New GK Sig. CigarBox Guitar Model Coming!

So I met w. the kind peeps at Grrr Records (www.grrrrecords.com) yesterday and worked with them to commission a new 2nd model Glenn Kaiser Signature Cigar Box Guitar. More “classic” neck through body design, new single coil pickups and several other sweet changes.

Three strings, single pickup, slide cigarbox guitars 🙂

No pics to show you yet, sorry. Soon as the first batch are finished, tested and ready to ship we’ll be sure you know about it.

Blues, rock (or whatever style you favor) to the masses!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Problem of Press

I come to this post from a number of positions I have long, long, held as truths that in my view, intersect. If you expect thick paint and a very wide brush, you will be disappointed.

My continual mention of authority being the core issue in all relationships and relational blowouts, who gets their way, who controls/”runs the show” and how each individual, group or all of us in any nation or for that matter, on the planet both think and feel about “it” whatever the issue -is foundational.

Few in the Western world will return (if they ever experienced in the first place) a lifestyle of bartering, hunting-gathering, living off the land survivalism, subsistence living in rural areas. Some reading this may romaticize such a life but most will not and in fact most of us live in urban areas or near enough that the conveniences and benefits even WITH the miseries and dangers- are not things we are prepared to lose.

I am as comfortable in the woods and on the waters, small towns and the like as I am in massive urban areas. I may be a minority in that sense, but there you are.

My point is urban and rural dwellers are not 100 percent living in the same ethos and who “wins”, who gets control re. comfort, perceived and actual needs, standard of life often boils over when elections and indeed, press comes into play.

Anyone with a Facebook, Twitter or other social media account, perhaps a blog or doing things that garner public notice of interest (to somebody anyhow!) is “fair game” for press of some sort. Individuals are free to write, pod/vidcast or opp-ed about you and I and anyone via a massive and I mean MASSIVE communications infrastructure which in a nation with a Constitution such as ours largely allows. Make no mistake, I’m FOR IT!! BRAVO PRESS -whether you’re truly “idiots” or simply trying to make a living, trying to better or destroy people. File me under GO FREE PRESS, regardless. The historical alternatives to this are horrific and too obvious to reference here.

IS there such a thing as “false news”, what elementary school teachers have taught as “yellow journalism” long before my early years in English classes? Of course. Nothing new under the sun.

I’ve written both blogs and lyrics re. truth, lies, propaganda and both true and false judgment for years. Even in the churches among professing Christians gossip, slander and just “grapevine” chatter is common, right or wrong, for good or ill, whether fully true, fully false or any variation or mixture on either side of that spectrum.

Did any of us REALLY expect anything different from public media outlets, be they social media, radio, tv or film, much less personal social media, whatever and however?!!

On top of this never forget plenty of people are after more personal gain (or keeping what they have),publicity, fame, greater and better-paying job offers, building personal empires and such. We can (and do) guess what the motives must be for this or that person but can we not admit we are not God and do not know for certain in each and every case?

And yet, just like developers, “positioning”, “branding” often means getting control and once the land is yours, you build with profit motive. Is this ALWAYS evil or ALWAYS good? Too simplistic to say yes to either of these in my view.

Meanwhile Jesus says things like “By your words you shall be justified and by your words you shall be condemned.” Proverbs states “Life and death are in the power of the tongue”. Back to New Testament: “People will give account for ever careless world they uttered”. So please know my personal position with regard to my faith and relationship to Jesus Christ and The Bible brings me back to these verses and like texts over and over again. IF it’s about personal profit, all bets are NOT off, because often betting and hitting the jackpot is precisely what folks are after… sometimes.

The press are in business like all business people, to make money. I know, right?!! Duhhh. Whoda thunk it 🙂 !

ALL of them are liars? ALL politicians are liars? ALL. THE. TIME.? Please! You can’t have a brain or for that matter heart, you cannot literally be anyone but “judge of all the earth” if you take such an extreme view. As Yoda posed, “So certain are you”!

“To whom much is given much shall be expected.” Indeed. And it does come back to power, does it not? Who is believed. Put another and very important way, who “wins”. Who can persuade, sway (with or without actual integrity as to motive and goal) public opinion. Because branding is everything. Well not according to Jesus but I digress…

The two immediate problems that come to my mind at this juncture of reality are that any person or group of them can pretty much say what they like and will be believed because of any number of factors, at very least “I LIKE” or “I AGREE” with them, their general ethos, their typical thinking, policy idea or simply “I’ll get more of what I want/need/am comfortable with”. Sadly, in all this truth and indeed integrity are left out of the picture.

Indeed editors, program directors, the researchers, reporters, writers, publishers, management and owners all have motives and goals. Again, DUHHH. To say all are “pure as the driven snow” is plain ignorant because only God knows (and sometimes not even the individual doing the communicating does) what their own actual motives (good or bad, righteous-sinful, productive or destructive) ARE. We guess. We kick ideas and concepts around like a football (soccer… see what I just did there?) and OF COURSE YOU WANT TO CONTROL THE MESSAGE! So does everyone reading this, president, news outlet, movin’-up-the-ladder persons, angry peasants with pitchforks.

History is clear in that plenty of political leaders, church folk and common people thought the printing press and therefore Bible in the language of the locals would BLOW THE WORLD APART.press Actually, it did, ultimately in very good ways as I and most people see it.

On the other hand the Nazi’s along with plenty others, were/are textbook heroes with regard to propaganda. The Klan. Lenin, Stalin, there’s a long list of despots and racists to choose from on this line. One of the core concepts is if you publish lies long and loud enough the people will accept them as truth itself.

An old Jewish proverb says “A half truth is a complete lie”.

I think the Galatians chapter five “fruit of the Spirit” of “self-control”, and things like “love, patience, kindness” and the like “against such there is no law” along with a deep gratitude for God’s grace with a generous helping of true humility starting with you, and in my case, beginning with me… is what my Soul Doctor Jesus truly orders. If, as and when these attributes and attitudes become part of us we may well lose something. Oh, say, our position, we may get  fired, suffer financial loss, freak out at the pain involved, lose friends, all SORTS of “negative stuff” can happen when you don’t swim with the rest of the fish.

Fish frys! Our family had a lot of ’em when I was growing up. So welcome to the chef’s job! Did you really expect everyone to dig every dish you ever created? Really? Every kitchen gets hot eventually and someone will choose to eat elsewhere at some point.

So (forgive me), from “Interviewing Icons”, a little booklet of prose I wrote in 1992:

THE PROBLEM WITH PRESS

first i must say plural
see i liked the sound of the singular
but for accuracy–it’s problems!
do i believe all the good things
do i accept the criticisms
they missed a few strengths
they need my list of critiques!
and the hype–these icon makers!
by what criteria–no–whose criteria
is art judged?
comparison by comparison?
trend by trend?
i must stop noticing press

the problem with press
is that
i’m in it.

I’ve done enough interviews to know the press (or anyone wagging tongue) can make you out to be Jesus or Judas with a turn or two of a word or phrase. You cannot truly control them so you cannot control public opinion… but ohhhh don’t we wish we could? Truth? Naaa, “win-lose” baby. Much as I love sports, I detest this approach to living where beating down your opponent is somehow deemed the natural, normative way to function. I rarely use the word hate, but I truly hate such as a life-tactic because love is truly set outside the door of such a life.

Years ago our particular approach to music was loved or hated and thus spoken of as such -loudly 🙂 Now, the problem is (as they often say in social media re. relationships) “it’s complicated”. And we live in a sound-bite world.

So we bite and swallow “what GLENN says” or whomever it may be. We figure “Hey, I like her/him/them -or- hate ’em, so I don’t need to think any deeper nor do any more serious consideration before I form my near-perfect (!) opinion and judge accordingly”.

Jesus’ treatment as He discussed Samaritans, Jews and gentiles comes to mind. Seems to me compassion, integrity and inclusion was His approach. He seems to continually side with the downtrodden and repeatedly challenges the rich and powerful. Yet a rich, religious ruler/insider was one of the guys He spelled out eternal life to in the most gracious of conversations (see Book of John chapter 3!). We cannot be sure how humble the dude was but in that he cared enough for direct discussion says something. In fact I think it says a lot.

Scream “politics!” all you like, that’s not how I came to my thinking at all. Bible. Relationship. Mercy, kindness, truth even when suffering results.

So I say rock on. Crank it up. You can be a virtuoso thespian or a full-on hack actor and someone will buy what you’re sellin’. Or not.

In the end I am convinced we’ll all stand before the judgment seat of God. Seems like I read that somewhere. I say this not as a defense or deflect (plenty have played that card using this sort of Bible text) but as a personal conviction which indeed shapes my relationships and my willingness to speak the truth in love best as I know how. I blunder regularly, sin daily, repent every single day and trust God for mercy without which I’m in the soup just as anyone else. Sometimes it means I must remain silent. Either way, hits will come as we journey through life in a fallen world regardless of your integrity or lack of it.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything. I’m convinced love is EXACTLY what must motivate us in thought, word, public and private choices. When it does not, whether you agree or think so, I believe my God does and therefore I respect and seek Him accordingly.

I suggest all of us, not merely Christians, not merely those in “the press”, politics, corporate leadership or the churches, all of us benefit from the open exchange of ideas even when the very ideas are suspect, flawed, or simply run against what we may like. My God loves those I am most tempted to verbally trash or even hate. He calls me to examine myself, pray, consider, act or not act out based in my best understanding of His love and truth. He Himself, and this ethic is my pursuit in life regardless of power, position, press, acclaim or persecution.

May God give you and I grace enough to share and strength enough to pay the price of sharing.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

“State of Affairs”

It’s Sunday morning as I write this ‘lil sweet ditty… but Monday’s comin’.

STATE OF AFFAIRS by Glenn Kaiser

Sharin’ the wealth
Fatal disease
Spreadin’ manure
Wherever I please
Playin’ to win
No matter who dies
Suckin’ that swill
‘Til harvest time

Hell farmer
Plantin’ deep
Hell farmer
Sow an’ reap

The daily double
Gamblin’ fire
Sniffin’ th’ high life
Vampire choir
Strut like an add man
Grabbin’ that cash
Corpse-filled silo
Wall Street bash

Hell farmer
In a killin’ field
Snake charmer
‘Til it struck my heel
‘Til reflection
Heart an’ head
Rained like tears
On the quick an’ the dead

Hell farmer
Chase that dress
Moral minus
More is less

Hell farmer
Meet the press
Fame and fortune
Under duress

 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

 

 

$$, Politics, Power, Socialists

This is an overview of my thoughts through the past few days. God help you all :)!

I often connect dots between things that may or may not seem connected. Like dominoes, one area at times (at least as I consider it) intersects with another area. And then there is the overview. Sort of like a bag which to be closed at the top has a string that threads through all the holes. The punchline comes after the connections are made, thus the associated issues together close out the discussion, at least for the moment. Or not, depending on your opinions.

Certainly the issues linked together must be substantiated -how we “know” or certainly believe what we think we know about things. How true, historical, cross-referenced, literal, solid our understanding and so we have a more solid sense of what seems truly true.

Even then, knowledge is one thing, wisdom (how to best apply knowledge) is another.

BROAD THOUGHTS ON “THE OTHER”

As a singer, songwriter, guitarist and longtime fan of “little people”, small nations, alternative views, customs, food, etc., [and I write this on one of the smallest Linux computer operating systems (Puppy Tahr) on what used to be a Windows 10 laptop] you will often find my views quite different to average Americans. In a word, eclectic.

Here goes:

A massive inspiration though my years as a rocker (along with deep love for Wales which I have done shows in several times) was/is the 3 piece classic rock band Budgie and their main man Burke Shelley. I expect to see him in heaven (if not before:).

Now understand, I rarely listen to music without thoroughly considering and most often looking up and reading the lyrics. I care a LOT about words. But somehow I can’t recall looking over the lyrics to this Welsh band’s tune “Crime Against the World” until a few days ago. Hmmm.

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/b/budgie/crime_against_the_world.html

Then came a Smithsonian (love it!) article in my inbox all about Lenin’s trip from Zurich back into Russia to lead the Bolshevik Revolution that brought the plague of communism into the world. Long read but very worth it. Two sections fully leapt out at me, the second of the two includes the last four paragraphs of the article:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/vladimir-lenin-return-journey-russia-changed-world-forever-180962127/

TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?

Have we ever paid taxes where they weren’t used against our will? Ever? Don’t get excited militia peeps and anarchists… I’m not your guy either.

I posit EVERY U.S government Left -or- Right forces citizens to pay taxes for at least several things a huge minority or  clear majority DO NOT AGREE WITH. So… I frankly see a call to scripture (boil it down to love because THAT’S WHAT’S MISSING IN THE WORLD) not as a “clear-cut” matter when it comes to civil laws, taxation and a nation which is not nor ever shall be a theocracy. Period.

You can spiritualize this all you like, in the end taxes are a fact and they ain’t goin’ away. Does IRS mean anything to ya?!

Then we have people -when it suits their interests- reminding us to “obey the laws of the land”, citing Romans 13 re. the governing authorities while in other moments calling for strong resistance… wait for it… when what THEY don’t have political control over is “unscriptural”, which sometimes in all honesty is they just don’t like it, or indeed their interpretation and understanding of The Bible is not the civil law of the land.

Well in a civil society made up of believers, unbelievers, pre-believers and full-on atheists… linked with separation of church and state (which I fully applaud by the way) you just don’t get what you want regardless. In point of fact God Himself didn’t in Israel’s theocracy when you look at His relationship to His people right through the Old Testament!! He LOVED and LOVES His people. So do I! He LOVES Sinners… good thing because we all are whether we follow Jesus Christ or not.

Anyhow, to ignore this issue of taxation and simply quote The Bible ignores Jesus’ very command re. Matthew 25 with regard to food, water, clothing, shelter, medical care and care (yes… “care”) for those behind bars.

IF this sounds politically “liberal” or like “social gospel”, I really don’t care. The issue is love, the commands of Jesus Christ and in fact, action as opposed to mere words on the Web, theory, rhetoric or even trumping someone in winning an argument. Agape Love calls for more than talk. In fact it regularly calls us to lose, and that’s a Bible truth many professing believers (this one included at times) seeks an escape clause from.

The Gospel of Jesus may seem apolitical, but consider Jesus working a miracle for He and Peter to pay a tax to some genuine BUMS in power at the time. Really take your time with that text and consider what’s going on there.

As for the “politics” of the time simply consider religious/political party vs. party amongst the Jews, Israel vs. Roman occupiers, Jews vs. gentiles -and a whole lot of poor folks in deep need, many just for survival re. the first four things I’ve just listed above which Jesus talked about in Mt. 25.

“I don’t want to talk about politics”! I get that. I don’t want to talk about reality either… but it ain’t going away and the pols are making choices that affect millions of lives daily. If you only genuinely care when it directly affects you and yours, don’t pretend you live a mature, biblical Christian life.

This is where the plot truly thickens -because it’s always about power. Who is in control. Who gets to run the show as it were. At very least “pecking order”. There you have “politics” be it in marriage, family, business, local or denominational congregations regardless of form or formlessness of “church government”, you-name-it.

As I pondered good, great and not so thoughtful/thorough (in my personal view) posts amongst some very good people, and in that I truly enjoyed the back-and-forth views of all involved in this thread, a poem as well as songs I’d written and published years ago came to mind. I quote these and a couple of my/our songs as example of what/how I have long thought about the four issues in the title of this post:

From “Interviewing Icons” (Glenn Kaiser)

“THE CZARS HAVE CHANGED THEIR NAMES”

The czars have changed their names
but their dachas remain the same
guilty masses, bloody purges
of course it’s all for the best
where there is no God and neither devil
neither demons either one has only men
the good, the bad.

Of course we have the rules
And someone had to make them
And they were good men good rules the Best!
Only someone had to interpret these flawless codes
and ensure purity
but what do men masquerading as God
know about such matters?

I wrote and sang the following lyrics/songs for many years including on a tour throughout South Africa:

http://www.elyrics.net/read/r/resurrection-band-lyrics/afrikaans-lyrics.html

And this follow-up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMPwKASUQUw

So you could rightly label me an -activist- and it indeed goes beyond words, lyrics or bluster. I am not writing this to tout all I and my friends do to care for others! Yet I beg you to ask yourself: how does one love without eventual action? What love is truly -passive- toward you or me -or toward those Jesus calls “the least of these”? The cost is not merely personal, church-wide, city, county, state, national. The cost involves ALL of them.

BOOK OF ACTS CHAPTERS 2, 4, 5

Have a most thorough read of those 3 chapters and you’ll begin to understand where I have lived, in terms of state of mind, civil/political activities, personal relationships and mission throughout the bulk of my lifetime.

As for socialism… (yes, I know the term doesn’t simply mean the following) would you prefer “anti-social” engagement with people? Or just some people? Ok, those you don’t like, or don’t understand, or don’t know… those you perhaps don’t wish to take the effort to GET to know? Remember, you can only trust the state when they do as you think best. Or not. Or not at all? Ok, as Christians we can only trust other Chri… well maybe not all of them either…  well, particularly those you are afraid of, or those you think will ruin your ability to… have things -your- way?

Anyone for violation of conscience? WHOSE conscience? And who gets to define and determine that? See, things really aren’t as simple as we’d all like and of course we just want a peaceful life. So we pay taxes for others to suffer for our peace. Even when they/we/all of us pay the price. And just who is it that gets to decide these things?

As a student of wars and certainly including WWII, did you know there was/is quite a difference between socialists and communists? Plenty of Americans don’t know the differences nor care. Study this from several historical angles and you begin to learn things plenty of Americans (in my view) clearly do not understand -and in some cases plain don’t want to. Quite a few of us don’t know the difference between a democracy and a republic.

One’s head hurts having to sort through information, ‘eh? I’m trying to get at both head and heart, I really am.

Full-on anarchy in my understanding, is crazy. But it’s not something I cannot understand. “Might makes right” and “manifest destiny” are equally crazy. I’m convinced these doctrines are both unscriptural and ungodly but in the end, doesn’t it finally come down to who’s in control, who is willing or unwilling to share control and decision-making?

Both economics and politics EXIST among people groups including every/any/you-name-it-Christian-group. They deeply affect policy regardless who is in power at any given moment at every level of government as well as local or larger congregation. The sad fact is that power is often anything BUT social… except among those willing to share power with one another.

TRYING TO PULL THIS BAG SHUT, FOR NOW AT LEAST

Book of Proverbs: “Get knowledge”… “Seek wisdom”… then New Testament “Do ALL you do to the glory of God”… “LOVE your neighbor as yourself”… “LOVE your enemies”… -and we dare say we are a Christian nation?

Fear, anger, hatred, rage do not aid one’s ability to “study to show yourself approved a workman unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth” -and I think that is true of both scripture (THE Word of Truth) as well as human (or in-humane) history.

So what do we do in light of all (whew!) I’ve said here?

Love God supremely, love your neighbor as yourself, pray for the government.

Pay the price of love. That price throughout history has often been hatred, harsh judgment, misunderstanding, short-sighted, win-the-argument-and-to-hell-with-your-neighbor. “A person’s enemies shall be the members of their own household”.

In our day email blasts, mountains of propaganda, more-heat-than-light rhetoric and lobbyists for every issue under the sun, daily social media posts and shows and what I’ll call “reality politics” are the slime of the times.

Death is certain. So are taxes. Politicians are involved with both. Anyone for Love? Ready to be judged and blackballed if you hang out with “THOSE people”?

If you survived this epic read, congrats and I thank you for considering. May God help us have the courage to love in the face of a great deal of other stuff.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

“Little People” (and GK also talks about Salt)

That was the phrase one of my wife’s elementary school teachers kindly and respectfully used when she referred to she and her classmates in those early years of school. My said they all knew that teacher loved her students -and they loved her.

My unscientific guess is 80 percent of the human race is a fair bit insecure and often feels less than secure in their significance than they/we let on. There is a real sense in which we are all little people even when on several levels, we may not be so small.

A dear friend spoke on this with great precision this past weekend. He and his wife are two of my personal heroes working as so many others in our homeless shelter. Such volunteers’ (and those they serve) names are not exactly world-famous.

In that I’ve spent most of my life doing shows, speaking, traveling much of the planet and recording nearly 40 records plus -along with a pretty large internet presence, some might figure me fairly “known”. On the weekend I had accepted an invitation to sing a couple songs prior to Jeremy’s message and afterward a number of folks brought no small encouragement my way.

Like being spiritually born, mega GRACE from God in His providence gave me the ability to sing. In the practical, DNA from Mom and Dad, no lessons. I just sing. I did not earn it.

In plenty of areas of my life (including musicianship and oratory) I tend toward insecurity just as others do who struggle with music-making and public speaking.

See, the burden of talent and even spiritual gifts is “To whom much is given, much shall be expected”. We all fail- regardless. Plus, those with great talent or rather obvious gifts are often lauded and applauded to the extent they become arrogant, prima donnas, sometimes quite unloving and judgmental toward others who seem to lack such talent and gifting.

The ultra self–confident are often in a battle that the 80 percent don’t fight.

These as well as the so-called “least of these”, and those of us who struggle with self-worth or a sense of personal lack often forget the following words of Jesus:

“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low…” Luke 3.5a

Nobody and I mean NONE of us live worthless lives without value simply on the basis that God does not view or judge us as we judge ourselves: imperfectly.

Jesus did not suffer all He did for you and I because we are insignificant losers- regardless of natural talents, skills, spiritual gifts or what we or others may judge useless or “minor” gifts.

SaltAndSpiceRack

We have a massive, hugely stocked spice and cooking rack in our community kitchen. The little salt shaker may seem lost up there but without it nothing cooked would be savory -and every meal a fairly bland without it. Some would not know exactly what was missing… but I suppose this is why God made salt.

He created you and me, with and/or without gifts X, Y, Z, with or without this or that skill set. And yet Jesus said (my CAPS for emphasis): “YOU are the salt of the earth.” Matt. 6.5a

Let Him shake us where, when and as He will.

Your “little” is so much more than you suspect!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Puppy Linux on My Lil’ HP Mini Netbook

Yep. For you geeks out there, this is the NOPAE Tahrpup (compatible w. Ubuntu Linux LTS) version of Puppy Linux 6.05 and she sings on this little (non-64bit, a 32bit in stellar condition) netbook. Simple. And this desktop wallpaper is shoutin’ Wendi and Glenn (the two pups, she’s the little frisky one on the left) -so there 🙂

puppytahrdesktopImage

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn