Prisoner

In many jail and prison sessions bringing music and a message of hope, I have found myself repeating this truth:

“The only gut-difference between me and you is you got caught and I got saved.”

I mean it.

In my B.C. years I played plenty of illegal games- from vandalism to drugs, sex, thievery, blowing off legal working hours on my paper route… even ripping off a person or two in drug deals at the end of those days (I was the dealer). My sense of “legal” much less “ethical” could have landed me in jail any number of times.

Then there was the company I kept back then. From driving stolen cars, accessory to breaking and entering, really there were a long list of things I either perpetuated or was part of that could have landed me in juvenile hall, jail or even prison on many occasions.

Not to mention ethics (nearly NONE…) which in the face of temptations, never much “got in my way”. When you are your own God, that’s the way things are.

All of this is some 43 years in my past, pre-Christ-follower.

I was, in fact, my own mobile prison, or put another way, both prisoner and warden of my own captivity.

Lies? I would tell my mother I was in Milwaukee when I was in Madison (80 miles apart) in a drug house, going to block parties and dope events with other burnouts like myself. For a couple of days.

Guilt? Plenty. Guilty? Absolutely. I made a whole lot of selfish and stupid choices, nearly died over several of them. There were times I was so loaded if someone claimed I had killed 3 people the day before I could not have honestly denied nor affirmed the reality of it either way, I was far too high, eventually unconscious and just had no memory of what had happened after a certain point in that past day.

That was then, and how I THANK GOD!!

Here is what Paul writes to arguably, one of the most blessed, gifted yet chaotic, messed-up city full of Christians. The context is clearly about believers, not pre-believers by the way:

1 Corinthians 6.9-11

9. Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10. thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. 11. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

I do not exaggerate even a little when I say I participated in each and every one of the things mentioned here, at least -would have- in proclaiming myself bi-sexual appx. the last 2 years in high school. That, and the only other exception was adultery, which according to Jesus we do simply by our eyes and lusting after someone else’s spouse. For that matter, any sexual contact you have with another outside of marriage is often in the end, likely sex you had with -someone else’s future wife or husband-.

See, a biblical, Christian relationship with both Christ and others is not always “whatever” nor lauded as pure and wonderful within New or Old Testament teaching. Neither of us may like it, but God is not a designer God whom we can pretend thinks as we do about issues.

And the kicker in the text I quote… whew… Paul is writing Christ-followers, such as they are in terms of maturity, immaturity, obedience or slacking in it towards God and His Word, saying “THIS is what some of you USED TO BE”, past-tense. Hmmm? He has just said peeps who practice these will not inherit the kingdom of God.

There are in my view, massively slack arguments that the scriptural phrase “kingdom of God” never ever refers to heaven… but I digress.

WHO IS KING? WHO “calls the shots” in my life, in the churches, in The Church?

“THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is the prayer Jesus taught His listeners, learners (disciples) to pray.

I do think my major problem has always first been… my self. It is the worst train-wreck I have even come close to knowing, and a great deal of personal choices and decisions come down to facing this truth.

Either we are spiritually and practically formed by the Word… or we form it. Either we read and to the best of our honest abilities, appropriate what we understand in the Bible or we create our own. Or discard it entirely.

Welcome to the jail/prison cell of self-design. Been there, done that.

“For those who have ears to hear, let them hear”.

Yes, for the LOVE of GOD… in view of God’s love for you… surrender to Jesus and watch what He does in your life. The true God is the only competent GOD there is! You and I? We build pretty good prisons, only we name them “freedom”.

Jesus said: “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8.31,32

Things to consider as we consider the paths we choose.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Jesus- Liberal?!

In many countries and certainly the U.S., this term “liberal” has become simply and only thought of in a political context. No doubt there is a portion of the populace who understand it in other ways. One dictionary offers this:

“LIBERAL”
Origin 1325-75; Middle English Latin līberālis of freedom, befitting the free, equivalent to līber, free

(adjective) 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.

I would say these accurately describe Jesus with the exception of the word “political” but certainly re. “religious affairs”. Then again, His life, teaching, acts and love absolutely got in the face and threatened the political powers of both Israel and Rome in His days of ministry so we cannot fully claim Him “apolitical” in that sense.

Yes, in the truest sense, spiritual progress and reform- “liberal” quite fits Him, like it or not.

Have you ever picked up that there are things in scripture, U.S. political positions (Dem., Rep. Tea and the rest) that I take personal issue with, things in the very Word of God, even Jesus’ own words that I DISLIKE? I do. So what?! I am no more God than any reading this. Sometimes we have to face the fact we are plain wrong, or out of balance one way or the other, ignorant of elements of a position or just hard-hearted and want our way, considering all others “the enemy”.

Jesus knew who His enemies were and why they took such a position. He interacted, spoke with, ate with and even brought healing to a number of them. Some began friends and ended up enemies, some vice-versa and in the end “He didn’ț entrust Himself to humankind because He knew what was in the hearts of humankind”. (John 2.24,25)

 None is righteous, not even one. We all often make mistakes. All through the Bible and human history this is clear as can be.

So… don’ț we somehow “get off” on vilifying our enemies? Jesus rarely spoke anything you could call “trash talk” about those He disagreed with, but that is SO unlike humans.

Yes, I think Jesus was truly liberal in the best sense of the word- He gave grace and mercy to those who in NO WAY earned it, He called us to share what we have with those in need and both demonstrated compassion yet directly confronted some downright wicked people. He was not doing anything to jockey for position “but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2.7)

Does this sound like you… or me? I mean overall, is THIS the attitude we walk around with?

How quickly we are ready to fight. “Love your enemies? Turn the other cheek? Do good to those who hate you? Pray for your enemies?” IS THIS HOW WE TRULY LIVE AMONGST ONE ANOTHER?!

Shall I love them conservatively or liberally? Hmmm.

I argue Jesus poured out His blood liberally. “He died once FOR ALL” though true enough, “not all have faith” and not all will (or in this life nor after life) FOLLOW Him. Not all will deny themselves. Not everybody will pick up their cross. Faith, hope, love and indeed obedience to God via His Son and the Word of His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit (whom we can both obey as well as grieve and/or quench in our lives) is NOT common nor shall it be on this earth. It is far more common to build castles, moats, pull up the drawbridge and fire salvos at the attackers.

What happens when it is God Himself knocking on your door?

How I and you, dear reader, respond is what it’s all about.

Reform, godly sorrow that works repentance, change of heart and even attitude toward others is what (in the practical) has changed my own life from a train-wreck to one of peace and a growing awareness of my continuing deep need for more of Jesus.

In all this, He calls me to serve others in the best ways I am able and to leave petty pecking-order nonsense outside the door.

I think by God’s grace, I am making progress. Wow… imagine that! 🙂 Glory: to God.

As always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Options

One quite obvious fact of life in 2015: the amazing amount of options available.20150417_101253

I suppose in one sense the world has always produced vast opportunities to think, speak, live and experience alternative hobbies, lifestyles and etc., but with the internet and travel possibilities that now exist, perhaps it’s never been so easy to discover new things to consider and try out.

Never quite so easy -or quick.

If you have access to a library and library card (in most U.S. cities) you can get online and “the world is your oyster” as the old saying goes.

Discovery, experience surfing (hey, “couch surfing”) has become for many a way of life.

Of course exploring, discovery and learning has happened from the time of Adam. Consider the negatives (a certain forbidden fruit in a garden) all the way to say, in the past century, penicillin.

As always there are uplifting and shall I as a Christian say “righteous” as well as enslaving or merely waste-of-time-and-energy options to be considered, enjoyed or discarded.

Who’s to say which is which, right?

In much of the world -Western societies especially, I and I alone (when I’m of age) say -that’s “who”!

Nothing new under the sun, only it seems to me, it’s accelerated. Maybe not, but this is my personal sense at this point in time.

Again, God, even my concept of God (or “if there IS a God” you may be thinking) it’s just one of many options of faith and belief, right?

I don’t personally believe this is only an option, but it’s my observation that this is the ethos many live in.

Perhaps anything inconvenient to my own false sense of deity is offensive and in the end, it’s all optional?

Interesting that hell is optional (to believe in) or even non-existent -but for many who don’t believe Jesus even mentioned it (errr… you missed some study in the four Gospels) heaven is a given. “EVERYBODY is going there!” Hmmm?!

God is forever INclusive but never EXclusive.

Hmmm again.

Of course I’m an old hippie Jesus freak who is “likely a fundy”, (not) traditionalist” (rarely) and “legalist” (you truly don’t know me, my theology nor even my political positions if you think that). Yeah, and he (me) is writing all this when in fact he’s laying out his rationale (dry old modernist philosophy… yawn) as an apologetic for HIS OPTION on life! Yeah… that’s it. And don’t label ME!”

Heh… but you dear reader wouldn’t be labeling me now would you:)?

See how easy it is to judge and actually -generate- options to a person, persons, a position?

O.k., so is your and my impending DEATH an option?

No, not trying to scare you into faith, trying to simply state a fact that’s nearly impossible to contradict though we’re all rather contradictory as humans with massive options at our disposal.

I think it may be important to consider non-options in life as human beings.

After that, consider how you’re going to surf in the process of certain non-options over which we really have no control. All of us do and shall experience a number of ’em.

Then perhaps you would be willing to have serious discussion about “right”, “wrong” and peace in a world of conflict and indeed, conflicting options.

Consider this blog post is another option to ruminate on -and truly, thanks for stopping by 🙂

-Glenn

Live Video Clip of GK Solo- “Leavin’ Blues”

April 14, 2015
Well… new in terms of recording for a release, but here is a Leadbelly song I have been doing live on cigarbox guitars for a couple years now and just recorded for a new solo blues project. But later on that, it will take time to get that totally finished.

Anyhow, did a few songs along with other Grrr Records artists the other night here at Everybody’s Coffee on Wilson Ave. in Chicago for longtime friend John Thompson’s new book release.

Actually did not notice they were filming it, so a surprise for me -sound just taken off the camera but you get the basic idea.

Using the amazing Shane Speal 3 string cigarbox git straight into my Zeppelin Design Labs “Percolator” amp, an empty ( 🙂 ) Nivea deodorant bottle courtesy of Lufthansa Airlines.

The clip is in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glennkaisersolo

Hope to see some of you in Beloit this coming Saturday night. Info on that in the “Shows” section at GrrrRecords.Com as per usual.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

I SEE RED

I relate to Rich Mullins on a number of levels, not on others, but what I could have done and would have done in a heartbeat if God had ever made it clear to me it was His calling would have been to live, serve and love on Native American or (in Canada) First Nations land with a people whom I deeply appreciate and respect. Rich chose to live and serve in such a way for a number of reasons, but in terms of genuine care and compassion, I deeply appreciate that he did so.

I am in no way ignorant of historical sin, tribe vs. tribe atrocities, many cultural customs we (Christian whites especially) consider outright demonic among indigenous culture. But I will tell you bluntly- “civilized” people of Euro-ethnic stock have quite the checkered past which in my view is certainly equal to and in some cases MORE evil than any I have found in “savage” culture.

“To whom much more is given, much more shall be required”. Indeed.

My personal study of history leads me to the opinion that those with the greatest military might and desire to gain ever more power, land and wealth tend to scourge the earth and it’s people the most completely.

All this to say there is in all my years only one time I wish I had put my own foot down about a lyric we changed on a REZ Band song, creating what I think was a truly good lyric and song… but I let the original lyric and title go, somehow not even saving a single copy.

For many reasons, this lyric should have ended up on one of our records with strong accompanying music.

The other day my longtime friend Jon Trott dug out a load of very old cassettes, several rough mixes from REZ Band, circa 1987… and I had thought this lyric was gone forever. I think it has it’s flaws, but I stand by it and perhaps will set it to music at some point.

God forgive us, God have mercy on our nation of colonists.

-Glenn

I SEE RED
glenn kaiser
1987

Ghosts of a thousand nations
Crying in the wind
And the faces
Are getting paler
As -our- tribal truth sinks in
We tore the threads of humankind
Brought the faith
So dipped in blood
Some places urban ghetto streets
Are lined
With true Americans

First the balm
Then the bullet
And the lie
That killed them dead
First the balm
Then the bullet
I see red

We used the land of the Spirit
We claimed it to possess
They gave thanks for it’s sustinence
We squeezed it ’til it bled

Concentration-Reservation camps
Smallpox blankets
For their beds
We left them hungry
In their bellies
By the war we fueled and fed

First the balm
Then the bullet
Then the lie
Up in our heads
First the balm
Then the bullet
And I see red

The sickness
Of our race
To conquer
Even exterminate
Too many histories
Tell the tale
Of the women, children that we killed
The power
Of the white man
And the slaughter of the brave
They were civilized with injustice
In marked and unmarked graves

Sometimes at night
I hear the wind
Of a past I cannot change
Faces flash before me
Entire nations burn in flames
The dignity of mankind’s dreams
Has the scent of mockery here
There were savages on both sides
Misery and tears

And the balm
And the bullet
Far too many
To count the dead
When the balm
Then the bullet
Bled them dead

I see
I see

I see red
Red
Red
Red
I
See
Red

I see red