tommy Cooper. I was seriously advised to speak to the parish priest to see if it was permissible…as the word magic conjured up the grave possibility that the devil might be involved! You were not allowed to make the sign of the cross with you left hand as this was sinister, demonic! You had to attend mass on pain of hell fire and make confession of all those dreadful thing that were classified as sins, mortal and venial! They, the holy ones, released you (another way to control) by pronouncing absolution and giving you penance…which you had to do! Control was at the heart of this church club.

Later in life I attended a number of other church clubs, belonging to the protestant traditions. They were as controlling…if not more so in some cases! Your finances were controlled…of course they wouldn’t say this, but you were expected to pay your tithe.  The bible was the rule book of God and inerrant! You followed the pastor and elders as they were anointed by God! You were not allowed to question them or the authority of the scriptures and so you must attend home groups and be careful that you didn’t backslide! Control was at the heart of this and to question or deny the authority of man or book was a matter of damning proportion. Like the Catholic club, hell was awaiting those who fell by the wayside and did not adhere to the authorities.

That sadly was their Good News! The Holy Spirit was basically told where he could minister and how he should and when he should! Even within the Pentecostal and Charismatic clubs, this control was very evident.

There have been many moves of the Holy Spirit, releasing theses churches from the bonds of control. The 2nd Vatican Council was set in motion, to open the windows on a very stuffy and controlling church club, but it still sadly has a long way to go, before there is any real freedom within its walls. There have been great moves within the protestant block, and many today are stepping away in freedom from the deadly controlling influences that they grew up with!

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom…not control! Control has to do with manipulation, and domination. When we see messiness we somehow want order and that is the dangerous place! Our order is not the order of the Spirit, it is a worldly counterfeit,  just as the peace we so often proclaim, is not the peace of Christ!

We are scared to let others have real freedom and this is due to fear, which is why fear is at the very heart of the problem! We make a defense from our entrenched positions always citing that God is the God of Order! That order is of course, always, ‘control’!

But is God a God of control, is he fearful of messiness and disorder? Of course not…but we have projected our fear onto him and this has damned multitudes to living enslaved to a capricious deity!

Maybe, if we could, ‘Let go and Let God’, as someone once said,  then we would find that place wherein the Good News is Good, Grace filled and above all, Freeing!

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Oh, and you can also laugh, without losing your holiness!

 

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

July 24, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment

Don’t Wrestle! Just Nestle! – The Way of Prayer.

So much of my 65 years has been spent struggling and wrestling with prayer…and it seems to me, from my encounters and observations with other Christians (of all denominations and none) that they have wrestled in the same way!

       Nestling in Prayer

When we are wrestling, we can end up feeling that we have not prayed enough…interceded enough…given enough time or forgotten to pray for so and so…felt too dry…not persevered enough….! Then, when our prayers seem unanswered, we think it is because we didn’t continue to push the matter enough, like the persistent widow in Luke 18. So we end up flagellating ourselves and continue wrestling instead of nestling close to Abba!

I was married for 21 years to the most loving and beautiful woman, who shared her life and love with me! Sometimes we would discus and debate many matters, from our children to our friends, ourselves and our animals. We would discus life in the wider world, as well as life in our locality. We would discus theology, philosophy and humanity! It was great and I miss having Sue here, but the greatest and most intimate times were when we were nestling together, either at home or walking along the seafront, or enjoying the countryside. It was in these nestling moments, when we were quiet and just enjoying each others presence and company, without words or the need to interject into the silence, that we laid aside the wrestle and found the nestle! I believe the deepest prayer, is like this!

I hope to look at prayer and our lives as Christians from the point of nestling! Yes, I know some want a more disciplined approach to prayer and to a defence of the old ways…but I believe that the old ways are not always the best ways and I hope to show you a more gentle way to nestle in prayer and your Christian walk.

Back in April 1984, I had an experience of the Divine that changed my life! I found my life transformed. (Even Sue said to me that she loved the man she married…but loved the New man even more!!) At around that time, I met, shared with, listened to many different folk and one guy, the late Cannon David Watson, greatly helped me see outside of the bubble I had lived in for over 30 years. David told the story of when he had invited Corrie Ten Boon over, to speak at a Conference. At the end of the conference, David and some of the local ministers took Corrie, down to the station so she could catch the train. Corrie wanted to leave David with a word from God, and so as the train was pulling out of the station, Corrie opened the window and shouted out, “Don’t Wrestle! Just Nestle!” Those words are the foundation of these thoughts, and I have passed them on to many Christian folk, as they have wrestled with so many issues!

So settle down and journey with me…nestling not wrestling!

 

Br. Michael Daly, CJ.

July 18, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | 1 Comment

A Reminder….

This is a blog about my reflections on being a Franciscan Companion of Jesus. You will find articles, poems, prayers, news items and other stuff which I hope will encourage and challenge you. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. (Philippians 4:8)

Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours,
Yours are the tweets through which love touches this world,
Yours are the posts through which the Gospel is shared,
Yours are the updates through which hope is revealed.
Christ has no online presence but yours,
No blog, no Facebook page but yours.

(Meredith Gould)

July 11, 2019 Posted by | Thoughts | Leave a comment