Veteran’s Day 2018

I offer heartfelt thanks to all U.S. Veterans on this day. As I often say, like you, I did not order each deployment and have not always agreed with the suffering so many faced with such, but I Thank you and your families for your sacrifices and service.

I wish you the Peace of the Prince of Peace Jesus Christ!

“The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” – General Douglas MacArthur

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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A Core “Christian”(!) Hypocrisy

One key argument I regularly hear is how professing Christians call others out on the basis of shirking responsibility -and by this absolve themselves of personal responsibility.
“They’re just reaping what they’ve sown” seems to equal “Don’t ask me to do anything to help them, it’s not my job.”
Uhhhhh, except Jesus says it is on several levels but hey, let’s find an exit while judging and blaming others for supposedly taking one?! This is not only painting a lot of “those people” with a wide brush, judging “according to the flesh” but worse, it’s hypocrisy wrapped in “christianese”, religious language that fully ignores a ton of Jesus’ Own Word about how we treat our neighbor, even our enemies.
Yeah I know, I’m an old school, Greek-based modernist so logic and binary thought processes count me out… see, you may have just done what I’m talking about.
That “None is righteous, not even one.” still fits us all. But for the grace and mercy of God… but for our trusting in Him and that grace and mercy, humbly receiving and SHARING these with others, we each often share in the very blame we cast.
Mercy is the need: for each of us! CHURCH: how are we doing in extending what we want to reap?
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Chicago Cigarbox Guitar Festival 2018 Report

It was another extravaganza-cool event by my friend Brian Rogan and volunteers in a great venue. What a cast of players, builders and fans at the Friendly Tap in Berwyn, Illinois!

Great atmosphere, response of crowd at both stages and just general cool peeps as usual at these affairs. That night a bit of rain and some wind blew in on the streets but it was sure enough cookin’ inside!

Here are a few pics -and if you happen to be a Facebook friend you’ll find a live clip of my last couple songs of the night from Brian’s smartphone on my timeline. Or- via the Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGczLQK5pq4

Finally meeting up with Stacy Puckett and yet another friend -major harp-ologist Jeff Stone who tore it up with new friend, brilliant bluesman Mississippi Gabe Carter, all of this was a real treat!

There’s talk of extending things next November including perhaps a cigarbox git building workshop and such… stay tuned 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Falling Leaves, Lives?

Sitting in one of my happy places looking at the burning bush just outside our window.

It’s autumn again, and only God knows how many left for any of us- time to give thanks (always is!!!) for breath, life and grace to experience it. U.S. Thanksgiving Day coming around again the end of the month.

Years ago a friend (rightly so) told me I all-too-often talked about where I’d come from, what we Christians call our “testimony”. He was correct in that I go to that all too often when I speak and of course I do not always mention it either.

When I’m in front of people behind bars and various other groups I find it important because of course addictions are massive most anywhere you go in our time -and that’s where I came from back in the day.

Like the beauty of the fall colors, the world keeps turning, temptations keep coming and we either turn down dark streets with next to zero light not knowing or not caring where we’re going… sometimes thinking in a quite mis-guided sort of faith that we’re “bullet proof”.

Then the day comes the leaves are off the trees and it’s freezing, we’re outside of everything without a coat, hat, gloves or a fire, without anyone to help us survive much more experience love, peace and warmth.

One of the most distressing things for we who hit such walls in life (often self-induced but not always completely via our own stupid choices) is when those who claim to love God and express on some level, His love, we find harsh, aggressive and condemning attitudes, words and facial expressions.

Why would anyone want to hang around such people? What “fragrance of Christ” comes from such a person, at least when they’re in that mode? I mean, they may love dogs (so did Hitler it seems) but is it “Good News” or “you piece of filth -you’re garbage and that’s what I think of you”?

It’s one thing to bring tough, needed words, to call for repentance (to turn around, fully going the other way) and faith in the Lord, another to blast, jerk and without genuine care and compassion just unload on someone “in His name”! Trust me, I’ve been guilty of it and hope to have grown in spiritual maturity and simple kindness over time. “Mercy triumphs over judgment” says the Book many claim to follow.

Also- I am not by myself “the church”. The very term at core has to do with “us”, “we”, that is people and not only individuals who have been found, seek and follow the risen Savior Jesus Christ as our Lord. Organized as you may or may not wish isn’t the point though some of us in our foolishness, ignorance or “superior intellect”, perceived “revelation” and such may deem it so.

You may not even believe in Him or consider a relationship of love and trust in Jesus an impossible myth. There are many reasons why people end up in that mental/emotional place and therefore take such a position of  unbelief as truth.

One of them of course is the lack of genuine self-giving love nor even simple kindness in their experience with of those of us who constitute “church” or “Christianity”.

Kindness has taken me a lifetime to even begin to channel, and indeed I believe it to be God the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ my Lord and God the Father Who “works and wills in me” to do His good pleasure including growth in the very things I’m writing about.

My “good pleasure” isn’t always even close to good… and very nearly killed me back in the day. Self-righteousness and harsh “put ’em in their place”… “MUST WIN the argument” stances are not virtues, no way near evidence of God working in our lives, nor through us in “ministry” to others!

As we approach election season here in the U.S. and just witnessed yet another mass murdering of “the other”, this time congregants in a Pittsburg, PA Jewish Temple -these thoughts have come to mind.

We all crucified Jesus as it were. Our sins. Our lack of love. Our demand to “have OUR way”.

The beauty of autumn is that after it comes winter and eventually another spring. Jesus said “I AM the resurrection and the life” and I am convinced He indeed IS exactly these and so much more.

“Church” is simply any two or more assembled Christ-followers (called-out ones) who in humility and grace seek and follow Jesus and His teachings. Church is comprised of all who believe in heaven as well as currently on earth, the “church universal” as theologians put it.

It is how I, how we confessing Christians love (or do not love) our neighbor that comes to mind nearly every day of my life.

All the “sound doctrine” of the church exists that we might mature into deeper, more authentic, sacrificial lovers of God and truly love our neighbor as ourself.

The repeating question is “How are we doing church”? It should and must be continually asked!

By the grace and love of God, in our interactions both with those around us in and far beyond the church, may we one day hear the answer to this and like questions:

“Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord”!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Week- Many Gifts!

Last night’s visit to the men of Div. 4 at Cook County Jail was as usual, amazing, special and truly encouraging to me. It was one of the best give-and-take chats ever for the last 30 minutes of our time together. Myself and another bro. brought music and message and both remarked about the wonder of this gathering.

This coming Saturday I’m again getting the treat of performing at the Chicago Cigar Box Guitar Festival (see http://www.grrrrecords.com/shows for details please) -and perhaps at the top of next week I’ll finally get some time in the woods for a day!

Autumn is always my fave, magical time with the change of weather and of course beauty of the color changes.

Another sweet gift has been social media interplay with some friends, I do think more Americans are waking up to the issue of loving neighbor vs. control issues -always a good gift!

The first book isn’t even published yet and still I have been super encouraged in writing the first third of a second one. It covers the nine month period from my initial experience of saving faith in Jesus to a full-on surrender to Him in service at the end.

Oh, little by little recording more on the next record too! Heh, just sittin’ around doin’ nothin’ here… NOT!! 🙂

Enjoy autumn and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

“How Would You Define Social Justice?”

That was the question a dear friend and colleague in Christian leadership recently put forth. Here is one of many responses I can and do give on the matter. As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

“Quoting Winston Churchill (no fan of socialism and in fact accused I think with some good cause, of racism) re. your question which for me forms but one way of my answer re. “Define social justice”:

His context was direct military attacks via the Nazis and the issues of full-on Communists (“socialism” as bent, flawed and abused as some “democracies” have been) re. the dictator Stalin. I am not here pleading for complete pacifism in the face of these… but eventually one must move beyond theory when facing actual martyrdom and that’s another and important matter in such real-world, historical discussions!

“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.”

If loving one’s neighbor, even enemies as a command of Christ (which it is!) is lived out, then I think we might also benefit by considering that Churchill said he was often reminded of the comment of someone at the end of his life who said “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles -most of which never happened.”

When one of the strongest proponents against socialism (who apparently had no issue with Empire as in the UK) also quotes a statement clearly responding to fears, imaginations regarding events and as a Christ-follower (me) lack of faith and I think at times lack of simple wisdom regarding love and respect for -all- (see the New Testament) I’d say he himself in that first quote did away with the very command of God to love our enemies as well as Micah 6.8 (love mercy, DO justice, walk humbly with your God) much less Jesus’ shocking words in Matthew 25 about our treatment of those we consider “the least”.

I happen to think Sir Winston was both brilliant and at times as exceedingly wrong as wrong can be. See Battle of Gallipoli as a glaring example. -Glenn Kaiser

Razing Arizona?

Ha, well, not exactly but it was quite a weekend of gigs in the Phoenix area. Cal. Chapel Surprise, Arizona was indeed that, kind pastor Brad and crew were wonderful and I didn’t expect quite the number of people to show up who did. Such a great night! Earlier, a couple of kind bros. took me to a tour of Alice Cooper’s The Rock teen center. VERY cool!

Major Thanks and kudos to my friend John Traynor who brought me out and made this entire weekend happen 🙂

Saturday night was like Friday only in Mesquite and again, kind, receptive folks came out, followed by a study I was able to bring Sunday morning at Calvary Chapel North. What a great pastor Jesse and team there!

Jason and Jenny (two sweet, talented musician friends of mine) treated me royally and did a great set Saturday night -as well as brought me joy with their cats and even a look at a hummer at their front of house feeder 🙂

SO glad to be home w. my Wendi!

Next up and perhaps last (except for Cook Co. Jail gigs prior to Wendi’s post-Thanksgiving knee replacement) for this year is Berwyn for me solo at the Chicago Cigarbox Guitar Festival. You can find details on that in a recent post here on my site.

Ok -autumn rocks and I’m enjoying it as I hope you are!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn