Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Reflecting on Rome – Reflecting on Unity

Here is a link to an excellent article by Bishop Quintin Moore of the CEEC (Communion of Evangelical and Episcopal Churches) on his recent trip to Rome and the call to Unity, which the late Bishop Tony Palmer helped ignite through his friendship with Pope Francis.

Pace e Bene

Br. Michael

October 2014

http://www.quintinmoore.com/2014/10/17/reflecting-on-rome/

 

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October 18, 2014 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Brennan Manning Remembered

Brennan Manning

On April 12th 2013 Richard Francis Xavier Manning known to us as Brennan Manning, was caught up into the furious longing of his Abba. He was a man who had struggled all his life with his humanity. “When I am honest, I admit that I am a bundle of paradoxes. I believe and I doubt. I hope and I get discouraged. I love and I have. I feel bad about feeling good. I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.”

When ambushed by Jesus, Brennan’s life though broken in many ways was caught up into what he called the furious longing of God. He knew that Jesus not only loved him, but liked him. Saved by grace and called to preach grace, he never stopped, though at times crushed by the impostor he had wrestled with from his youth, he pressed on because he was caught up in the love of his Abba. For those of us who have found ourselves broken, dirty, messed up, ragamuffin’s, outcasts, prodigals wrestling daily with sin, hoping against hope that God would still love us, Brennan would resound with the heart of God and take you again and again to the feet of Jesus.

“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said ‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened’, He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged and disheartened along the way.” Brennan knew this from experience and he wanted to pass on what he had received from the Lord, “…..I have received from the Lord Jesus….His unconditional acceptance of me as I am, not as I should be. He loves me whether in a state of grace or disgrace, whether I live up to the lofty expectations of His gospel or I don’t. He comes to me where I live and loves me AS I AM….Will we let the healing power of the risen Jesus flow through us to reach and touch others, so that they may dream and fight and bear and run where the brave dare not go?”

In his book the ‘Signature of God’, Manning wrote of a dream he had of the last judgement and how he was there with a multitude of people and famous personalities, his name is called and he writes; “I hear my name: “Brennan.” As I step forward, like a bell sounding deep within my soul, I hear the words of the poet T. S. Eliot, “O my soul, be prepared to meet him who knows how ask question”

The Man looks directly at me and then looks through all my bluff and pious rhetoric, through the content of my books and sermons, through all the minimizing and justifying of my lifestyle. For the first time in my life, I am seen and known as I really am.

Trembling, I ask, “What is my judgement, Lord?”

He hands me the Book. The word I spoke has already judged you.” A long pause…then he smiles. I walk up to him and touch his face. He takes my hand and we go home.”

Brennan has now gone home to his Lord, to his Abba and yet his writing and thoughts will continue to encourage, edify and comfort all who are seeking a true and living relationship with Jesus Christ.

“Jesus Christ will return in glory. Every man who has ever drawn breath will be appraised, evaluated and measured solely in terms of their relationship with the Carpenter of Nazareth. This is the realm of the really Real…..The eschatological lordship of Jesus Christ and his primacy in the created order (see Ephesians 1:9-10) are at the very heart of the Gospel proclamation. This is reality.

If I ask myself, “What am I doing walking around this planet? Why do I exist?” as a disciple of Jesus I must answer, “For the sake of Christ.” If the angels ask, it is the same answer. “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ.” If the entire universe were suddenly to become articulate, from north to south and east to west, it would cry out in chorus, “We exist for the sake of Jesus Christ!” The name of Jesus would issue from the seas and mountains and valleys, it would be tapped out by the pattering rain. It would be written in the skies by lightning. The storms would roar the name “Jesus Christ, God hero!” and the mountains would echo back. The sun on its westward march through the heavens would chant a thunderous hymn. “The whole universe is full of Christ!”

This is the Apostle Paul’s vision of creation, his Christocentric concept of the universe. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1: 15 – 16)

If there is any priority in the personal or professional life of a Christian more important than the lordship of Jesus Christ, he or she is disqualified as a witness to the gospel. Since that glorious morning when Jesus burst the bonds of death and the messianic era erupted into history, there has never been a new agenda, new priorities, and a revolutionary hierarchy of values.

The Nazarene Carpenter did not simply refine Aristotelian ethics; he did not

merely reorder Old Testament spirituality; he did not simply renovate the old creation. He initiated a revolution. We must renounce all that we possess, not just most of it (see Luke 14:33). We must give up the old way of life, not just correct some aberrations in it (see Ephesians 4:22). We are to be an altogether new creation, not simply a refurbished version of it (see Galatians 6:15). We are to be transformed from one glory to another, even into the very image of the Lord – transparent (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). Our minds are to be renewed by a spiritual revolution (see Ephesians 4:23).

The primal sin, of course is to go on acting like it never happened, basing our lives on pop religion and the power of positive thinking, trendy spiritualities and power politics, rather than on the Sermon on the Mount and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

With Manning,  “I want neither a terrorist spirituality that keeps me in a perpetual state of fright about being in right relationship with my heavenly Father nor a sappy spirituality that portrays God as such a benign teddy bear that there is no aberrant behaviour or desire of mine that he will not condone. I want a relationship with the Abba of Jesus, who is infinitely compassionate with my brokenness and at the same time an awesome, incomprehensible, and unwieldy Mystery.”

Remembering Brennan Manning   !934 – 2013

With love.

Michael Daly, CJ

April 13th 2013

April 13, 2013 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bait and Switch

I found the following article from Dr. Paul Metzger interesting and challenging but wonder if we may – after all is said and done – be losing something of the “Evangel”? What that something is…I am not certain….but I wonder if our “honesty” in such dialogue is so honest after all?

Br. Michael Daly. C.J.

May 2012

Bait and Switch

Recently, I have been involved in exchanges with Pagans at The Wild Hunt blog. One of the claims made by some respondents is that Evangelicals are only concerned about evangelism. The impression some of the Pagans have of us Evangelicals appears to be: regardless of how nice we Evangelicals seem to be or how much emphasis we place on the need for an irenic tone and civility in dialogue and in relationships, such traits simply serve as a ruse for evangelism. Many believe our overarching approach and underlying tactic is bait and switch. How do I respond?

As an Evangelical, I am committed to the “evangel”—the good news of God’s grace revealed in Jesus to bring forgiveness of sins, peace to the nations, and restoration of the cosmos to God through Jesus’ person and work. As an Evangelical, I am also committed to God’s gracious engagement of others in and through Jesus. The Apostle Peter said that we should always be ready to share the reason for the hope that is within us, and to do so with gentleness and respect, as we reverence Christ as Lord in our hearts (1 Peter 3:15). It is wrong for us as Evangelicals to manipulate situations so as to have opportunities to share; manipulation, no matter how subtle, is far from gentle and respectful. We need to trust that the Spirit of God will provide us opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ. I must be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, and to the needs of others with whom I desire to share the good news of God’s grace in Jesus. The Spirit will never manipulate. Nor should I. As a Buddhist friend once said to me, Evangelicals should gently lead people to Christ rather than push or force them toward him. Wise advice.

Now for a litmus test: Would I continue to desire to be friends with someone, if I were to realize that the person in question would never come to desire to know Jesus personally? If I were to say “no,” it is hard to imagine that the person in question would consider me to be relational. For all my talk of personal relationship with Jesus, “personal relationship” would function as a cover for getting the job done and getting people’s decisions for Christ. Of course, I want to see everyone I know come to trust in Jesus personally for their salvation. But I have long-standing relationships with people who may never come to express interest in knowing Jesus personally as Lord and Savior. While this grieves me, they are my friends. They will ever remain my friends, as long as we live. I will not force Jesus on them. Why should I, when Jesus doesn’t force himself on them? Again, I always need to be ready to share, and to do so with gentleness and respect, when given the opportunity, but never to force it upon someone, and always to remain true to my friends no matter how they respond.

Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that the Great Commission of sharing the good news of Jesus throughout the world (Matthew 28:18-20) flows out of the Great Commandment and the commandment that follows it. While I am passionate about the Great Commission, I need to be concerned for all Jesus taught, obey all that he taught, and teach those I disciple to obey all that he taught, too. The summation of the Law and Jesus’ own teaching is set forth in Mark 12:30-31 (See also Matthew 22:36-40): to love the Lord God with all one’s being, and one’s neighbor as oneself. Hopefully, this is my primary concern: loving God above everyone and everything, and loving my neighbor as myself. Of course, concern for evangelism comes into play here as a vital expression of such love. Still, while I have no control over someone being converted to Christ, and will not try to force someone’s hand or heart, I do have control over whether or not I will love someone as myself. I need to make the Great Commandment and the commandment that follows it my fundamental preoccupation. If someone makes it clear that they do not want to hear about the good news of God’s grace in Jesus, I will not force that aspect of the conversation. Hopefully, I will be gracious in how I engage him or her, and so bear witness to Christ through my actions. Who knows? The person in question may change their mind and ask about the reason for the hope within me at some future point. But regardless, I am called to live in a gracious way, loving my neighbor as myself, no matter where it leads. In addition, I will also keep in mind that, from a Christian perspective, while many conversations may include the explicit sharing of the pathway of Jesus, all conversations should be dialogical in nature. I want to listen and learn from my friends of other paths. If I don’t listen to people, it is very difficult to communicate love, which is foundational to Jesus. Listening and mutual learning and loving go hand in hand. Furthermore, well-rounded dialogue is broader in what it may encompass and is not merely a synonym for evangelism. Dialogue bound up with my concern for love of my neighbor involves our shared concern for the common good and justice for all.

Lastly, it is worth noting that people from diverse backgrounds will sometimes challenge Evangelicals like myself to quit evangelizing others, or to give up concern for it. Now if I were to quit evangelizing, I would cease being an Evangelical Christian. Sharing the good news in word and deed is one of the essential teachings of Jesus, and central to Evangelical Christianity. Perhaps such critics don’t realize it, but they are also evangelizing me, when they try to encourage me to stop evangelizing: they are trying, in a sense, to “convert” me out of being an Evangelical, which as I said above involves concern for evangelistic witness. In one sense, everyone is an “evangelical” in that everyone is an evangelist, for everyone (regardless of their tradition or position) is involved in persuading or seeking to persuade others in one way or another, whether through overt, passive, or passive aggressive dynamics and means of resolving conflict and arguments. The real questions are: what are we trying to persuade people to be or do, how are we attempting to persuade others, and why are we engaged in this process? So, whatever our perspective, we need to be honest and straightforward with ourselves, with our traditions, and with others. No bait and switch. Let’s replace such tactics with the interpersonal dynamics of gentleness and respect and honesty and keep the conversations going, wherever they may lead.

Article from Blog of Paul Louis Metzger – Christian Post

May 28, 2012 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , | 2 Comments

Hand of Hope – Grace of God

I was recently sent a picture of a 21 week old unborn child’s hand reaching out from the womb as it was being operated on. This picture was taken back in 1999 and caused a lot of controversy then.  I am not concerned about the controversy or the debate that followed this remarkable event.  What strikes me is that this is the hand of a child, a living being, a person whom God has created and it is marvellous and wonderful to behold.    Samuel Armas – the child – is now 13 and although he has to wear leg braces and sometimes for long journeys has to use a wheel chair, he is said to be doing well and is very active.  Samuel’s mum said in an interview,

“What I felt the picture showed is that this is a child engaging in some form of interaction. I’m a labour and delivery nurse, so I understand that Samuel was anaesthetized to some degree.

“So if he reached out, I don’t know. If Dr. Bruner reached out, I don’t know. The fact of the matter is it’s a child with a hand, with a life, and that’s meaningful enough.”

Let’s give thanks to God for the wonder of His creation and for the skills He gives to men and women. Let us also pray for the thousands upon thousands of unborn children whose lives are literally torn away before they can cry out or reach out a hand to us.

Br. Michael Daly

April 2012

April 4, 2012 Posted by | Thoughts | , , , , | 1 Comment