GK Blues, Cigarbox Guitars, Jammin’ w. Bikers Sunday, May 5: Aurora, IL

Wendi and I will be with our friends at the 13th annual Motorcycle Sunday in Aurora, IL this coming Sunday.

I’ll jam some with a band or two before my solo which will be happening around 2pm. We’ll bring cds, cigarbox guitars and a bass or two, Wendi’s hand-knits and smiles.

Cool peeps, bikes, rock & blues bands, BBQ, prayer, what’s not to like?!!

http://www.motorcyclesundayaurora.com/

🙂 -Glenn

New Summer Music Festival in Champaign, IL :)

These are good folks. longtime Cstone Fest friends who realize replicating all of what was the annual Cornerstone Festival is likely not possible -but- they are continuing part of that tradition. Please have a click and read. Many musicians including Grrr Records Artists (including myself, my daughter Ami Moss & The Unfortunate and more) will be there. It’s on the 4th of July weekend.

Note: they will announce bands and solo artists, etc. time slots and more details as they are confirmed.

So… please read on and hope to see some of you there!

http://audiofeedfestival.com

-Glenn

Cracks in the Cement

20130421_112846Today it’s cold, but the rain has stopped here in Chicago.

Now- I love rain, but it’s been flooding and many of our metro as well as mid-western neighbors have been dealing with huge problems due to all that rising water.

The streams and rivers, ponds and lakes are overflowing. Many have had to leave their homes, some people’s cars are full of water and mud and several folks lost their lives or the lives of loved ones due to the flooding after so many days of rain.

At least here in Chicago on Sunday early afternoon the sun is shining, the wind is light and until later tonight we’re drying out.

I heard a radio talk show personality mention that exactly one year ago the state of Illinois was almost totally baked in full-on drought. One year later it’s the exact opposite!

But as my title suggests, I want to talk about life in the middle of all this.

Spiritually speaking many people (Americans for sure) are extremists. It’s largely in our dna to go hardcore one way or the other.

There are certainly spiritual fanatics who run from fireworks show to carnival until they finally -at least in some cases- just reach a point of extreme saturation. I say “saturation” not in terms of God the Holy Spirit truly enriching them but rather the surface stuff of humanity, a sort of “film” of spirituality that has little to do with genuine Bible truth, application, loving God and neighbor. It feels good until it wears off.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t “wear out” and so cannot “wear off”.

But what I want to focus on is walking out of our Sunday morning gathering and seeing the blooming flowers -behind the fence.

Nothing blooms -inside- hard, compacted cement. A stagnant, unchanging, no-life situation may “feel” safe and secure but in the end it’s death.

People naturally rebel against balances, scales, challenges and they can of course get into an attitude of “been-there-done-that” jadedness that prevents or at least quenches spiritual growth.

But we love to camp out where there is little challenge or stirring. Comfort (and not “The Comforter” Jesus tells us about) is often our aim. We aim to get it and keep it. And there we see a sort of concrete that can cement the water, sun, air and growth right out of us.

So as I looked at (and snapped this picture) of little flowers blooming I noticed they’re BEHIND the fence and somewhat surrounded by concrete.

People think freedom means doing whatever they like, whatever makes ME comfortable and feeling secure. But such “freedom” has nothing to do with maturity, growth, continuing education, pruning, watering, fertilizing and blooming.

Then I thought of many places I’ve been in various inner-cities (Chicago and elsewhere) where one can find all sorts of flowers (and yes, sometimes weeds) growing right out of the cracks of pavement.

One block from where we live there is a parking lot that has been unused for a couple of years and there are all sorts of plants, weeds and flowers continually sprouting up in the many cracks between the cement.

Such scenes remind me of life, of local congregations, of myself as well.

Note that weeds and not only beautiful flowers spring up in such places… but that’s another blog I may write another time.

Am I, are you… errrr… blooming? Do you feel “fenced in” even though you’re seeing spiritual growth in your life… sometimes at least in part due to feeling rather tightly enclosed?

Sometimes that’s the best place to be.

Something to consider 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

The End of Innocence

20130408_153631This doesn’t directly relate to the Boston Marathon bombings, but it has everything to do with working in ministry service with and to difficult, hurting people.

I am sure it happens to different ones of us in different ways, situations and times, but sooner or later we are faced with what we followers of Jesus call our sin. Our own sins, that of others, sins of humanity. In this day, plenty of other names are used of course.

“The end of innocence” comes with the realization that all humans fail.

For me it was while singing in a band in which I was the youngest member by about four years.

One night in a rock club (both underage and illegally drinking and drunk as I often was in these clubs, being in the band) I looked out in the crowd to see two of my high school teachers with blond babes on their arms. All three and likely five of us were in sin… these weren’t nice church ladies… and the guys were obviously looking for one-night-stands. The point hit home to me that every person of every age in every stage of life has the capacity to break whatever moral as well as civil laws humans -or even those God Himself comes up with (see The Bible for details).

Don’t get me wrong, I have tried to live a biblical, moral, civic and personally ethical life but as all on this planet have failed plenty. If law were the solution to personal and societal ills Jesus would not have had to come and die… for our sins -as the Bible indeed teaches.

At some point earlier than my conversion (nearly eighteen years old), I realized being shocked about human sinfulness was a bit like being amazed that we all breathe 🙂 At least this was the case for me. Innocence had long gone out the window.

I have told the above story before, and it was a sort of an enlightenment about adults being as self-centered and indeed sleazy as we kids were in our sexual acting out, vandalism, prank phone calls and petty theft in my neighborhood.

Yet among me and my friends there were a fair lot of incidents of porn, a couple of friends who with their siblings were into incest, checking out some of my own family’s tawdry novels and the like.

My mother had a married boyfriend who visited nearly every night for years.

I had a couple of friends who were gay or bi and wanted to know which of their friends might join them.

And then there was human history, and especially that of war which I studied a great deal.

People were always fighting over power, mineral wealth, trying to make more money or keep on top and to get as much loot, property, etc. as they could.

All of this plus being a child of divorce where both my brother and sister went through painful breakups and divorces all taught me early on what I already understood when I later read in the scriptures that Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to humans because He knew what was in their hearts.

Knowing, then facing my own capacity for sin and self with these and other lessons prepared me to work with and live alongside broken people here in Chicago.

Story after story dwarfed  mine, situation after situation, people coming to us for help, sharing every sort of mess. The same has been true in my many travels throughout the world.

I continue to get loads of mail and email whether from people who have some sort of Christian upbringing or none, all this taught me to expect just about anything from anyone -so being truly surprised at what people say, do or did, or hearing this or that story, much of which only God knows what is or isn’t truth and reality, well, there is truly nothing new under the sun!

I do believe due to the load of truth, fiction, gossip, slander, pain and individual sin issues anyone in ministry faces, a great many in ministry just quit. It can get overwhelming at times.

Anyone can accuse anyone of anything and there is little one can do about accusations. Trying to keep as far away from appearances of evil, genuine accountability, establishing and maintaining practical safeguards are hugely important.

Still, hurting people hurt others and for a zillion reasons anyone who works with people and especially with hurting folks is bound to face trouble as it’s merely part of -their- life so will in some way become part of yours.

Any parent with a conscience knows all we can do is raise our children up the best we know how at any given moment.

Over time the child will do as she or he chooses and eventually direct love and guidance may even be out of the question. Nobody can force anyone to live a moral, much less authentic Christian life.

When you mix in issues of substance abuse, abandonment, personal anger for actual or imagined wrongs, little or no involvement by parents, other realities of daily living never imagined plus a growing sense of personal rejection and even lack of caring by most around them… that individual has a load to carry that can grind them down.

So when people act out, I am just never surprised. I did my own acting out prior to walking with Jesus, and I never expected perfection among His people as I knew I would surely never be in this life!

“The greening of Glenn”, “the loss of innocence” or understanding of the depth of hurting, sinful people came so early and often in my life I conclude God was preparing me for future work among hurting people.

If reading this has gotten you depressed, I only want to say that I live in eternal faith, hope and love not of my own making… nor from any human source as such. If this were not the case I’d have simply lived my life as a self-focused singer, avoided leadership at all costs and kept as safely distant from people and their troubles as possible and simply died one day.

But if you have a genuine calling, it’s not up to you who you serve.

Certainly knowing along and along what a pain I can be helped and helps me keep perspective… you can put an exclamation mark on that!

Then there are those breakthroughs, those “they’ve gained light… he (or she) is truly making progress!!!” moments. Times when the person in question actually blooms like the flower God intended them to become -when they have the “AHAaaa!” thing happen and become more trusting and indeed more in character like their Savior.

THAT’S the deal.

Innocence born-again: repentance, restitution, forgiveness. Yes. It has happened to me and it’s a major joy to see it happen in others with the grace to play even the smallest part in the process!

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Boston on a Sad Day

Boston, April 15, 2013

Just another day, one more tragic event and reason to recognize the depth of hatred, capacity for violence, destruction and cowardace among desperate, demonized and perhaps mentally ill people.

The sad truth is that I can think of a good handful of “reasons” people seek to inflict such pain on others… which never makes it right, moral, ethical nor an act of love.

It’s just too easy to figure ways to harm others and too many messed up folks to think such can ever be fully stopped.

It’s so much easier to destroy than create -so crazed, imbalanced people set their bombs off.

Jesus indeed said “yet a time  is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God.” (John 16.2)

As I write the authorities have not estabished evidence as to who is responsible for this attack on innocent civilians, but no surprise if the Lord’s words don’t figure in, if not now, again in the future.

I think responding in careful, measured ways as opposed to quick, knee-jerk counterattack always makes more sense.

Hard to love your enemies while bombing them to hell, don’t you think? This is one of the difficulties of being a loving follower of Jesus… these matters are not so clean and neat.

I will continue to pray and watch with prayer and interest as to how we respond, especially those of us called Christians.

Prayer time…
-Glenn