Creativity, Risk for Progress

You may think this boring and perhaps outside your scope of knowledge, but you’ll get what I think are great points re. creativity, moving forward and grace if you read on.

I admit I’m a Linux (and Linus Torvalds) fanboi.

Oh, and this is “Tux”, the longtime mascot of the Linux computing community-Tux

Context: there are 3 main computer operating systems (O.S.), Windows, Apple/Mac and Unix. Linux is an offshoot of Unix, and is arguably the more exciting O.S. between the two. Linux is system used by many governments in many nations including ours, military and police depts., the core of all Google, Amazon and most search engines and etc. world-wide.

Interestingly enough even Apple/Mac is based in Unix. Android anything (phones, etc.) is a tweaked Linux O.S..

The guy who is quoted here is Finnish, came up with a variant of Unix
and called it Linux (Linus’s Unix) because as a university computer science student he thought he might come up with a better operating system and open-source, that is, not proprietary. For many reasons, I and plenty of others agree he indeed succeeded. I use Linux every day and have for years, in fact am writing this blog on a little Linux netbook.

In a Linux O.S., “kernel” refers to the core elements, the “guts” of the system. All programs work linked by the kernel. Through the Linux kernel they handshake and cooperate for you to get your work and play done.

I admit there is a sense of geek speak here as Linus continues to work wonders as a well-respected techie and his quote has, of course, to do with writing code and such. But ohhhhh the implications of what he says here in terms of art, personal growth, spirituality and so forth! I won’t parse it for you, just read on.

By way of http://www.distrowatch.com:

Linus Torvalds is the original author of the Linux kernel, an open-source project he continues to manage to this day. The famous father of the Linux kernel appeared in an interview with Bill Robinson last week in which they discussed technology trends, personality cults and leaps forward in technology. Torvalds shared a number of personal opinions on the technology industry, including innovation, saying: “I’m a big believer in pushing the envelope, and I’m not a huge believer in trying to be entirely stable and 100% “sane”. A lot of real development happens in spurts, and as part of what later is called ‘hype’ and other unflattering things. But the thing is, trying too hard to be sane and boring and not doing stupid things is actually counter-productive. I personally think the stable development model is not one of continual incremental improvements, but a succession of overshooting and crashing.”

Yes, yes and yes! The way forward is not to ignore nor neglect the past, but it is indeed having the vision and heart to in and for the sake of love, be willing to make mistakes in the process of discovery and innovation. We must not -only- take care, we must grow and give ourselves and others space to make mistakes along the path.

As I read his statements a sense of “parallel tracks” leapt out at me. Sounds similar to faith lived out!

As always, thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚
-Glenn

Memorial Day U.S.A.

This is a day to remember.

We all too easily forget what Jesus did for us. In another sense the same is true with respect our servicemen and women.

Nobody but Jesus can be Lord and Savior.

Still this is a day to remember what they have given for us.

All too often they have sacrificed part of their body, have seen marriage fail, ended up homeless, perhaps unable to find or maintain a job all due to military service. Many have lost their life. Plenty of families find today a day of both pride and deep sorrow. They too have given.

I’ve regularly said you and I may have not agreed with a given deployment, but the fact is service personnel have served us, certainly in part that we might have the freedoms we share in the United States.

Today take time to remember. To consider. Pray for them and their families. Consider how you might do something for the wounded, the needy veterans and their loved ones who have given so much for you and me.

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Illness, Cures, Growing

We all eventually get ’em, perhaps extreme ones. Sometimes we get healed, sometimes not.

What I am learning is how one either walks with God in these moments of suffering and struggle or we take the route we used to take B.C. (before we followed Jesus) and self-medicate.

Wendi has taken the high road and regarding illness, I am best when I follow her. She’s been the courageous one. I’m trying to learn to love her in better and deeper ways and not merely be a spectator, live out of my emotions, self-pity or anger at her hurt and need.

I’m writing this in her hospital room a day after her first hip replacement surgery.

She’s dealing with the worst nausea she’s ever experienced. This is big seeing she’s always been motion sick and such. So we pray and the docs and nurses are working to get her pain meds in such a state that her stomach will cooperate. Not an easy time post-opp.

The operation went well and so the recovery time would be shorter, but of course rehab is what it is so pain is what pain is.

Thanks to all who have prayed, so many kind thoughts, and encouraging words! I’ve read most of them to her. I’ve prayed for her to get sleep somehow. Not easy as unlike me she’s only rarely slept well while sitting up. I learned to do that years ago flying so much, and last year when I was so sick lying down only made things worse. For a week I was able to get great sleep in a chair but it’s more uncomfortable for her and add i.v.s, etc. to this. You get the picture. Yet she cannot really lie down as the pain is too great. Sleep, welcome sleep!

There are times when one is so ill that sleep seems the only respite.

My own issues have been about learning how to best serve the one I love who has gone through so much suffering. In fact the all-too-often muscle cramps which are so difficult for her have been more or equal to the pain of the new hip so far. Again, thanks for prayers, the staff is trying out some different pain -and- anti-nausea meds on her tonight.

Some of this blog is due to the fact a number of folks have asked how I’m doing during this process. The truth is I feel several things- guilty that it’s her and not me in this pain of arthritis in all her major joints, the muscle cramps and all… sad I’ve not been more of a gracious servant and gift to her.

I don’t believe I ever really comprehended the tension and work that often accompanies more serious, painful illness. Not just hearing her words but understanding how to do what she needs done, to find this or that item she could no longer get out of a drawer for example. As a man, who knew they had stuff like that organized in drawers like that?! πŸ™‚ So some of it is man/woman communication and understanding stuff.

Certainly both of us don’t hear well, that sometimes causes misunderstanding and in some moments, frustration on one or the other’s part. Extending forgiveness and apologizing more than ever has become quite the norm. We truly, deeply love one another and we both know this to be true. We pray and read the Word more than ever, come to Jesus for constantly for help through it all, so that’s all good!

Overall, God has certainly gotten my attention on serving in this past year and a half with the love of my life. Wendi is such a gift and worth my time and effort, but I fail so often to “get it”.

So part of my answer as to how I’m doing now is “Thankful the operation seems to be successful, also blessed to have so many incredible friends, prayer-partners and servants (especially our amazing friend Sharon) and a caring hospital (Swedish Covenant Chicago) with the best staff ever. I’m realizing more and more that cures are one thing, love is at times something else. Love cures even if “THE Cure” either doesn’t happen or takes a long time. Faith, hope and love even when suffering’s closure seems slim or none”.

I’m also aware as is Wendi that rehab will include the pain factor. Too, her other hip and both knees are eventually going to take us down the same roads. This disease can be very devastating and it is what it is.

Lastly, my own life has been quite re-arranged, so I’m even more careful about which gigs or speaking to do and when to say “Sorry, can’t commit right now with regard to Wendi’s needs”. I honestly have plenty of ministry to do via online, local shows and a few overnighters but have turned quite a few folks down as I just sense the need to be serving her more. So prayerful, pick-and-choose time for me re. music recording, shows and touring.

You might think that side of it would seem more of a loss to me than it does, but I’m very happy to serve where and when I ought to. Just hoping Wendi’s body will respond in the positive to her illness/s, and continuing to seek God for grace to grow and be the loving servant she needs and truly deserves.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Thoughts on Several Controversies

Ecumenism. Social gospel. Liberation theology. One world government. End times prophecy. Israel. The true church.

What of these?

Please know this is not in response to any hate mail, email, articles nor any other communication directed to or towards myself.

Rather, over the years I’ve made statements in both public and private about each and all of these issues.

I happen to like and even love people who think very differently about each of these (and plenty of other) issues. It seems to me too many people create a personally defined “narrow road” quite unlike that which Jesus referred to. If one is not careful loving one’s enemy becomes impossible- and that, I seem to recall, is a direct command of Jesus to His followers.

Not tacit agreement. Not blind “whatever!”, and yet love. Hmmm. How mature in Christ are we? Do we live in faith, hope and love or fear, anger, bitterness and refusal to sacrifice in the face of cultural sins laced not only around but also within the churches, regardless of the “stream” or “sort” of local gathering of Christians you may be involved with?

My roots are in ultra-conservative Wisconsin, German Lutheran farm country. I respected and continue to respect many of the values and traits of my younger years having seen the rock-solid stability, hard work, commitment to marriage and family and how people came together to support and help one another in times of death, illness, loss of jobs and natural disasters.

Some core elements of rural America are not unlike what I experienced as a child. Thankfully, many local congregations of Christ-followers care for one another in such ways. The drug traffic is greater now than when I was very young, but otherwise much seems like what I remember of my pre-teen years in the Midwest.

My experiences then still greatly influence my thinking today though I’ve lived in inner-city Chicago most of my life.

The things I listed in the opening paragraph of this blog are the sort that some of my friends have taken up as “die-on-the-hill” issues. They are deal-breakers or friend-makers. Families have split, churches broken up and longtime neighbors have stopped talking to one another over such matters.

For the record, my -personal- response to each happen to be:

Ecumenism- Can various groups of Christ-followers believe differently and even strongly disagree on various points of methodology, doctrine and at least in some respects theology and yet be friends? Love one another? Strongly disagree and yet respect one another? Still fellowship over core things they DO agree on? I think some can. Sadly, some will not.

Social gospel- For this I simply ask the reader to respond directly to Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 25 regarding the six things He said that separate His sheep from the goats. You and I either act on each of these or we do not. What any preacher, pastor or other leader has to say simply does not carry the authority of His words and call for loving deeds. If these words of Jesus are considered “social gospel”, all I can say is there will be no good excuses as to why we supposedly loved our neighbors without serving in these most basic ways.

Liberation theology- The truth of the Gospel and the entire Bible speaks of the One I and millions believe is the true God, His Son Jesus Christ and the work of God the Holy Spirit in our lives and world. A relationship to Him liberates. Jesus told us “If you continue in my word you prove to be (or you become) my disciples. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”. As we grow and mature in Him, we reach out to help meet the needs of “the least of these” which at times brings us into direct conflict with people who are bent on personal and political power, money and that which more of it brings their way. All of this directly affects widows, orphans, minority people and in general, the poor. If you simply do a thorough Bible study on these people groups in both Testaments you’ll likely begin to understand how sacrifice and pain are often the result of bringing loving care to such outcasts. So be it.

One world government- Seems to me when this happens, and it does seem the Bible speaks of it at least in general, all the guns, ammo, lasers and whatever you’d like to list won’t mean beans. This world is NOT our home, here we have no continuing city but we seek one to come. The heroes will be those who loved as Jesus loved, not those seeking to overcome or “conquer” by force. The times, power and fulfillment of prophecy are up to God, not the church. As Arminian as I happen to be in my personal theology and doctrine, God is indeed sovereign -and to think that those who follow Jesus are somehow going to “win” without the Lord and His armies showing up in HIS timing and HIS way is in my view, worse than a sick joke. This does not mean I’m against defending my family or even that I disagree with military force. I’m saying you and I aren’t going to “make it happen” nor will we “stop it” regarding the Scriptures being fulfilled. Let’s figure out how to love our neighbor as ourselves… shall we?!!! In my view the fear, anger and priorities are just over-the-top for a great many “Christians” in my country.

End times prophecy- Yes… the Bible’s prophecies will be fulfilled in HIS time, HIS way, with or without you and I understanding or thoroughly, completely, perfectly interpreting all the Book has to say about them! If we put our efforts in faith, repentance, loving God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves I think we will be fine regardless of how things happen or don’t happen in our lifetime.

Israel- I love Israel and pray for its peace and protection. I do not support each and every thing Israel does. Do YOU my Christian brother or sister support each and every thing your fellow Christians think and do among the Christians in the fellowship the next block over from yours?? Do you honestly think God applauds and agrees with every thing Israel does? Why did HE exile them throughout much of the Old Testament? He never stopped loving them, He just hardcore disagreed/s with them (and you and I) plenty. Praying for Israel, her blessing, peace and redemption are not synonymous with full support of whatever she does anymore than you would re. your own children. The exact same goes for my nation, the U.S.A..

The true church- More and more I remind people that none of us, including me the last time I checked, own a copy of the Lamb’s Book of Life. God is the only one who truly, fully, certainly knows who is saved or lost, who walks with Him uprightly as opposed to practices and/or lives with hidden, unrepentant sin in their life. I’m not saying we should throw out discernment or never quote the several rather clear biblical “sin lists”, indeed in the New Testament letters to the churches! Not at all. There are those who follow Jesus and those who do not regardless of what sort of local congregation they are or are not part of.

The true church is comprised of all who follow Jesus in faith, love and obedience, not according to your nor my definition of these things. Jesus is the First and Last, the Beginning and Ending of all of this, not you, me nor all of us put together! As I’ve said for years, Thank GOD He’s bigger than the church.

Are there godly and ungodly people? Are there practicing sinners as well as saints, seekers and Jesus-followers in almost every local congregation? Yes. If you aren’t experienced, wise or humble enough to face that reality you might think few or even none but your own favorite flavor of Christian is truly redeemed. That, my friends, is as ignorant as it would be arrogant. God help us!

Consider this in the light of Lent, Good Friday and Easter. All are appropriate in an honest walk with God.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Journaling

The grace of keeping a journal was often lost on me personally until this past year.

Over time I had read and understood, even appreciated the art of writing a diary of sorts, and have in various points during my life done so and found it good.

Yet over the past year with my wife dealing with such intense physical pain and my own day-to-day schedule so re-arranged by it along with general burdens of everyday life, I have found an occasional “writing to God” very therapeutic.

I know He’s up to whatever I write, and have been so blessed to talk straight to Him about my stresses, sins, weakness and over-all need as well as giving thanks for a huge bunch of blessings along the journey.

I may or may not ever read them again, just write them once and file them, but such journals have been life-giving to me.

There are online sources anyone reading this blog can search for and find that will give input on the benefits and even ways/types of journaling, doing it by hand or typing, saving on your varied electronic devices or even in the cloud, emailing yourself and filing in a directory or whatever. There are of course other non-verbal ways to “journal” that don’t seem quite like that’s what you’re doing, such as painting, drawing, etc..

Here are just two articles I found helpful that you may also: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/6-ways-journaling-will-change-your-life.html

-and-

http://stress.about.com/od/generaltechniques/p/profilejournal.htm

Note, I certainly don’t agree with everything in these web articles, especially some of the comments on the 2nd one, but there is still some good insight in both.

Several solid Christian people have taught on this topic for years so have a web search and consider it if you are interested.

Like daily Bible study and prayer, it’s a huge gift to be able to communicate and know God hears… or reads… heh!

Thankful that though our side-garden is cold on this cooler, rainy day in Chicago, it’s deeply green, many flowers are blooming or ready to… and the rich soil is soaking up all that good God-sent water to produce a LOT of beauty. Warmer days will come πŸ™‚

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

D.I.Y. and Retro

I find it interesting that in our massively digitized world many in the younger generations have re-discovered (or perhaps, DIScovered) things like pencils, paper, books, and even stuff like colored pencils, crayons, booklet and paper-making.
All kinds of art and crafting, 30-somethings or older sitting with large boxes of crayons and colored papers are not unusual scenes at present.
 

Funny because like at least a minority of my age (61 as I type) my writing is 99.9 percent typing on my mobile phone, netbook, tablet or on occasion, old pcs with full-size keyboards. I use paper as little as possible and rarely read an article or even look at photos that aren’t on a web-connectable device.

Between aging eyes and loving the various positives of computing (environmental, ease of copying, backing up in several places, cloud computing, the blessing of record-keeping, passing words, photos and sounds most places on earth in seconds and the fact all these machines are backlit:) I deeply enjoy daily use of various versions of the Linux operating system. So I do have an affinity for alternative approaches in some areas.

The younger gens have not rejected tech, they’ve simply also embraced older, I’d say more “natural” artful ways of prose, poetry, even recording and listening to music (the resurgence of vinyl “records”) and analog music gear, etc..

There is of course, often a hybrid thing in both recording and live shows, a mix of computers as well as older amps or newer ones that work hard to look and sound retro, ancient mics, guitars and even 60’s-style recording techniques along with an overlap of modern gear and approaches as well. Most of you know my love for cigarbox guitars and the d.i.y. ethic of building them, playing them and even teaching music concepts on them.
 

Then again, you may not have seen this yet so have a look/listen to a REALLY basic approach to 3 string guitar building: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnOYpG98z4E

I’ve never taken the time and effort to create and use pinhole cameras but that sort of thing fascinates me. They are cheap or even free to make, black and white and various clever elements in picture-making intrigue me.

Typewriters have also come back into vogue- recent weddings where the young set helped decorate with really hip bottles, flower and field grass designs from paper, etc., hand-made table settings of all sorts and where the reception guests were invited to type (!) their advice and wishes to the bride and groom on an ancient Corona.

Then among a number of younger musician friends, we’ve witnessed an increasing love and use of things like accordions, hand-made tambourines or boxes one beats on with hands (ersatz drum), banjos and even washtub basses and the like.

Do-it-youself has always been for crafty people, but there are several values such as community, art, thrift and of course the sheer pleasure of designing something or using something nearly or actually discarded to the extent one makes something truly cool and fun out of it! Useful is also good of course, but utilitarian isn’t so much where I’m going with this blog.

Make Magazine online, Instructables.Com, the venerable Mother Earth News and plenty of other websites offer “how-to’s” galore. I check Distrowatch.Com (Linux, BSD and alternative computing, an army of free downloads, tips, etc.) and CigarboxNation.Com (guitar, bass and other sorts of self-made instruments, photos and more chat and building info. than most will ever need) several times each day to learn more about these things which interest me.

There is a certain satisfaction but I’d also posit, therapy in d.i.y. that just can’t be found in tossing money via and online store or on the counter at a brick-and-mortar that more and more young peeps have tapped into.

Plenty of older folks have appreciated hand-made arts and crafts. It’s interesting what can be done with creativity, imagination, a bit of will, looking around for free or nearly free materials.

Learning old (but new to you) skills and crafts, expressing yourself and eventually teaching others is very satisfying and often even a way of making a living, at least to supplement a day job.

Even if all you discover is a hobby that encourages you in life, stretch out you might find real pleasure via a do-it-yourself creations.

Our Creator has surely embedded creativity in each of us. Give it a go!

 

As always- thanks for stopping by. -Glenn