LOVE and WRATH?

For starters, this is NOT about Clinton or Trump!!!

It’s about here and hereafter.

It’s this -and- that, sun -and- cloud, clear -and- rain, life -and- death. This is reality regardless how we seek to mentally, emotionally or spiritually re-arrange the dynamic truth of it.

Just read a sad tale of a lady who as a little girl ran right into the shock/horror/pain (very real and understandable) of seeing death up close and personal. Followed by her Christian mother tearing apart her room and ripping up her journal some years later with incredible rage over her writings which seemed demonic to her mother. The now older woman writes that she still does not believe there is a God.

Paul in writing letters to believers said a LOT of stuff… and both sides of life in this broken world show up… in the extreme:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1.3)
[He goes on to say one part of experiencing comfort in the midst of suffering is to bring empathy and understanding for others later on…]

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1.18)

Yet in Romans chapter 8 (plz see vs. 31-39 for the whole picture) verse 39 Paul writes: [nothing…] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We also hear John in Revelation 6.1-11 and again in chapter 19.11-16 clearly speak of God’s righteous anger and judgment, indeed wrath upon humans as well as a rather clear look as to -why-.

Lastly, Jesus is quoted on this subject on several occasions in the Gospels (GOOD News…) but perhaps the most obvious is at the same time deeply comforting OR painfully distressing:
(my CAPS for emphasis)

16 For God SO LOVED the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to SAVE the world through him. 18 Whoever BELIEVES in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

And in verse 36, also attributed to Jesus Christ Himself- Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

When you are the true God, you are utterly holy, righteous in all your thoughts and judgments. NOT SO WE HUMANS. And that’s the rub- we want it our way with zero repercussions. Love for me, “justice” [vengeance, perhaps suffering??!] for my enemies or at least those I judge as being “the lessers”.

Reaping what one sows flies in the face of mercy BUT/AND living a life in and out of God’s love reflects His mercy.

Faith in Him, trusting in His forgiveness, forgiving others, walking when you can barely crawl… this has made my life worth living and I fully expect eternally with Him and His people as well REGARDLESS of past, present or future circumstances.

In a fallen, sinful, broken world, one in which we so want to BE GOD -we likely think the only righteous anger is our own. Disbelief and unbelief is a normal, understandable response when we are in agony, when we suffer, when our loved ones suffer, when we read about the horrible injustices in our world- and not only at present but as one studies human history from the time of Cain and Abel.

I am deeply thankful The Bible tells enough of the story, both sides of it- to help us navigate both realities of everyday life.

Perhaps worth considering? As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Weekend Report, Larry Howard Benefit Next!

I know this weekend report is getting to be “same old” but again, I just can’t say enough good about the kind folks in all three of this past weekend appearances. Just so very kind, receptive and the norm, meeting old friends and new.

Fri and Sat we went indoors re. the weather reports so the intense heat wasn’t a problem.

Sun a.m. a very kind church and I finished with a blues song that leaves the challenge of loving people as our legacy. Genuinely affirmative response.

So now on to Florida in support of my friend and fellow bluesman Larry Howard who battles cancer. He and his sweet wife Peggy have been friends for many years and all I can say is I hope if you cannot make it to the Sunday benefit shows, auction and such in support of them, please consider sending some loot to help. The expenses are massive for treatment.LarryHowardBenefit

Please send some prayers up for them, dear mutual friend Skip Frye who is making this all happen, and for all traveling to be part of this worthy effort!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

My Core View: POLITICS

Here come the U.S. elections once again. My thoughts follow-

CHURCH DIVIDES
First let me say I just about fully Hate “church politics”.

With understanding why/how folks have to make decisions in any association, at some level there may well be and need to be a framework/grid for any association, therefore politicizing the issue/s.

Yet the motives can be (“all have sinned”, do sin) suspect and at times the petty personality clashes, unwillingness to truly hear one another and come to (yes) that sometimes evil/maligned term “compromise”… means some will end their association. Certainly that is EXACTLY what God Himself wants in some cases. Scripture speaks to this.

But the very same goes for any group of people in any part of spiritual OR civil society. People are imperfect, decisions get made you/I/we don’t like and perhaps even seem deal-breakers and so separation results.

There IS a time for that (Ecclesiastes and other Bible texts are clear.

Then there are the piddly little disagreements and all-too-often “pecking order”, who gets THEIR WAY is often the deciding factor as opposed to God, His Word and to the best current ability of all involved, let us continue, grow, move on as opposed to split.

CIVIL DIVIDES
Face it, marriages, families, near and far relatives, churches, civic organizations, businesses, bands, fraternal orders, sewing clubs and of course entire nations have fought Civil Wars (of some sort) over such things.

So we might say “UNcivil” is the way things have gone on the U.S. (and other national, regional) political scenes over the past couple decades. Some reading this last line will say “Really? How about since Cain and Abel?” -and I wouldn’t disagree.

TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE
First off, there is the sad view- understandable… that many have just given up, refuse to engage in studying candidates and who will not show up in any (or most) elections to cast their vote.

While I have on rare occasion abstained I do not believe anyone has right to complain nor castigate candidates and positions who have themselves removed their voice by removing their vote. If one truly has zero opinion or sees absolutely no candidates anywhere (write-in??) in sight for a particular post, sure, don’t bother. But hush when it comes to voicing complaints later because unless you are literally DOING something locally to help meet the needs you are most concerned about which the presiding office-holder/s seem to be botching up, you are (here comes my only harsh slam in this post) essentially a whining windbag rather than someone who actively participates in the (in the U.S.) democracy you likely think the best form of government.

If you are very young and support a hardcore anarchy, I would say by abstaining you effectively gut and sterilize your own ability to effect actual change. Then again, other anarchists may disagree with your own chosen view on issues… hmmm?

MY VOTE
That last point also goes for Democrats, Republicans and Independents -and I fall into the last category and have for the majority of my voting years.

See, I do not publicly support a presidential candidate because my own over-reaching concern are the views, policies and most of all, faith, hope and love of Jesus Christ.

Like many in the world, we are “damned if we do and damned if we don’t” when speaking to a larger public audience.

I have stated consistently that I personally think I can drive very large trucks through BOTH U.S. political parties platforms, in at least four areas re. both sides of the aisle.

Those who believe political positions are “words for FIGHTIN’ Bubba” have only to check FaceBook, etc., to see what political nastiness, propaganda and mud-slinging does for anyone caring about faith, hope, love and any real sense of justice in my nation or for that matter, the world which our nation truly and deeply affects.

Our own people are so sharply divided on issues that for me to voice a hard political position not only divides them from myself, but one another yet further.

At this point (if you’ve read this far) you may think “Glenn- dude, you’re copping OUT man”. My response to that is you’re not listening. “A listener, a learner” is the core meaning of the term Jesus uses in the Gospels for “disciple”.

I take issue with both parties as there are agendas (beyond the personal agendas possible, perhaps probable) I find fault with as I survey the width and depth of the Bible’s clear teachings about love, mercy, forgiveness, patience, and at core, GRACE which is essentially UNearned favor.

I hear a great many shouting, demanding people who seem to be talking out of rage and/or fear, not faith. CERTAINLY there are practical issues both parties are talking about, but in the end- in my personal view, it must come down to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” rather than tacit agreement or self-defense to the point of brutality and for that matter, a “bunker” mentality which decides that other guy/lady/kid/group isn’t WORTHY of kindness or grace.

Neither is anyone reading this WORTHY… and unless we learn how to live out “love is patient, love is kind, does not demand its own way” when at times that last point is the gut-motive-fact in our choices, we will likely make the wrong choice both at the polls and in our own personal lives, families and communities.

I have a great many longtime friends all across the political spectrum and I seek to remain friends though at times I fully disagree on what I consider major points of policy but more so, attitude and behavior towards people who do not share their views. It is a very difficult thing loving your enemy, but it is the very command of Jesus Christ.

What have I done, shall I do this election season? What I have done most of my days:

Pray. Study the issues. Listen to all sides of a divisive issue. Try to put myself in the shoes of both people/groups. Try to get a handle on the character of the candidates. Work at considering the content of the points raised understanding the old phrase “They’ll say ANYTHING to get elected” and yet voting in accord with my own conscience for those I think may best (in NO WAY fully) line up with Christ’s Own core policies…

Again, I have zero interest in people piling on either candidate with “more heat than light” statements and I have friends on both sides of the divide who think they “do God service” by doing so. Nothing new under the sun.

May WE have mercy on one another… I am not half as concerned that God will forget to.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

One Last Reminder, Show Changes for Danville, Illinois Tonight & Tomorrow

Again, tonight’s show and now tomorrow night’s (GK solo blues) are indoors due to possible rain and excessive heat forecasts.

Tonight (Friday) has been moved (diff. address than prior) to 535 S. Bowman Ave. Danville, IL and we begin at 6:30pm If needing more info.: 217.497.6712 This show benefits local rescue mission, but is free, no cover charge.

Tomorrow (Saturday) will be at 100 N. Franklin St., Danville, IL 61832 but now is indoors in the gym at that address. Showtime Sat. is 5pm and more info. can be had if needed at: 217.442.0541

Sunday a.m. I lead worship and bring the message at the same address as above (Friday), Bowman Ave. D-ville.

And that’s all for now 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! If you’re in the area, may you stay dry… and cool in the Illinois heat! -Glenn

This Sat. Danville ILLINOIS…!

FRI. Dan First’s backyard -or if rain, stay tuned cuz there will be a new (5 mins. from his house) address where we’ll be indoors (and in a.c.)!

SAT. it is indeed Danville ILLINOIS (yep, I’m shoutin’) and -not- Danville, VA which was the link I mistakenly put up at first. There are apparently two First Pres. Church Danville/s in two different states!!!

Please forgive my blunder! HERE is the FaceBook addy for 1st Pres. Danville, IL this Saturday at 5pm… which again, if weather is poor, we’ll be indoors there at the same address:    https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-Presbyterian-Church-Danville-Illinois/281788761842162

SUN. is indoors at Community Church of God Danville (you guessed it…:) Illinois!

Ok, there you go. Will update new location for Friday show If/As needed.

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

Wisconsin Pics, Danville, IL Next

WisconsinSunsetSuch great peeps in Platteville, Wisconsin! Rolling farm country, great cookout, chats, sweet service and block/party/park gig on the afternoon.BurgersBratsYum

It was also “cool” in that it actually cooled off after some rocking middle-of-the-night storms rolling through. The thunder/lightning was quite rocking, but nice breeze and sun came out Sunday morning and a truly fun time was had in the town park.ParkFolks

1959Maggy

I had not seen nor heard one of these amazing amps since being in my first band at 13 years of age! Loran’s cool Magnatone.

Loran also had a few other interesting friends out at his farm:)

SheerCoolness

So this upcoming weekend Fri, Sat and Sun we have some great events happening in Danville, Illinois. You can find details here in my blog or at:

http://grrrrecords.com/shows

And if you can help financially or hopefully be at the event- the following weekend I will be in Florida for the Larry Howard benefit. Very special people, Larry and Peggy Howard, and in his battle with cancer needing support. Again, details via the Grrr Records shows addy above.

Grrr also lists other Grrr Records artists there, but you’ll see my shows as well.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

August Shows Update

Pic by Tony Taylor, Ascendent Instruments, Potomac, IL (named this one "Midnight") !
Pic by Tony Taylor, Ascendent Instruments, Potomac, IL (I named this one “Midnight”).
GK Solo/Jammin' Blues
Saturday August 6-13 (GK 6th - 12th) Sturgis, SD
Sturgis Motorcycle Week
Many other great blues artists
Music For the Soul Stage
1441 Main St. Sturgis

GK Solo Blues
Sunday August 14 Byron, IL
Blues Bonfire 6 - 9p.m. @ 3998 E. Mockingbird Lane
GK plus Karl & Wendy Ropp
Entrance fee: 1 or more cans of food to benefit
Bread of Life Food Pantry & Soup Kitchen
281.389.7518

GK Solo Blues
Thursday August 18  Chicago, IL
Argyle Street Night Market, Uptown
(Argyle St. between Kenmore & Sheridan Road) Market runs 5 - 9pm
GK exact set time tba
w. our friends at Missio Dei https://www.mduptown.com/

GK Solo Blues
Saturday August 20 Berwyn, IL
Benefit show (for exterior renovations)
-Dinner and show will be $20 per person - 6pm
need to call 708-788-7009 to make reservation and prepay by 8/15
-Show Only will be $12 per person at the door - 7:30pm
The Nite Light Arts Center 
7009 Ogden - Berwyn
708-788-7009 
Www.thenitelight.org 
Www.Facebook.com/nitelightartscenter

GK Solo Blues
Saturday August 27, Sunday August 28 Tremont, IL area
Sat. night private show
Sun. a.m. & Sun. p.m. details tba

Tour Endorsements!

20160714_114625Full-on joking here, just thinking about some peeps/biz interests that could work for me, sponsorship sort of deals:

Coffee- fair-trade, usually dark roast. Thick. Too many “brands” to choose only one.

Dr. Bronner’s- (hippie) soap which I fully enjoyed… the mint variety… on this hot day in Chicago. I use it a lot, small bottles when I travel as well.

Vernor’s- diet gingerale… diet Cheerwine- (imho the best cherry cola-like beverage on earth.

Some bullet-proof dive rib-tip joint here in Chicago… too many to name or even pick one, but hey, love dat bbq!

Da Bomb -absolutely killer-hot concentrated sauce. A very small bottle lasts me over a year.

CBGitty- friends and The One-Stop cigarbox guitar shop, they got it all or you don’t need it.

Home Depot- cheap stuff to build gits and shelves and whatever.

MicroCenter- where Linux and Android peeps such as I get flash drives, etc. cheap.

Craigslist- where any of us can get anything cheap.

Chicago Fire (MLS pro soccer/football club), U.S. Men’s National Team (soccer). LOVE ’em!

I could go on but have already bored you to tears.

So thanks for stopping by and see you on the road perhaps 🙂 -Glenn

The Problem of “Christian” “Music” (and the Arts)

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. -Jesus Christ, Luke 6.45

Hmm. In this (among other scripture texts) the context might be considered negative though of course the positive is also possible. For there to be good news there is also the opposite.

Maybe the deeper and more troublesome problem is the artist… or beholder… the actual artwork not so much? Well let’s think a bit more.

What’s inside the creator (or Creator) eventually comes out via words and other creative works of art.

Communication is going to happen whether we work against it or not, and some of what we communicate reflects Jesus or at very least, His nature and values -or not.

This is equally important re. those believers who happen to be legalists, hard-nosed, at times outright harsh in both how they act (character), in their relationships, in their attitude toward other Christians well as toward “un” or “pre”-believers.

On to the art itself-

Does most -all- art mirror a decadent culture? Certainly in -every- culture, some IS either morally bankrupt or in that general ballpark.

Hey, The Bible itself both reflects the nature of God, the nature of God in those who love and follow Him… AS WELL AS the nature and acts of those who do not.

Therefore it seems foolish and harsh to simply judge an art offering on the basis of whether it somehow “reflects Father, Son and Spirit” because even the very Word of God often projects and mirrors the horrors of unregenerate humans. If The Bible narratives depict both light and darkness how is it art must not?

As in Jesus’ own speaking, art is often quite symbolic, often communicates in parable form. Again, if we are going to demand all subtlety and metaphor be scrubbed out of all communication and art, we have gutted one of the very methods Jesus used to speak truth into mythology, light into darkness, love into a world often tragic in its lack.

Some art mirrors a sick, tragic society back at itself, and this often offends plenty of Christians. Truth is, no matter what you produce someone will be offended. You might think “No, some stuff is so feeble and bland nobody will even care”. But of course some of you are reading this with the thought “is he not going to talk about the lousy, grade E, “Christian” propaganda masquerading as “art”? So you are already offended by the slop some put out there be it music, painting or whatever, right?

I’m only skimming the surface because there are difficulties for any of us in dealing with artistic offerings of all sorts depending on your theological view -or even your ability to think very deeply about an artistic work.

With or without a faith, personal opinion and taste massively figure in to our judgment of artistic quality though plenty of us either aren’t aware of it or “spiritualize” why we dislike a work.

So what DO I mean by the problem of “Christian” “Music”… and yes, both sets of quotation marks (as in the title of this blog) are there for a reason.

Here is my A, B and C on the matter:

A)
Many say the problem of Christian music is dual: much of it seems neither “Christian” in terms of core worldview, nor “music” in terms of actual artistic value.

To my Christian brothers and sisters, can we not agree that Christ by His own model of life and words is the best judge of who (or what) is truly based in and reflecting of Him? We can only do our flawed best to understand these from what we actually know of Him, His Word, His character.

Deny it if you will, but we all make judgments that lack His love, wisdom and discernment no matter how steeped in the Book or full of the Spirit we may truly be. If you wish to debate this point, you must then face your own sense of literal perfection. In such case, you are either too arrogant or too ignorant to bother listening to any other view -as yours is the very view of God in the here-and-now! Rubbish. Nonsense. When did your judgment abilities literally equal that of God Himself?

“We have the mind of Christ” does not mean we never make mistakes or indeed, sin in our thoughts and judgments my friends!

God being the Creator of all art modes, the Giver of inspiration and Truth itself- He is THE Premier “art critic” -while at the same time Chief Patron and Lover of the arts!

B)
Neither myself nor any reading this can lay claim to deity (though some try… what a shock is coming to them in the future) and therefore must admit our own judgment is often quite flawed, both theological and artistic.

Further, every artist’s life as well as artistic output is flawed. We might project a piece or individual perfect, but none are technically, so, period.

Please do not hear this as an excuse for mediocre spiritual life nor art, it is simply in my view, a matter of fact.

If all this makes sense so far, what do we have?

In extremely simple terms, we have flawed people, certainly sometimes inspired by God, at other times numb and ignorant of Him or perhaps fully rebellious against Him. All produce both a life and art with integrity out of whatever practical talent they have. Or do not have. Or do not -yet- have but hey, we can all learn and grow, no?

Artists (in any art mode) are thoughtful and care about how others are influenced by their work. Or not. But they can each change and grow, right?

Artists as well as those experiencing their art are BOTH flawed. But if we are humble enough and willing, we can each change and grow, correct?

C)
My personal conclusion brings me to one of those amazing -and I think needed bits of scripture that brings both deep peace and agitation depending on where we stand at any given moment. Artists and those loving or abhorring any particular art offering must wrestle with the implications:

Ecclesiasties 12
v13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.
v14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

If Christ-followers at times engage in “worship wars” (the term “fear” in vs. 13 has to do with reverence, respect and worship of God) re. how worship takes place “acceptably” to both God and people, how can we NOT expect disagreement over what we might not consider “worship-oriented” art works?

By the way, many have, I believe rightly, referred to worship itself as an “art”.

Regardless of what you believe, who you are or where you stand, we each and all need more love and grace along with both conviction as well as wisdom to share that love and grace with others. Even artists. Who are flawed. Just like those of us considering their work.

Maybe this is worth remembering the next time we are tempted to pick up stones.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn