Another rockin’ weekend! GKB went up I-94, overcast light rainy weather broke into sun, a lot of folks came out to the park, the brats (that’s bratwurst to those who don’t know…) kraut and mustard were tasty and the people were sweet right through our stay in Hudson. The opening band cooked and we had a few folks up and dancin’ too.
Kudos to several churches who made it happen and included a number of really worthy organizations who shared about needed, caring services they offer in the area.
Oh- and the cheese curds weren’t bad either 🙂
So this coming weekend I bring mostly electric blues, jamming with friends in Clinton Township (north end of Detroit, MI) as well as God’s Dirt band at Wolverine Harley-Davidson for a Saturday afternoon set (see post in Appearances in this site or at http://www.grrrrecords.com/shows for details), then a Sunday afternoon set at Pilgrim Lutheran (solo blues and some unplugged tunes with Wendi) here in Chicago.
Enjoy autumn and hope to see you at a show if you’re up for it.
And as always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn
As I recently took another short ride through years of my blog posts I recognized and was reminded of something. I have always sought to lead a purposeful life. Now my wife Wendi says I was "born old" :) meaning that I can be ever soooo serious, and she's correct about that. I crack a lot more jokes than some would realize (ain't the best joke teller either!). Yet there are things of importance where being deeply serious IS important. I've always been at core a communicator. As a kid I loved cb radio, tv and radio, loved to listen but also to talk -and I talk too much and often surely drive folks crazy around me as much as I try to not do so... argggh. So two things: I've never wanted to release a song or a group of them in a record OR a social media post without thinking whether the song/s or post/s were of value to the extent of sharing them. Certainly not everything I've recorded or written is worth sharing in public but most every time I've done so it was at least in my own judgment, worth posting in that someone somewhere would benefit. Sometimes I've posted what would be considered basic trivial stuff by certain judgment. Guess what? Partly that is to make a statement that I'm a human being who laughs, does laundry and simply lives a life with all the common day-to-day stuff most everyone else in America deals with. The same for my often goofy attempts at something funny. I'm no utterly "Sppppppiritual DUDE" who floats above the ground with nothing but heavenly stuff pouring out of me! Anyone living close to me in community will tell you all this but some who have a public personna of decades can be considered such depending on the bulk of their output. I decided years ago to bust that bubble because authenticity needs to rule over phoneyness as does humanity over making "a spiritual impression". This morning I indeed prayed as I rose, opened up and read several devotionals worth pondering, and took out my Kindle and mobile Bluetooth keyboard thinking maybe I had something worth writing to post. Well there are times I really have nothing much to say and a great many things I've written (in my main blog over a hundred at present) that may or many never get public airing. There are a great many songs that likewise may never be heard sitting here or there on my phone or other device. And that's as it should be. My point is that the first thing I asked myself and prayed about was whether I had anything of value to write. Seems to me a lot of us in social media and other communications would benefit the world and church more if we asked ourselves and God that very question -and took His input before tossing it out in the world of words, songs and ideas. As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn
I don’t know what you get in your social media or email inboxes but over the last couple of years I have read countless comments, articles and of course the books are out there by the ton which speak essentially of three matters related to Christianity:
Churches dying and in particular, the younger generations walking out and not returning linked with a related issue of what I believe to be basic spiritual and indeed, the stuff of plain ol’ human (time/experience) maturity: growing up. “What do I really believe and why?” Extremely good questions and each person must work this out regardless of the issues.
There is little doubt white and old-school “We ain’t gonna lose our grip on power nor will we change for YOU” attitudes and voting, rhetoric and gender, race, immigration, LBGTQ, guns, war and other elements are major players in all this, but there is also a profound sense of worry and loss among at least a sizable number of folks who have grown up or at least grown to love their local church, leadership and/or forged close friendships around the fellowship, services and teaching offered.
The truth as I see it? Neither Truth nor genuine church has ever been about the numbers of people hanging out, nor even in the clear reality that if we have more peeps and more money we can accomplish a lot more on earth. Of course we could. And you can debate that but the logic fails me if you do. More people and more loot CAN accomplish more for the kingdom IF IF IF the stewardship of both is truly, lovingly surrendered to the Lord and in meeting actual needs rather than chasing pet projects or “status” slop. But numbers of people involved somehow equals legitimacy? Nada.
Everything from style preferences pertaining to music, speaking, air conditioning, the look and feel of the building, tithing, the most simple “who gets their way” and a hundred other issues are all involved along with the rest of what I’ve mentioned here.
The rub: church is a grouping of followers of Jesus, not this or that place, style of assembly, nor is it about the number or name of that particular gathered people of God.
“Successful church”- WHATEVER that means to you isn’t always what you or I deem truly a God pleasing entity. I say if there aren’t enough people of faith walking in relationship to Jesus, willing to commit to meet, share, serve and grow as well as reach beyond the walls of the place, let it die. I don’t care how hip, un-cool, or what cultures or subcultures are involved.
Christ is Lord and Savior, not a culture of comfort -though The Comforter/Counselor comforts like no other!
See, “Unless the Lord builds the house…” it’s wood, hay and stubble even if your fave people show up, dig the music and love atmosphere and food.
Further, the deepest issue is not how you personally identify… rather it is how God Himself identifies you and specifically, what a follower, daughter, son of His looks like and is. This indeed comes down to scripture rather than mere personal belief, feelings or sense of personal value. To the extent we are willing to face hard questions and embrace the hard truths of the truly Good News of Jesus we are also willing to be changed, loved, healed -and as we are we become walking gifts of change, love and healing poured out both within the local church and to the world outside of it.
The true church by God’s definition isn’t limited by what we do or do not do, build or not build because it belongs to the risen Christ, is part of HIS kingdom where He alone is King. The true church is fueled by God the Holy Spirit and is blessed by God the Father because by His gifts of grace, faith and love. It’s people who individually and gathered follow Jesus and serve Him, the rest of the larger body of Christ and who reach out with compassion to the lost.
A church laced with sinners (all local assemblies) will hurt, frustrate, challenge, provoke acts of kindness, betrayal, faithfulness, hope, love and misery -just as all relationships between sinners in or outside the Christian camp.
The ebb and flow of lots of believers, fewer believers, backsliders, deep or kindergarten commitment of it’s people is nothing new and will continue until He folds the world up like a scroll and we are all together in His literal kingdom.
But it also seems to me that spiritual journeys vary greatly and for many reasons, sometimes likely due to a child’s faith having to become challenged as they grow up, move from the security and stability and/or at times hypocrisy and/or their own pettiness, rebellion and desire to be and do AS THEY WISH, GOD OR NO GOD which of course can either lead them to repent, believe and follow Him later on as did the prodigal son -or to “curse God and die” as Job’s wife recommended as he suffered horribly.
If you are not in RELATIONSHIP with God on a daily basis you likely aren’t comfortable with His people whether they are full-on lovers or bigoted jerks -and the churches have always contained both. Last time we were honest -so does the rest of the world…
“Faith” as a mere intellectual concept isn’t a relationship.
Relationships between imperfect, flawed, sinful and at times very troubled people are messy, distressing, painful… and we are at times those people in relation not only to one another but to God as well.
We are all at varied stages of both spiritual and life experience growth, yes, spiritual and otherwise. It seems to me actually cutting one another slack, grace to grow and forgiving one another (a rocking and deeply core command of Jesus to His Own) is the work of both human-human and human-God relationship. Blow that off and you are going to be willfully by-passing lessons that will assure your OWN lack of maturity or even willingness to stay married, get married, be part of a band, local church or even amateur sports team!
Another essence is that when individual people decline spiritually within a church, then the church declines. Yet- the gates of hell will never prevail against the true Church -remember it is Jesus Who makes that claim.
I and those in the community I live and serve with have been SO graced to actually work with, be taught from and recognize the wisdom of the Lord among an incredibly wide group of professing Christ followers from day one.
A healthy and I believe authentic, scriptural ecumenism where I engaged with mature and also immature believers in several very different churches was part of my own earliest pilgrimage as a young, fresh Christian.
It seemed clear to me that there were deep, shallow, real, fake, first-grade and seminary graduates, deeply experienced and quite inexperienced people all over the map. I met (and meet) in tiny fellowships and mega churches deeply loving people as well as troubled, self-centered louts – in every sort of Christian gathering I’ve experienced- and after a lifetime of travel I can tell you that’s a LOT of folks in a lot of places.
From the earliest days of creation until now things have not changed in this very important regard: God is God and will not change, His Word is dependable but we cannot cause it to change yet He and it will change US if we will in love and faith, obey Him and live it out in our relationships regardless of preferred style.
In the end, either we focus on Him and loving others in and outside our favored group, or we simply act as our own god, source and center of things.
On this basis, none of the current concerns is for me, as much a fresh or freaking out worry as it is a norm that has existed through the ages.
We grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ or we do not.
It indeed begins and ends with personal integrity, relationshipS with Him and others. Or not.
As it has always been, it’s your move.
God LOVES you and me but He surely does not always love our choices nor the way we treat one another. He will move with or without us but His love will not allow Him to change. The Church? We deeply need one another whether we’re willing to grow up or not, but in the end, the church is only as mature as it’s people in any particular time and place.
Nothing new under the sun.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn
Others might say “WHY?” Here’s what I say…
So my creative brain and a few moments of time brought me here once again. All fun, simple. Coulda made it cooler… so many ways to decorate or make these “more” but there is a simple satisfaction when you’re a simple person w/o a ton of time you think (me) should be given to such things.
On tour with Wendi often means Cracker Barrel Restaurant breakfasts regardless the time of day, and that’s cool though it ain’t HER cookin’! Well, you can take the Southerner out of the South yet that cookin’ expertise resides in my Babe- but I digress 🙂
Had this cut piece of wood for a couple years, never finished a guitar with it so decided to sand the edges, place a tiny Cracker Barrel Mint tin (the grandkids enjoyed ’em) which Wendi gave me after it emptied out, and mostly squeezed a piezo pickup element and 1/4 inch input into it. As I was simply building yet another 1 string slide git it was truly quick.
Years ago a pastor friend in Florida (Thanks Mark!!) gave me a load of stuff including a -lot- of mostly wound acoustic guitar strings. These are often put to use in just this way.
Bit of drilling, some packing tape to shield the pickup and jack from the metal inside the tin, a v-cut of the tin for the jack, an eyebolt and wingnut and a tune/stretch string, made a few pencil marks after adding the bolts for bridge and nut, and yahoo, she sings nicely!
One more continual diddley-bow addition to a stable, always thinking about light, small gits like this to take on flights. I may even cut an arm off an old shirt and add a drawstring for a carry bag. Oh- the little tin (roughly the size of Altoid Smalls tins) is only held in place by the string tension. One of these days I’ll cook up a recipe and do a repeatable “mobile pickup”. I like that idea w. full sized Altoid tins but would love to do it with the Smalls versions… cuz I’m a low-carb guy as well as the fact how dinky those tins are.
So- this diddley bow is called “Why Not?!”, to be played with some sort of slide, is 26 inches long, 1 1/4 inches deep at the pickup and just at 2 inches wide. It is super light and sounds cool especially via an amp. I’ve also begun using my L.R. Baggs ParaAcoustic D.I. with guitars loaded with piezo pickups as the tonal and boost qualities are massive with that little item! And the two tiny holes at bottom and top of the guitar are where I’ll thread a small 3-strand string as a “strap”.
This one will sometimes be making appearances with me at solo shows like many that I build do.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn
Well let’s face this- those who profess to follow Jesus and truly are seeking Him in doing so are in a sort of reform school -“school of the Spirit” so to speak!
ALL have sinned, therefore all need reformation.
The entire church (whether called The Reformed Church or not) includes sinners like you and I, and as a wise person once said (not me… but I quote her/him) the church is populated with sinners and what’s worse, all of them have a sinner for a pastor!
We start our walk with Jesus in a kindergarten sense, but if we’re not paying attention to the Counselor (God the Holy Spirit) we can go on another 60 years and never grow spiritually. We can be as self-centered, immature, wallowing in self-pity or mean and nasty as snakes and never truly be reformed.
Paul writes: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12.2
A number of folks have rightly said the first battle is in our mind, how we think, what we think about, and which desires line up with God and His Word (The Bible), what does or does not sync with Jesus’ life and Words.
Many scholars comment on Paul in Romans 12.1: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” along with verse 2. I’ve read that in context this is best understood from the Greek as part of repentance and actually RE-THINKING, a change of heart and mind re. verse 2 and many other scriptural texts.
When I hear people say (and have heard this often the past 10 or 20 years) “We need a new Jesus Movement” I usually reply with three statements: A) that will happen when God sovereignly causes it to happen, B) it will happen when enough people are willing to truly repent, believe and actually follow Jesus in their minds, with their mouths and most importantly actions in relation to both God and how they treat others… and lastly, C) when most of a larger portion of people get desperate enough.
Desperation after digging through all the “THIS WILL MAKE MY LIFE WORTHWHILE” rubbish was a huge part of why thousands of us hippies, students and indeed church folk actually came to follow Jesus in the late sixties to mid-seventies.
“The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.” -Acts 6.7
This text has always intrigued me. It’s about Jewish priests moving past human legalism, religious rote and surface ritual to active, loving faith in Christ the Messiah and becoming obedient to God. What a concept! Now THIS is REFORMATION!
So dear reader, if you proclaim to be part of the church by faith in Jesus Christ, what’s up with you? What’s up with me? Are we “being changed from glory to glory” right here and now or are we sitting on our salvation and choosing a sanitized, self-satisfied version of Christianity without Christ actually RE-FORMING US in His Own image?
It’s September. School’s in session. Are we playing hooky or showing up… and doing the homework for growth?
Things to consider for the journey perhaps?
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn
Many years ago a kind Canadian friend told me I should begin writing a blog. It seemed my lyrics and lifestyle in inner-city community might serve more if people understood my thinking on things. At first I declined, wondering if anyone would care what I thought about much of anything, but the more I prayed and considered, eventually took her up on it. She and her husband became friends of Wendi and I, and as she did the cool web design work, I began blogging.
If memory serves (it may not…) early days I wrote on a private server, then to blogger.com which continued via our server site in a “box”, then to a now defunct site which I truly loved called Posterous, and when that site shut down I arrived at WordPress actually transferring all my Posterous posts here. If you dig through those earliest posts you’ll find the formatting did not transfer so you just get a massive paragraph per post. Oh well!
I’ve (of course!) repeated myself endlessly re. my own core concerns and critiqued my positions on a host of issues -but also on occasion re-read what I wrote many years ago reconsidering my thinking and writing. It has been rare but not completely unusual to think there are areas where I’d modify -that- right now… or perhaps take a slightly different angle at public discourse on an issue. For the most part I stand on what I’ve written and as per the internet, it’s all out there and find-able to all world-wide. Seems the first start was December 2000.
A snapshot from July 21, 2001: http://www.web.archive.org/web/20010721032813/http://glennkaiser.com/
The real question is whether I have lived and now act upon my beliefs. That is always the issue. Throwing words around in public is one thing, a life that reflects the love and hopefully on-going maturity of a Christ-follower takes real consideration, effort and at times repentance.
I nearly never re-post past blogs though at times thought it might be good to do. Dunno. At this point I think I won’t having so much going on in mind and activity in the present. But I have just added links to the WaybackMachine as well as my original Blogger pages if you are really crazy and want to peruse years of all sorts of my posts.
Before God, I could care less how many people pay attention to what I write, the internet is FLOODED with words, writers and pundits of all stripes who are better at it and say things you may more benefit from than what I write. But, fyi.
Most of you are aware of my other present day issue-specific blogs by now but if not:
THE ARTS: https://gkarts.wordpress.com/
GK OLD BLOGGER.COM site: http://glennkaiser.blogspot.com/
(Note, scroll to bottom of page there for -years- of archives via my Blogger blog)
And- Old GK Series I wrote posted by my friends at CrossRhythms Online in the U.K.: http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/articles/life/?author=17633
Lastly, GK Blog Posts Via The Wayback Machine (internet archive search site): https://web.archive.org/web/*/glenn%20kaiser%20blog
As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn