St. Louis Area Weekend

20140927_12573220140927_125753Just very kind people, great bands, 20140927_170553solid witness, care for homeless folks. 20140927_170850and Sun. service20140928_092253 a gift to me.

Now most of the week with Wendi, then on to Hebron in Indiana with Project 12 staff and students. Looking forward!

Here are some pics from STL and Hillsboro, MO.

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

GK Notes- Creativity and Imagination Class

I’m closer than ever to publishing a separate blog here in Word Press that focuses on Art and Creativity with many links to Christian folks who do likewise, particularly in teaching, missions and the like. Stay tuned, I will publicize it soon as it’s ready for the world 🙂

Meanwhile, as I’ve finished my notes/overview for the upcoming Project 12 Discipleship classes I’m teaching in October on Creativity and Imagination, here is that overview and a few points.

Be aware, what follows here is only the overview- there are a number of core, related verses of scripture, many key definitions, a -lot- of quotes from far and wide as well as several specific exercises we will do to bring it all into practical creative moments together 🙂

For more on P12: http://project12.us/

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Project 12 Creativity and Imagination Class
“The Gathering”- Oct. 2014

GK’s NOTES:

My own thoughts on an artistic, creative life, certainly true in my personal life experience- might be summed up like this:

CLASS ONE
A. Inspiration B. Imagination C. Imitation D. Fabrication

I’m inspired. I begin to imagine an artwork. I may copy one or many different people’s work in order to have a sort of path or road to whatever it is I’m creating. Sometimes I do this consciously, sometimes subconsciously. Then I make “it” and consider it’s value either to myself or if I think it worthy, to/for others.

CLASS TWO
A. Creativity B. Flexibility C. Fresh Ability

Creating (mostly, for me) seems the easy part. Being flexible and willing to begin with X and end up with Y or Z is part of the journey, not always as fun. Through the process of discovery, learning and growing I realize (often in retrospect) that I’ve learned something new (at least to me) about creating. My own “toolbox” has grown larger, I have more “colors” to work with than I did before risking creating in a new, fresh, often collaborative way.

CLASS THREE
A. Learning B. Keeping C. Sharing

Life, in my view, seems either a continual stream or a stagnant mud puddle. Either I’m learning, growing, and regarding what I’m creating, keeping it to myself (not always wrong, sometimes exactly right!) or I’m sharing, gifting someone or someoneS with what I create. This takes patience, knowledge, actual wisdom (what to -do- with the knowledge) and relationships! It seems to me loving God and others via our creativity, art and creative offerings are what creators in THE Creator are all about!

12 Steps?!!

Had a great series of chats a couple of weekends ago, several with a pastor friend of mine about Twelve Step and such programs.

He said some Christian peeps can’t figure out why a person who has been clean and sober for years would still attend meetings. It’s like “Jesus has set you free, what do you need that stuff for”?

He said he’s come to the conclusion that sometimes it may just be God wants him there for younger strugglers who need to see an encouraging example of sobriety, an honest walk with God which by Christ’s grace is what he has.

I agree.

The founders of AA (which of course inspired NA, SA, OA and etc.) were believers who in fact decided that it would be better to bring someone to God in a process that includes at core, for them to face their absolute powerlessness over their addiction, than to let them suffer and in some cases perish with zero help.

The issue is around “God as I understand God”, that is, other religions and various spiritual beliefs (not biblical nor true as per solid Christian faith and relationship with Jesus Christ) where someone may get free of their addiction but not know the risen Christ.

I get that. I even agree with the concern and problem with this. I also don’t think walking by the person in the ditch unless they respond to the Gospel of Christ is what loving one’s neighbor is all about. Ever study the “spiritual beliefs” of the Samaritans? Makes you wonder why Jesus used one as the prime right example to the… wait for it… an “expert in the law” of God. Remember as Jesus tells the story in Luke 10.25-37, it was a priest and a Levite (both of these guys should be truly holy), two out of three who just kept going.

Core points are that the man coming to Jesus asked about inheriting eternal life, what should he do? Loving God and neighbor supremely of course. So the Book tells us he then asked “wanting to JUSTIFY HIMSELF” (which only Jesus and His blood can do…) “who is my neighbor”?

Jesus gives the punchline that is summed up in one word: “mercy”. Actions that demonstrate genuine mercy. On my part, me to you! On your part, you to me! On our part, to whomever our neighbor happens to be.

Oh how easy we dismiss God’s power to use means we dislike to bring positive, healing change to people.

Do I want to be righteous, right, correct in all my theology, doctrine, methodology? OF COURSE. Do I think there is salvation in any other name than that of Jesus Christ? NO. Do I think believers (including myself at times) can be a bit thick and even a bit cold-hearted when it comes to suffering, down-and-out addicts? Indeed I do, as I’ve seen it here and there over my lifetime.

I think my pastor friend got it right.

Further, as each of the steps have solid biblical basis (you can find that by a simple thorough web study if you look) the real question is not why saved believers attend such meetings but why more churches don’t offer them?

By the way, both my wife and I have been there, done that, speak at various such meetings and frankly, I get something good (spiritually, yes) every time I attend one. I have both The Bible and The Big Book (AA) in my Kindle and turn to the second one off and on, reading through and considering the Steps along and along my journey.

Both my need and my need of compassion are met there.

And my Higher Power- Jesus Christ- never fails to show up.

Some things to consider… and thanks for stopping by!
-Glenn

Recording Therapy :)

Most reading this have heard of music therapy, but have you tried experiencing it by process of recording song ideas?

While it’s true not all musicians are also song writers, writing via recording happens and you never know if you have the ability or at least aptitude unless you try.

When you realize there are a -lot- of freeware music programs available for nearly any computer operating system, tablet, phone and such, why not record your song ideas? If you never do anything but consider it an “audio sketchbook” of sorts and allow yourself the freedom and fun of learning whatever instrument(s), singing and vocal techniques, bass, drums, hand drums, uke, harmonica, cigarbox guitar, 1 string diddley bow, spoons, washtub bass, patting your hands on your knees and singing… well you get the picture -errr… sound, ‘eh?

You might really have fun and even encourage others as the result.

See, some people journal (as I just wrote recently) but others might find it as much of a healthy “journaling” experience to record. There are free (yep!) 4 track recording apps for Android devices, free Garage Band (or the like) multi-track recording programs for Mac, Windows and Linux. All you need is a good mic or two, a little time and some ideas to put down in audio form.

I’ve been doing this for years and some peeps actually like my ideas enough they’re often later recorded “for real” in pro studio form.

You really don’t know how a song will turn out until you try. I find creating songs nearly as much fun and satisfying as doing live shows, for me it’s one of the best parts about being a musician.

But you don’t have to spend hours doing it, nor seek to be the next “big deal” nor even to make a living from music. That’s not the point I’m trying to make here.

Think of recording a song as an audio snapshot, a sound-wave form of photography. When you have a bunch of ’em you have an album even if it just sits on your hard drive, or you burn a few cds or email a few mp3s to family or friends.

Lastly, I don’t think I progressed as a musician nearly as much as when I began to record my ideas, play them for others (even non-musicians who love music and gave me kind but honest critique) and so forth. In time I taught myself enough drums, bass, guitar, harmonica and the rest to actually get my ideas pretty well across in demo form.

After some years of this and with a lot of feedback from folks, I began to think I really did have a call on my life to make music, perform it, and even share some of those songs while leading worship.

Sound recording has never been easier for the average person than it is today with modern computing and apps.

Give it a shot )

And thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

“Kerosene”

Kerosene

I am often asked what I’m up to re. recording music, touring and such, so here’s a little inside info.-

Between all our schedules, I am with Ed, sloooowwwwly doing a song or two per week until we build up a fresh cigarbox guitar project. This would be a NEXT YEAR release sometime… we have zero idea when, could be far into 2015… Lord only knows.

So a friend in the music movement sent out a cigarbox guitar-related post yesterday. I happened to get it in my inbox right while taking a 5 min. break at the studio during recording with our first Grrr Records prototype cbg.

I emailed him just that laughing about his timing, and then just on a whim sent him the following lyric to the cbg tune I was recording.

He then said some encouraging things and asked about the imagery. Below you see the lyric and my response.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

KEROSENE
(c) 2014 Glenn Kaiser

Kerosene
Takes me back to the day
Kerosene
Where me and friends used to play

Garden shack out back
Smell of the stove
Laughin’ in an autumn sun
Foggin’ up the windows
All comes back to me
With the scent of kerosene

Babe have you been loved
Do you recollect
Maybe been burned
Cause an’ affect
Remembered though unseen
Like the scent of kerosene

Then there is suggestion
Got to go your way
Pain and rejection
Spreadin’ hell to pay

It ain’t so sweet an’ clean
It can kill
Kerosene

Shane,

When I was in 1st and 2nd grade in a tiny Wisconsin town my best friend had a garden shed in the back yard w. a kerosene stove in it. Lotsa glass windows for the plants. We’d hang out there. Bright, cold days, warm inside.

Glad it never blew up… you could really smell the fuel. Hard to forget that smell.

Lotsa people have lost in love, gotten hurt, bitter, don’t want to even try love relationship again. They don’t forget but worse, get stuck in the memory, an endless loop.

Sometimes they get so self-centered, entangled in that root of bitterness they are just determined they MUST have their way or nothing… ending up angry, empty, with nothing for a life. Hurting, they hurt others. It’s like hell to pay to get very close to them.

The same fuel that warms you can kill you or others. Plenty of metaphors in this.

So this lyric is both a “slice of life” observation as well as warning.

Vivid, pungent scent. Warm fuzzies or Boom!

There you go 🙂

-Glenn

Divine Right?

Something I figured out a loooong time ago (about when I first surrendered to Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior) was that the only One Who has “divine right” (for clarity, see: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/divine+right) is the only One Who -IS- in fact divine.

I have long stated what’s so obvious there isn’t likely a need to explain, simply that our major issue in the western world (as well as most of the rest of it) is we each want to -be- God.

Faith in the west isn’t always linked to loving obedience to the true Christ, it’s linked to self, personal satisfaction, “get-what-I-want-or-else” approaches to relationships of all sorts, marriage, school, work, hobbies, etc., etc..

The kings of England and plenty more rulers wanted/want to somehow sustain position, influence and power, sometimes beyond all else.

Who, in a position of great, small or near-zero influence and power, doesn’t find great motivation and sometimes temptation (self, personal interests) to demand such?

I find such temptation and in some cases, daily life laced with such attitudes world-wide, but in more privileged, opulent nations and spaces it may be more entrenched.

Perhaps some of my readers know about Bishop Romero, a martyr in El Salvador. If not, I was asked and gratefully recorded some on a project worth knowing about that speaks to anything BUT “divine right”, this humble but bold, gracious man (among others brought to light in this amazing project) has much to teach us about loving the poor, outcast and “least of these”. Please see: http://www.themartyrsproject.com/index2.html

I’ve been reading through Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship” again this past week… slowly. This incredible German knew he would end up likely paying dearly, possibly (as he did) the ultimate price for love of God and nation, but what an understanding of sacrifice and service to those in need during the Second World War!

“I was a prisoner and you came to me” indeed. He became a prisoner and martyr when he had ample opportunity and requests for safety and positions of prestige in both the U.S. and England, both places he could have so easily fled and been “in the driver’s seat”.

John the Baptist’s “He must increase and I must decrease” rings in my mind.

Am I saying you or I are in any sense martyrs or going to suffer such? No. AT best, I really have no idea. Or that only “good and Christ-like” leaders, governing authorities and others in power are always loving, gracious and end up martyred? No again.

Truly evil, self-serving dictators in all areas of life are at times killed, come to horrific finality and one would not rightly call such “martyrdom” (say, Saddam for example) but in such cases we might best use the term “justice”. The ultimate drop here is unless one repents and surrenders to the true Divine, ever more justice is coming after our death… however the end comes for each one of us.

Heinrich Himmler personally gave the order to execute Bonhoeffer just days before D.B.’s camp was liberated. Himmler was near-surely an atheist, but he acted-out divine right much as his Furher likely believed he himself to be God.

Bonhoeffer surrendered to His Lord and “decreased” in the best sense though his final “cross” was a hangman’s noose. Himmler may -still- be more famous than Dietrich! Think that’s true in heaven?!

The problem is that “divine right” is not only a concept of ruling powers, it is a concept each of us must surrender in loving obedience to the only One who truly -has- such right by His very nature.

Things to consider as we approach the coming elections regardless who you vote for?

Tozer said it well- if one will be satisfied with an imaginary savior one must be satisfied with an imaginary salvation.

Paul writes in Philippians 2 that Jesus “emptied himself taking the form of a servant”.

That’s right for us all.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Savanna, Polo, IL

RockyJosephKamplingKind credit to Rocky Joseph Kampling for the pic of me here.

Truly another stellar weekend. God, friends, sweet weather, and yep, good music and eats. Nice.

My longtime friend Teach and I were able to spend great time together on the trip from Chicago to the Mississippi River where we had some overlooks on both the Illinois side at Savanna as well as the Bellevue, Iowa side.20140912_17263220140912_181047

The day was overcast and with a bit of light rain, but no issues, I like both.

The next day several musicians and a lot of volunteers, friends and interested folks showed up at a benefit/street concert/auction and general money-raising affair for T-bone of Holy Ghost Riders. He has liver cancer and he and wife Becky seemed quite blessed. You can’t really tell from my pics here but a good many people came out, really cool.

Lots of money needed for treatments, etc. so it was grace and a blessing for me to be part of the event.

The music was cookin’ blues with just a bit of old-time worship and a lot of smiling faces at a sunny, just-cool-enough outdoor spot where Hawg Dawg’s (biker bar) also hosted an auction with a ton of cool, donated stuff.20140913_13355620140913_13375220140913_133728

Person after person bought something via a raffle and gave it back to be re-sold again to help raise the loot. Great hearts, great day.20140913_133622

And the outdoor grill dude cooked us pork chops worth writin’ home about.

I got invited down the street to another biker bar (Iron Horse) to be gifted with a hoodie (really nice one) where my personal fave antique bikes were lined up on 3 levels topped off with a wedding chapel on the top floor!20140913_174617

Then on to Polo, a little farming town south of Freeport where a very kind group came to a Chicago blues guy’s concert! So I mixed in a lot of chat and worship songs I knew they’d know… done mostly on cigarbox and my Altoid tin guitars along with my 2×4 electric diddley bow. They were truly gracious and it was a good evening. Skinny and crew are good people, what a joy to work with!20140914_172046

Another ride back to Chicago and it’s so true… there is just no place like home! But I SO enjoyed the weekend and big thanks to Teach, Skinny and all who made it a gift to me in bringing a gift to others in need.

Here you can see a number of pics I took on the weekend. And yep, Teach is a handsome dude but I just had to get one of the back of his hoodie at the River.20140912_172724

And how about them gas prices in Iowa?20140912_181903 Yo! Grace.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Meditate??

Had a conversation with a bro recently that at core had to do with his worries over the practice of meditation.

As we are both followers of Jesus he was concerned about possible issues of eastern religious practices creeping into Christianity.

While an important matter, the fact is that one can rightly say genuine Hebrew-Jewish-Christian faith traditions are eastern.

Second and more importantly there are a number of references to meditation in the biblical record.

The one I have read and pondered often is in the first Psalm:

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he MEDITATES day and night.”
-Ps. 1.2 (caps = my accent)

Interestingly enough, the entire lyric is a full-on contrast between a godly, righteous and blessed seeker of the true God who bears good, eternal fruit vs. the wicked, unrighteous mocker who doesn’t, who just perishes.

The godly person continually ponders, studies, seriously focuses and considers, spends daily time in the depths (meditates, prays about) God’s Word while the ungodly do not.

Aaaahhh… yo!!

Those who follow Him, those who do not.

On 9/11 and -every- single day… He and His Words… -essential- meditation.

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn