GK Solo Blues @ Chicago Cigar Box Guitar Festival IV

Yep, my set: 5pm Saturday, November 14.

ccbgfest2015

ChicagoCigarboxGuitarFest2015

Hope to see some of you there. Some cookin’ artists, sweet gits, good eats and more 🙂

-Glenn

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2 MAJOR COOL Cigarbox Guitar Blurbs

One a very special git built by my friend Shane Speal with a story attached. The other- this year’s York, PA Cigarbox Git Fest documentary including the blur between pros. and amateurs alike (which I think is SUPER good for a lot of reasons), a bit inside the philosophy of the movement and some very cool new ideas from some good folks. Gives a great feel for the movement. ENJOY, I sure did!

DULCINEA: http://shanespeal.com/blog/blog/the-art-of-the-cigar-box-guitar-mythological-legends

dulcinea

YORK CBG FEST 2015: http://www.cigarboxnation.com/page/2015-pa-cigar-box-guitar-documentary-by-culture-main-york-pa

pafestdocumentary

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

What Do You Mean: “Glory”!?

Many of you would likely agree that one of the ultimate things any individual or group of us who profess to be Christ followers is to glorify God. But consider what an odd concept that must be to those who are not following Jesus.

Glory- that is, the idea of ascribing deep value, worth, praise, honor and indeed worship, all of that is something many humans seek for themselves.

Indeed, Christians can fall into this temptation as easily as those who do not seek Jesus.

In fact I would suggest personal glory is a motivating factor in a great many decisions people make in terms of choosing studies, professions, even hobbies.

We find this in Revelations 4.11: “”Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Some reading this have likely heard and even sung (or as part of a worship team led) the song that this verse inspired, “Thou Art Worthy”.

But what of this word “receive”? How does God get glory given Him as an absolutely deserved offering?

The Book tells us several things about this.

Psalm 19.1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork.”

So we see creation itself brings God glory as well as reflects His glory, honor, power and amazing character.

Isaiah 48.11: “For my sake alone I will act, for how can I allow my name to be defiled? I will not share my glory with anyone else! ”

In other words, God is saying He alone IS God, His majestic essence, honor, power and authority are His alone, there is NO other God nor does any human being measure up to His glory. There is simply no other in heaven or on earth like Him.

But what about Revelation 16.9: “Thus people were scorched by the terrible heat, yet they blasphemed the name of God, who has ruling authority over these plagues, and they would not repent and give him glory.”

This is not a verse you hear quoted often, even among Bible-teaching Christians in or outside of church gatherings. However you interpret it, not nice, not fun and not something anyone would sign up to experience, no? But we have seen in history plenty of people take the “curse God and die” route rather than turn from what HE calls sin, unrighteousness, surrender to Him and note: “GIVE Him glory”.

Part of our accepting His mercy and forgiveness means GIVING HIM GLORY. There is no divorcing the love of God from glorifying Him because He is both The Source of genuine love and therefore worthy of glory.

In my view, self-glorification is one road than can bring us very close to actual blasphemy. As I often mention, we want to BE God. Like the key fallen angel, the devil, we want worship rather that giving worship to the true God.

Christians rightly quote from 1 John, that “God is love”. YES! But all through both testaments, indeed the New Testament, via Jesus, Paul and etc., we see that He does get angry. It is for good cause. Interesting how we allow humans including ourselves, to be angry but God could not possibly have reason to be- and especially GOOD reason to be so?!! We judge our own motives more pure and righteous, or simply ignore, pass over or toss the verses in the New Testament (you really don’t need to go to the Old to see this) which say things such as Paul writes in Romans chapter 1:

18. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

19. since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

20. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

22. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

23. and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

25. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Now before you conclude my focus is “God is mad as H…” I actually don’t think Paul himself is focused on that here, and if you read through in context, you don’t walk away with that as Paul’s main point nor the core character of God. The other thing that is equally often overlooked (in my personal opinion) are the words “glorified” in v. 21 and “”exchanged the glory” in v. 23, and lastly in v. 25 “worshiped”.

Glory is core, worship is core, and one of the things about worshiping God “in spirit and in truth” which Jesus says is what our Father God not only desires but deserves…. has to do with GIVING HIM SOMETHING WE WANT FOR OURSELVES… that often, is glory.

Honor, praise, adoration, even worship is something humans give to the creation, animals, sun/moon/stars, art and artists, the human body, various experiences, on and on it goes. To glorify GOD is so foreign to many because they are no longer the center of their universe as they truly glorify Him.

God HAS given us “all things richly to enjoy”, but there is a point at which we worship the things and do not glorify God nor thank Him for His many incredible gifts.

And that is one way of understanding idolatry and the lie many of us live outside of love, without faithful surrender to God in Jesus Christ.

In the end the true God will be glorified- but in that coming event not all who hit their knees and shout “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2.9-11) will be saying it out of a life they had lived in faith and love while on earth. Oh the tragedy of neglecting the one God who IS God: what could and should have been!

As long as we live He stands at the door and knocks.

Glory to God for His love, grace and the chance to follow Him!

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Diddley Rack!

My latest, most simple electric diddley build ever. It’s a found object slide guitar…

Diddley Rack29 1/2 inches long, very light but solid metal, a total of 4 parts, plus pic and slide:

Towel rack, turnbuckle, acoustic guitar string, portable (packing tape) pickup.Tuner End

Most comfy played in my lap like a pedal or lap steel guitar. And she sounds NICE.

Pickup AttachedFor those not in the know, diddley bows are 1 string slide guitars usually made with a stick, broom handle or a 1 x 2 piece of wood through a cigarbox or cookie tin for a body, some sort of bridge and nut (wood or 1/4 inch bolt or carriage bolt). Sometimes there is no tuner, just a guitar string or bit of wire tied up to nails or screws on both ends of the neck.

On occasion, they are as simple as a 2 x 4 with nails on either end and a bottle or two, or chunk of wood on one or both ends functioning as a bridge and nut, no tuner.

You pluck the string with your fingers or a guitar pick (I favor old credit or gas cards chopped up) or bang on it with a stick or dowel, but you don’t press the string down on the “neck”. In fact you set it up so the string is about 1/3 or more above the neck, and run a small bottle or piece of copper or other metal pipe up and down the string to sound the pitch(es) you want. There are no frets, but you might mark a few spots on the neck to keep straight where you are in terms of pitch or a song melody. VERY simple and free or nearly free instrument.Blues Ready

I do love them, both building, playing and hearing them.

So about six months ago I got a towel rack someone was tossing in the dumpster. Simple, black metal, no bugs.Join The Club!

Today I finally used it with a semi-retired wound acoustic D guitar string (tuned to Db -that’s D flat -or- C# -C sharp if you like), had a little turnbuckle laying around and affixed a portable piezo pickup on ‘er. HA! NICE. “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” sounded out real sweet via my little Honeytone or Pignose Amp.

It IS a disease, but I sure enjoy it!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Hobbies?

This post is largely about me, but perhaps you as well. Maybe. Dunno.

When I hit 18 years of age my typical hobbies were as follows:

Smoking -cigs, cigars, pipes, Indian cigs, grass, hashish, eventually using snuff, various chemical drugs, acid, speed, etc., beer, booze and etc., really anything to get a buzz or fully high

Sex -any possible way

Music -as a fan and musician (by then blues, r&b, soul, rock, folk and variations), singing, playing guitar, bass, drums, harmonica

Friends -many and many sorts, subcultures and etc. but mostly those who had the same hobbies I did

Food -(I still like most and varied kinds)

Exploring people and places -(yep, still), human history via books and visiting various areas often of the sort only locals knew about, asking questions of locals; radio shortwave, am, fm, cb, listening to amateur radio, etc.; tv watching (especially documentaries)

Camping -and on occasion, fishing and shooting.

That pretty much covered it for me.

As I aged, first American football, then soccer (continuing passion as a fan and still occasionally kicking a ball around), hunting, flying kites, and researching what people think and why world-wide (via the internet, other media and personal discussion), playing with Linux computer operating systems and both building and playing cigarbox and found-object guitars and other do-it-yourself, “on the cheap” musical instruments .

I like the idea of fishing but cannot give it much time these days, same for hunting and camping (re. shooting and hunting,not all but nearly every kind of firearm, airgun and bow you might name).

I take a zillion photos and enjoy the memories, but it’s discovery that I really enjoy.

Discovery.

Being open to new experiences, ideas, possibilities -with the understanding that as a follower of Jesus some are cool, some not (Bible is my foundational ethic and study-guide for all relationships and decisions) and personal comfort including that of any culture or subculture must not trump my current, best understanding of God’s will in Christ.

If you know/knew the south-central Wisconsin culture as well as inner-city Milwaukee and now Chicago cultures I have lived in, a lot of my early and current hobbies likely just make sense.

A massive German, then (cities) Polish, Irish, African-American and immigrant populations have all inspired my own exploration of humanity in many forms.

I admit to not thinking hard right or hard left politically but lean strongly left in areas while strongly right in others, far more due to my understanding of scripture and practical application than raw comfort or personal taste as such.

Hobbies are good. Experiences “out of the box” and learning often happen that way. Linking up with people unlike yourself IF you are willing to be kind, ask questions, listen as well as pontificate (I do it all the time, been working on being kind and not talking people’s brains to a mush for years…).

I believe hobbies are like little perks, they afford breaks from the everyday and the sometimes provincial (norm, THIS is HOW we DO THAT and NO OTHER WAY DUDE!) attitudes that sometimes cause more damage than keep us sane, safe and actually feed our (and others) soul.

Continuing to explore, learn and consider different points of view, trying empathize with people unlike ourselves (errr… LOTS of those on the planet and on our block) sometimes happens as we experience or learn about hobbies due to interaction with others.

Yes.

So hopefully today Wendi and I go to fly kites!

Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Let’s Go FLY A KITE!

WendisDeltaFinally a warm, mostly sunny day with a wind blowing well enough to fly but not blow us away or dead calm!GKsMiniDelta

For Wendi to be able to climb the hill and back was amazing after several years of intense pain being barely able to walk. As she has rehabbed from getting two hip replacements, we had an amazing afternoon up Cricket Hill on Chicago’s lakefront.BeautifulGirl1

We’ve got many kites, lots given to us over the years, a few we bought and some just for the kids and grandkids. This day was for the two of us.BeautifulGirl2

We brought 5 different very small and large deltas, an owl OwlKite

and though the wind was a bit sporadic, gusty and we both hit the ground a few times, it IS called “flying kites” not merely “watching” ’em, ha. So due to the wind it took a bit of effort to keep them airborne, but as you see, God does it well and helped us on this sweet day!

Autumn in Chicago with my best friend, can’t be more thankful!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

Spring Cleaning in Autumn

AutumnChicagoOct2015I LOVE this time of year! And I have been thinking about transitions, especially with regard to aging, family, friends, job changes, downsizing, stewardship and such.

As our amazing Mom-in-law passed away last year, my wife slowly has gone through things she kept from her Mom. In 43 years of our marriage and ministry we have a LOT of stuff that we have needed to sort, toss, offer our kids and such.

Recently our community needed a space my wife and fam have used for years, so on the basis of all the above it was time. Not quite finished but close, bless the Lord!

As I come in from tour stuff piles up. I realized I had about 5 small or medium size suitcases that I just did not need. All SORTS of stuff, papers, cds I would never listen to again, books I would never read (some of those given away as they would benefit others) and on it went.

In the first couple times of sorting I tossed 7 large garbage cans (overloaded by the way) of bye-bye stuff that I knew I would never use again and that was almost all of no use to anybody. Yahoo!

Spring cleaning in the autumn 🙂

The funny thing is that at heart I LOVE clean, simple, Danish design and ecological life and living. I mean, we live in intentional community and how much stuff do we have room for?

Seems to me, like most people the answer is “how much room do you have available to fill” in western societies… not that this makes any sense!

I have often mentioned that even in the smallest towns in the U.S. we have massive storage lots, both new and old, where folks essentially rent extra space to keep “all our stuff”.

Like many, we love yard and garage sales, but in the end it’s just stuff, and you won’t take it with you. Maybe worse, it simply gets in the way of sanity and takes a lot of time to just sort out if you let it pile up over the years. Yep.

I am down to 25 cigarbox/found object guitars, many very small, hung up on my office walls. I only kept what I will either use, gift someone with or sell. Each of them have specific meaning but also purpose and value to me and in some cases, others. I threw away a boatload of other home-made gits, finished, half-built and such, just keeping parts for future use.

12 amazingly cool boxes and about 6 tops for future builds are part of my kept stuff. Any computer parts, clothes and such I knew I would never use went out the door. Nice!

It can be difficult to do such cleaning, but like spiritual rubbish, we each benefit by (as the 12 Steps say) “taking fearless inventory” on a regular basis so that burdensome, unneeded junk doesn’t clog our lives and spill out to affect others.

Yes.

Little by little, we see progress.

Now, back to work for me, ha!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The “Common”

It’s understandable that reading what I read may not take your mind to places mine goes.

We all have our individual life experience. Sometimes there is great overlap in thought process, sometimes not so much.

Yesterday and today I read a couple articles that on the surface may seem mutually exclusive but what they spawned in my brain is what I will blog on here.

The two articles:

https://medium.com/bad-words/why-twitter-s-dying-and-what-you-can-learn-from-it-9ed233e37974

-and-

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/5-big-misconceptions-about-community

Umair extrapolates on the nastiness and sad consequences of social media abuse via language and lack of compassion and grace.

Kristi gets the crosses in community and I think gracefully dispels the “instant” approach to relationships.

In very essence, beyond a lot of strong and I think correct points being made (with a few I disagree with in each) there is this underlying thread that to me is core to the problem of ANY relationship human-to-human: attitude.

Attitude is the one thing you can (or cannot seem to in either yourself or others) control.

In Galatians 5 Paul writes one of the fruits God the Holy Spirit grows in the life of a Christ follower is “self-control”. One of the others is, of course, love.

The fact is that on web-based social media, in Central Park (New York City) or main street Podunk U.S.A., even in the middle of a jr. college campus in small-town America much less in a marriage or close community (church, Elks Lodge, whatever) you CANNOT fully control or censor thought, attitude and finally speech or some other form of communication.

People protest “with their feet” by quitting a relationship, job, band or whatever on any number of grounds, but always and always attitude, then civility or lack of it in communication (or zero communication) punctuates and either uplifts and solidifies or wrecks and at times ends the relationship.

In business it can cost millions. In governments, billions or trillions. In war, lives and the futures of millions of people not even involved in the conflict in any direct sense.

Attitude. Grace. Honesty. Humility. Giving room to talk straight. Forgiveness. Venting but not “scorched earth”, blitzkrieg and guerilla-like sniper tactics. In other words, not terrorism but honest dialogue.

In the end you may fully disagree. Can you still be friends? Do you truly even WANT friendship?

Marriages, families, social media groups, businesses, church and mission societies, kibbutzes, you-name-it, community and gracious but difficult communication and on-going forgiveness, for that matter commitments that both parties/sides/groups actually WANT to be linked, to be friends, co-workers for a lifetime even if miles apart… this is the stuff of community that I find both daunting yet very, very possible, doable and favorable.

Attitude, is what both unites and separates people. What we share in common can be the glue while at time passes, it may well be we do not share X, Y or Z in common any longer and there’s the rub. Can you love and be loyal while yet disagreeing? What hills are truly worth dying on and dying for?

Each of us chooses, there is no escaping life among others who are of course, as flawed as you and I are!

On one hand “How can two walk together if they are not in agreement?” while on the other “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell together” in the sense of love and unity.

Indeed.

It takes effort, not mere romance, imagination, fad-chasing or “looks like FUN” for the epoxy of the Spirit to happen between us.

Part of that effort is knowing when to pray and hush, when to speak but check attitude, choice of words, tone of voice, timing and whether or not the relationship is worth keeping. Really.

God commands us to love one another, forgive one another, out of love to serve one another throughout The Bible. We all know this and most believers truly get it.

The issue is living it out relationally one day, one decision, one moment at a time.

For any honeymoon to become, flourish and continue growing in a truly nurturing marriage these things must be faced and lived out.

Crosses are real. So are kisses. One thing leads to another and round it goes again 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn