Share The Road

Do you drive? Do you drive in a city, a large city? Have you had to learn how to do so without driving others on the road crazy -whether or not you’d like to leap out and give them a talking-to sometimes?!

See, driving means sharing the roadway. And being aware of the curb, sidewalks, pedestrians, e-bikes, motorcycles, large trucks, skateboarders, electric scooters and regular bikes too. Sometimes town or city, county or state work crews are out doing their job and you have to really slow down and take care.

In morning and evening people are out walking their dogs.

And on it goes.

There is real danger to yourself and those in your vehicle as well as those around you on streets, highways and back roads.

At night especially during the rut (deer mating season) and in wider bits of time one or more animals may be crossing “out of the blue” right in front of you! Coming back from a Canadian tour one afternoon Wendi and I began to count road-killed animals from Ontario through Michigan and into Illinois. If memory serves there were something like 60 and most looked recent. Night time driving can be an entire matter in itself.

Then there is the weather issue, things like thick fog, heavy rain or snow, ice and black ice on frozen roads, floods, bridges out or deeper-than passable dips on a road now filled with water, intense wind storms and so forth.

SHARE?

Like… “pay attention” to others and what’s going on around you? Yes.

YIELD?

Sometimes yielding is exactly what one must do to keep or make peace or we end up in pieces -or put others in harm’s way.

I’ve had several close calls on the road sometimes due to my own slack attention, sometimes other’s and sometimes both.

Now I ask you to consider this entire piece merely an allegory of life in the wide world and indeed, church world if you’re a professing follower of Jesus.

Then perhaps take time to do a Bible study of the phrase “one another” in the New Testament.

We aren’t on this road all by ourselves you know.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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Mexican Snow -prose by gk

I’ve a number of links (right side and down the homepage here) and one will take you to my misc. arts page. Some will also take you to bits of verse/prose I’ve written as well. It’s snowing in Chicago this morning and somehow this piece came to mind, so here it is. I’ll probably add it to the gkarts.wordpress.com site at some point.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

MEXICAN SNOW -glenn kaiser

Does it ever snow in Mexico?
Twelve states state it does
With climate, beaches, tourist reaches
Few Yankees ever know
On mountain peaks and sometimes cities
Towns and higher fields
Glistening powder lingers
As God’s hand brings the yield

And north of the border
We buy the other kind
While castigating brown-skinned people
Criminals and crime
As if our suited business gangs
Are holier than most
While north, south, east and west
It’s snowing coast to coast

The Hard Listen

If you’re not listening to those with whom you disagree, perhaps maybe even don’t like… you’re not listening.

Consider: every prophet whom God really, truly, actually sent to Israel and Judah brought words the very chosen people of God did not want to hear.

This is not to say every voice and word contains and delivers equal and full truth worthy of application in your or other’s lives, not at all. The issue is listening. It has been rightly said/written plenty that sometimes our “enemies” helped us more than our friends.

See, in getting (Book of Proverbs statements) knowledge, wisdom and understanding, well, these things all take big ears, time, often quite a long time indeed. Hearing, reading, watching, truly listening costs us patience we often don’t wish to apply. We sometimes shy away from study instead running to the “quick fix” as only hanging out with those who agree with us feels more comfortable, comforting.

Now- do I “buy” every rap coming my way? Am I to be in total agreement (sometimes it may seem -any- agreement?) with someone simply because they are created in God’s image and communicate? Of course not!! See, this is partly why I never expect people will always agree with me.

The humility factor looms so very large, the sense of us rather than only me and those I love, the reality nobody on this planet has full and complete understanding about anything as God Himself alone does all figures in to what I’m saying here.

If one’s mental health and well-being is such that breaks from folks and concepts that seem to just torment are needed, I truly get and agree with finding and creating space, distancing ourselves off and on. And yet our tribal and often bunker mentality, living in our emotions and sometimes stubborn-for-the-sake-of-stubborn attitudes torpedo our ability to listen and therefore rightly learn.

Does, did God Himself ever say anything we’d rather not hear?!

By the way, my own conviction of spiritual gifting and calling from Him (evangelist, general missionary service) has shaped my deep commitment to what I’m writing here. How do we love people if only shutting our hearts and ears to them? How do we “make room for one another” even within a local fellowship much less in the wide world unless we are willing to deal with these issues and people -gracefully- though perhaps at times in deep disagreement?

Things to consider along the path of a maturing disciple of Jesus.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

70

Wow. Just amazed. God’s grace, provision, revelation of Jesus to me from 18 until today in 2023, His consistent love, decent enough health so far, incredible wife, kids and grandkids, friends, church family local and far beyond… I am truly thankful and amazed.

I honestly never thought I’d be on the planet this long. Addiction and a good many shall I say back in the day less-than-Jesus-honoring friends sharing with them vices that destroy… never ever imagined I’d be writing this all these years later.

He truly restored the years the locust had eaten in my life, grace pressed 100 times more blessings than I have ever earned, deserved or expected would come to me.

I suppose in part due to age and choices like diet, exercise, Bible study daily and a great deal of quiet-time prayer, reading a super-wide range of news, other’s thoughts on broad and multiple subjects, though I still love loud and intense music (and write and play it) the blues -all these play a part for me.

Sometimes complete quiet, stillness sitting with a book, a coffee or tea, outdoors or in, all bring me both continued challenge to grow. Young at heart I think, but hopefully a little wiser. God help me and those I somehow influence!

And PEACE. What a GIFT from the Prince of Peace!!!

Psalm 40.3 He gave me a new song to sing. It is a hymn of praise to our God. Many people will see what he has done and will worship him. They will put their trust in the Lord.

So that’s what I have today 🙂

No matter who you are or what you have done or what has been done to you- I truly wish you the same “peace that passes understanding”- it comes from God in Christ alone!

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Apolitical??

As a follow-up to what I just posted on “Hippies and Jesus Movement: How?” please consider:

APOLITICAL definition (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apolitical)

  1. : having no interest or involvement in political affairs. also : having an aversion to politics or political affairs. 2. : having no political significance. apolitically.

Though some confuse spirituality with political positions – neither Jesus nor His disciples ever did. Perhaps Simon the Zealot early days… but you get the point.

At the same time who can rightly argue the apostles and many after them were not persecuted and martyred because their faith caused political, social and economic “problems” -or so was thought… for those in political power in their day?

Which old OR New Testament prophet didn’t suffer beginning with John the Baptist -at the hands of those in political power? Did they not prophesy both to individuals and entire nations including Israel and Judah?

Throughout world and sadly, church history leaders in power on many occasions tortured and murdered their spiritual opponents who were often also professing followers of Jesus. Heresy has too often been the dynamite and at least the excuse for such and I cannot sensibly say political power of those “in charge”, leadership people who had/have real authority are not dealing in politics whether or not in the classic sense of voting democracies or simply local church politics.

Do not hear this as a right-wing OR left-wing shout for seizing power as I believe both are too often centered on self, same as within professing Christian circles and churches. I think it also wise and factual to state those without “political position” in or not in any church may as easily be corrupt or corrupted due to the desire for positions which drill holes rather than create sharing, equity, and overall distribution of grace.

Therefore, a total-complete-full separation of political one-up from anything to do with Christians within the churches is in my opinion a side-step from biblical, historical and real-world present day facts.

Do I believe some have used political power as ladders to greater privilege, wealth and control in their little human kingdoms? Inside and outside the churches? Of course! Do I also think pols in democracies work to co-opt Christian churches that their self-serving agendas get accomplished? Yes. Can we serve God and mammon rightly? According to Jesus, flat-out no!

To think we have some sort of spiritual “cloak of invisibility” that does away with politics within or outside the church on earth is in my view at best naive, at worst dishonest but likely often a matter of ignorance and lack of historical study along with the need for common sense. It may sound righteous and spiritual but…

So on to reality here:

We live in a fallen world where political power literally helps and saves human life and equally destroys, kills, murders.

To say we can live an apolitical life is untenable.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2023

This amazing man accomplished much and said so many brilliant things it is difficult for me to choose what to emphasize for those reading. Today as we celebrate him and his love, his fight for racial equality and opportunity I chose this. Paul’s famous phrase “Faith, hope and love” comes to mind…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I personally believe the God he served was and is the Source of his deepest thoughts regarding both “hope” and the term “infinite”.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Hippies and Jesus Movement: How?

With due respect (and I mean that) to those sacrificing themselves and loved ones regarding the Vietnam War I find rare mention among those who came to saving faith in Jesus in those days mentioning that such was partly how they reached the conclusion to “eat, drink (and drug), be merry (all sex in whatever fashion) for tomorrow we die”.

Part of the sense of hopelessness, despair and spiritual vacuum so many of us felt and truly experienced then was of course fed via broken homes, a broken and largely business-enterprise system running political you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours deals, what Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex”, plenty of surfaced, blatant racism and certainly sin nature and not only imago dei in us all. And yes, a war many Americans did not believe in nor voted to ensue.

See, when nothing else makes sense and finally life seems meaningless, if anything, searching for love (whatever that really is or means at least to us as individuals) is about all that’s left.

So we hippies headed for spiritual experiences, things like I’ve listed above. The mantra (from Timothy Leary) “Turn on, tune in, drop out” in such scenarios a possible cool freaking option. Only it wasn’t. Nor were eastern and other religious/quasi-religious experiences we flocked to.

If as an old preacher said, “God’s address is at the end of yourself” I reckon those of us who reached it were deeply affected by all this.

Sanitizing the reasons, the forces other than demonic (which I fully believe in by the way) are often not brought to bear in discussions of the mass of hippies, students, street people who came by the thousands to faith in the crucified, risen Jesus Christ and who began to follow Him as their Lord and Savior.

Was all immediately or even later fully “well” with us? Is it now?? Look at your own life, then the churches (and I mean ANY form of supposed Christian gathering) and the other issues I’ve listed above. So similar and perhaps advanced into chains and pains have so many come even today as I write in January, 2023. Consider white suburban housewives and others working legal 9-5 jobs make up a if not the major demographic of opioid-addicted people in the United States.

Following Jesus has always gone beyond headlines, sound-bites, slogans or even church membership. It did in Jesus’ teaching and His example, His daily walk in relation to God the Father and his disciples.

As so many celebrate a sort of 50th anniversary of what I believe the most significant, genuine move of God the Holy Spirit in terms of authentic conversion to Christian faith of the last century, let us not remain ignorant of how it came about.

As I just said, of course God the Spirit moved. We sometimes skip over the practical realities of those days and I think it important to not merely spiritualize what happened.

Individual and corporate sin and injustice are nothing new. They were part of the ferile soil for the Holy Spirit and are so today.

I suggest we at least on occasion take sober inventory of the events that cracked open hard, lost, wandering, wondering hearts in the late sixties and early seventies. As per other times of severe calamities on earth such as war and pandemics, political turmoil and violence, when those things we placed trust in over God Himself are what we think shall save or sustain us fail -and they will… it is the Person of Jesus Christ Himself, resurrected and coming again – Who must.be.our.focus!

The Living Word Himself IS and has given us true words of life.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

What’s Your Wish?

I am often reminded of Jesus’ command to love my neighbor as myself. The same regarding “love your enemy”. Tall orders, no? But He didn’t give them to His disciples as mere options.

From time to time what comes to mind is whether there is anyone I DON’T want to see receive God’s grace, whom I wish we would not see in heaven.

I’ve friends, readers who don’t believe in God, do not follow Jesus, and both they and a minority of professing Christians disbelieve in any such domain or reality, some who also don’t believe in anything like hell.

But for sake of point, let me argue that if there is a God and a heaven, is there any (now living) person you wish wouldn’t be allowed in?

I suggest that says more about your own love, forgiveness and heart attitude than it does them. Let that sink in.

Without Jesus in my life, faith in God’s Word and regular self-examination and repentance I sincerely doubt I’d ever faced these truths in my own life. What is my wish for those I strongly dislike, disagree with? How do I wish for God to treat them?

See, grace is unmerited. It allows for redemption as long as a person has breath. It’s also an ongoing change agent I recognize my own need of!!

Things to consider as we think of (pray for?!) those we find repulsive. Thank God for His grace. Thank God he can change our hearts to reflect grace toward others. This is one of the greatest miracles in my own life. Heart-change is a gift from Him! May it continue in me and those I influence.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Self-Medication

We all do it. Self-medicate. You know, shopping, reading a book or doing online study, food, sex, outdoor or other recreation, drink, drug, social media surf, crafting and various art-making.

Some of those and other things are at times quite positive and helpful. Sometimes they lead to or even are addictions that hold us but do not satisfy the particular mental, emotional, physical or spiritual health and growth need. They may help heal or truly destroy.

I do not write this to condemn anyone as I’ve been down at least some of these roads my entire life as has anyone reading this. But eventually there is a key to any lock if only one can find it.

Understanding that there are biological reasons in mental health how someone loops in destructive habits, and that not a matter of sin or shame- have you considered that besides such reality –doing nothing is still doing something?

There is movement in one’s mind and then some sort of decision and usually physical action involved in the things I mentioned above.

Example: if depressed, getting out of a chair, moving to the fridge or counter-top, using a knife or at least fork and eating an entire cake means you did something. Movement occurred. The calories, carbs, sugars, sweet frosting and texture of the cake didn’t mysteriously float over to your chair or bed and without you opening your mouth simply pop inside. You moved your lips, teeth, tongue, swallowed and thereby ingested your “drug of choice”.

It is a rare matter or person who doesn’t DO something whereby an actual addiction happens.

As I or any addict/former addict/recovering addict (that last one is me) knows if honest about it, actions were taken and are always taken. Sometimes this morphs into a habit and to an extreme.

There is a certain if destructive and sometimes deadly comfort in same-old-same-old. So when pandemics, political rage and even violence, economic crashes, horrible weather and physical illness strikes hard, when we lose a loved one, are shocked by events beyond our control, etc., the ease of reaching for something rather than God Himself, for another someone (who cannot function as only God can) or even simpler, for our chosen form/s of at least somewhat “feel-good” self-medication looms large.

The concept we had nothing to do with it, no movement on our part helps it is like saying rain happens with no clouds whatsoever.

My view is that one’s atmosphere (to use it as a metaphor) is often largely NOT a matter of our own creation while in other times, ways in areas of our life we indeed DO affect the atmosphere in which we move. The key term here is MOVE.

I was in a conversation with a dear friend discussing how easy it is for a number of our friends -and ourselves as well!- to go round and round discussing what seem non-stop miseries that they and we actually CAN take steps (as in movement) to work out of depressions that are not fully caused by biological brain issues with which we are not entirely responsible for.

Have you known, or are you one continually lamenting the tragedies of life but choosing (yes…) to keep spinning in the same non-working, even addiction to your chosen self medication?

Believe me, I get all this. What doesn’t work is continuing to complain but not make a different move. All of us need to vent, let off steam about our hurts, have close friends with listening ears who will still love and support us regardless. Yet our continual complaining can be like wearing the same clothes for weeks on end. The resulting scent often drives others away.

In scripture, Paul writes about putting on Christ (and not as a “put-on” in English slang, not an actor’s act but in reality).

Please have a read about that here: https://www.gotquestions.org/put-on-Christ.html

I’ve often written and spoken on my own truly life-giving therapy, best for me for sure:

Serving God, marinating in daily relationship with Him, then serving others in need best I know how. In short, eyes-off-self and actually moving. “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love serve one another.” -Paul in Galatians 5.13

There are all sorts of therapies that truly work and they will somewhat differ depending on each individual’s makeup and need, but in the end the idea that stuff just sort of happens to us out of nowhere therefore it’s the same for addictions? That second conclusion doesn’t ring true.

Choices. So many of them are on us.

My friend and I essentially lamented that a number of friends just seem to keep spinning in their particular “soup” without doing even one of the most simple things to begin moving out of the bowl they swirl in.

I concluded my part of the convo saying “Each person has to live their own life. We cannot live it for them, decide their choices for them. If they choose to serve their addiction there will be no change and we have to face the sad reality of that. We cannot fix folks, they must and do choose as they will!”

What I, you, any of us actually do with the tensions of life as we seek to relieve them are of course core to all this.

See, I don’t think many people know the history nor much use the Serenity Prayer, but you might find of interest the original version is:

“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.”

For more on that and a version from AA 12 Step literature (which happens to be my fave version) please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

I have long believed and experienced genuine, deep soul-peace comes from a relationship with Jesus and what scripture refers to as a “walk”.

Life-giving or life-sucking, either way, we’re moving even if it seems we’re not moving at all.

Things worth considering on the journey? I think yes. 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn