Recovery? Yes.

So over the past couple decades there have been studies and pundits doing their best to discredit any sort of 12 Step Recovery program and therefore positive results in the lives of those who’ve subscribed to the steps, material, attend meetings, link with sponsors and do the work.

The reality is that a couple of Christians who had personal experience with alcohol and addiction recognized something many apparently do not: healing is not one-dimensional.

This is not merely a “false gospel” or “social gospel”, watered-down, liberal spirituality. It can and at times may well BE that for some, even many in such programs. And then there’s Celebrate Recovery which is about as solidly Christ (absolutely the only Higher Power is CR’s belief) and Bible focused as you can get.

I could not be more aware/believe in and daily experience a reap-sow, personal responsibility concept of living than I already am. And even -I- understand grace which is at core “NOT getting what you deserve” which sadly is lost on many professing Christians. Mercy doesn’t mean accepting everything this or that philosophy or group-think believes, I get that too! And yet… and yet…

You are reading the words of a recovering “sinner” (according to Jesus and His Words), a recovering drug, booze, sex and at core self addict. I have attended, led and been personally helped over the years from various 12 Step groups and meetings. As they say, your mileage may vary, but of course the same is said about following Jesus, about attending this or that local or denominational or house church by plenty of people who can say “I was there and it/they didn’t help me. I felt WORSE. It didn’t work!!”

So… what??!

There are so very many reasons people “experience” marriage and in the end divorce and therefore consider marriage “not for them”, even “useless” and in fact something that brings more outright pain and grief than joy. Come on, look at the divorce rate! So marriage in and of itself is a failure and worthless, even a deception right??!

Thousands of people invest in musical gear, say a guitar… they practice… and their fingers hurt. They don’t seem to “be a natural”, don’t “get it”, and other legitimate concerns take their mind and energies away from committing, learning, actually growing as a guitarist, discovering where the notes are, various chord shapes and so forth. The instrument sits in the closet and neither they nor others benefit from what could have been.

I tire of cheap shots (and I don’t mean toward me personally!) taken by haters, self-righteous and often arrogant and/or flat-out ignorant people who  -in their own life- never had to face demonic, overwhelming desires for X, Y or Z and lost the battle/s. If you don’t NEED help in an area of life, you rarely seek it out. Plenty seek and find. Jesus said something about that. He indeed meant seek HIM… not a program as such. Got that. I follow Him. Daily. Moment-by-moment. Listen to Him, His Word, thank Him, interact with Him. I want to. I’m convinced He wants me to. I am deeply thankful for His grace in any spiritual progress I have and do experience!

AND… I have long worked The Steps, get a devo in my inbox, as well as pray, read the Bible and study daily, confess and am accountable for sin.

I’ve often said I’ve a “master’s” in addiction and I can tell you that all the nay-sayers and words of pundits weren’t around when I was desperate for help. They (you, if the shoe fits) were NOT present in my life and had no power to help deliver me from the incredible hell-on-earth that destructive habits such as mine were chaining me to.

I found help in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I also have found practical help in working The 12 Steps… for close to three decades.

Recovery is a reality. It’s indeed a journey and not each and every moment a destination. A core part and point of focus is humility. That’s something I continue to work on myself. I encourage openness and learning to all reading these words, as without them you may simply end up like this guy:

“A poor yet wise lad is better than an old and foolish king who no longer knows how to receive instruction.” Ecclesiasties 4.13

Pray, get saved, read your Bible, show up Sunday is massive -but not the end of my nor plenty of others story. Some of us need more practical input and at times we did not find it among this or that group of folks. I’m living proof “it works when you work it, one day at a time”.

Don’t be so quick to trash talk following Jesus OR recovery work. You may be shocked when the day comes you’ll wish you hadn’t blown off either.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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Ebook Work

Yep. A weekend off, various family interaction and indeed just trying to move down the road w. something I think may be of help and maybe even of interest to people.

Reading several ebooks as well as several amazing posts today from good friends who have many great things to say that need repeating ’round cyberspace and beyond. I’ll help promote here and there as I think good and right… and when the timing seems good. I try hard to not simply do the “sell X, Y and/or Z” stuff and appreciate that few people ask me as I’m sure some get their feelings hurt or just wonder why it is I don’t hype this or that project.

I really dislike the “infomercial” approach whether in blogs or other social media so only promote from time to time when I really think it important.

There is indeed so much pulp, so many voices shouting because… we can! Yep, the Web is the mega-Pandoras Box. ANYBODY can push “fake” ANYTHING at ANYTIME, troll away if they have a simple web connection, even from a local library or friend’s laptop or phone.

So I get the fact truth or nonsense can get tossed out, re-hashed, forwarded on and devoured in a heartbeat these days. It’s excellent or horrific depending on content and motive. “Every careless word” and in context “judgment” comes to mind (Jesus in New Testament Gospels).

My personal writing at this point is an overview of my early years with focus on a bit more than 3 months of my life. If I never wrote another thing I think this to be worth sharing so… we’ll see and please don’t ask, when it’s ready I’ll be sure to let the world know 🙂

Got our laundry done yesterday, perhaps will do my office cleaning tomorrow, enjoying a rocking version of Puppy Linux at my writing space today though this pic is in the same place with antiX Linux yesterday on the same lappy.20170913_103353 Also waiting for AUTUMN which I so love… not complaining about the 85f weather in Chicago today but I sure do love cooler weather with gold, yellow and red leaves!

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Native Americans, Racism Notes

Some may not know that for years I have shot and hunted with various weapons including bows and arrows. In studying the sport/hobby right into earliest construction of archery tackle, shooting skills/variations and history I came to know about Ishi.

As I’ve mentioned from time to time, reading “Black Like Me” in my early high school years only confirmed what I had already learned about the often (yes, not always) horrible treatment of whites against people with skin of a darker hue, issues of racism, slavery and exploitation. The same goes for treatment of Japanese Americans (and re. Italian Americans) during World War II.

As a primary school kid I read history and gaped at art depicting Spanish and Portuguese as well as other white European treatment of indigenous people in what is now the southwestern U.S., Mexico, central and South America including Brazil (See “The Mission” movie for further consideration).

And so to Ishi: a Native American man and his family and tribal story- I read both books on his life which you can find at the link below… and wanted to jump on a table and scream at the injustice and misery that came his way.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=ishi+last+of+his+tribe

This is in part why I wrote songs such as “Afrikaans”, “Zuid Afrikaan” and “I See Red” (which I referenced in my last blog post yesterday).

I am on record stating racism is in my own thinking just about equal to rape. How our minds, emotions, demand for control and lack of compassion for someone unlike us (“the other”) plays out is something I’ve thought about my entire life.

While there are people who will gladly cast judgment on myself and others when convenient (as per their personal causes and desire for control, recognition or mere rancor sans actual fact) there is zero excuse for silence in the current local, national and world situation ESPECIALLY AMONG CHRISTIANS who talk about God’s love but harbor fear, rage, bitterness and self-righteousness in their minds, hearts and via social media, etc..

FOR THE RECORD: what I think and state now I’ve been thinking, saying and singing for most of my lifetime. Recent events, so-called “fake news” or any other deflection is “shooting blanks”. If you feel so compelled to unload in my direction, have at it. I am unlikely to engage in petty debates. My position on these matters which I say again, was formed in my youth can be seen in a lifetime of my lyrics, blog posts and public as well as private conversations.

I will only add that justice isn’t getting what you want. My own best, foundational understanding of the term comes from this:

He has told you,O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6.8

God says it. He tells humankind, all of us. “Good” is not arbitrary, it’s how HE defines it. “LORD” denotes ruler, king, the One Who “calls the shots”, all others servants to Him and others. “Require” has zero to do with options, it is in fact, a command. To “do” justice means active service (as in serving) others. To “love kindness”… wow… is that what we hear in social media and etc., these days??! God shows His very heart in those two words. God help you and I demonstrate this very compassion toward others!!! And… “and?”… I sincerely doubt either justice or showing love and mercy toward others (especially when we operate out of rage, fear and false judgment) can happen unless we walk in humility. Note- walking (not mere mental nodding to God, but a WALK, in actual daily relationship with Him) walking “humbly WITH” God.

A personal relationship to Jesus brings us to these things. We will not (historically have not and shall not on this earth) fully agree with one another on all points re. relationships, race, gender and etc., but God help us take loving our neighbor seriously and may we grow in living it out.

The options? A misery none of us will find nor make peace with.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Indigenous People Blues

In all my years of recording I can only recall a couple of times I yielded to friends and production help folk re. changing a lyric… and to this day regret doing so. One was a song that became Rez Band’s “Someone Sleeps Tonight”. It was I think, a great re-write in terms of the wars in El Salvador, etc., at the time, a choice to be a bit more artistic, rightly vague as to create a more “everyman” sense of what happens in political/military power grabs, but still… I cringe because:

My personal detesting of all forms of racism comes from personal friendships, experiences with poverty, injustice and a great deal of study of history, newspapers (back in the day when I carried and read them regularly) and a lifetime of studying human conflict in general, wars in particular.

Many people groups have been exploited in the name of king, country, even God (makes me puke to know this but it’s true) and in the end the old power-money-guns thing continues right through human (shall I say, inhuman) history.

Hence, I wrote and recorded a number of lyrics related to control and subjugation via race fuelled by economics and white cultural preference. African-American descendants of slaves are in my nation clearly the key group, but others do not fall out of the equation.

I am fully restraining myself in this post or you’d have a small book-sized rant with historic art, written accounts from all sides and etc., but you can certainly find A LOT of this via the Web if you care enough to study the issue.

Here is the original lyric I wrote:

 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 the sustenance
 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

What white people of European descent did (along with, prior to them, Spanish conquistadors and others) with Native Americans (in Canada, English, sometimes French re. First Nations people) is one of the most reprehensible pieces of conveniently neglected, ignored, glossed-over or outright lied-about matters in U.S. history. I’m convinced average white and at times, black folk are just not informed nor concerned about the current state of affairs for this “other” group of conquered individuals. Unless perhaps one visits a reservation-held casino. Which, by the way, I refer to as Native-American Revenge.

A number of years ago I became aware of Native American blues bands. In a flash it made perfect sense to me minor chord/scales music would be assimilated by my red brothers and sisters.

Our forefathers wiped out entire nations in the name of progress, even in the name of Christ.

To their credit, many missionaries did not consciously realize how complicit they were with white power, white control, domination of people for whom Jesus shed an equal amount of His blood to redeem. I cannot plead such ignorance.

We stole their land, their children, their language, even their ability to survive re. hunting, etc., to the extent of wiping out entire tribes/nations. Many will say “Not ME, not US, our forefathers. White guilt Glenn. Leftist nonsense! The blood of Jesus forgives, why do you carry this un-thinking sense of shame, that’s NOT of God?”

Because I walk around daily with a skin pigmentation that automatically puts me in the driver’s seat in almost any place I walk in this land. Because I am learning to love my neighbor ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE UNLIKE ME because Jesus commands it. A massive part of love is “walking a mile in another man’s moccasins”. Plenty of us fight (literally even) against the compassion and understanding that comes from such a simple yet profound place… which means our empathy goes out the window and our excuses for not loving or caring continue. There is rampant pushback from whites who have long been the dominant FORCE in our society. It’s long past time we repent.

“What, repent for being WHITE which GOD MADE US?” Yes, because the color doesn’t make you God. It takes far more guts to hand others the keys to power when you’ve (consciously or unconsciously) held them just by being born white.

Unconscious people need to wake up. The “ugly American” is formerly a white immigrant and in fact lives in and as a white American. Of course the real and true and first Americans were red.

HomelandSecurity

For now, I will simply ask my readers to consider, pray and begin to ask whether “revisionist history” isn’t something the majority of people in power haven’t been practicing all along?

I ask that we consider a different way of thinking, that of the love of God truly extended to ALL in our land, of INclusion rather than a regular default to EXclusion. Might we rightly celebrate unique qualities of people who don’t look like you or me, whose culture -sometimes in some areas- may link closer to the Gospel of Jesus than our own?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

QCA Weekend, 9-11, Hurricanes

Kind longtime friend Steve and new-found bro Scott and both sets of folks working behind the scenes made last Sat. and Sun. really good for both myself and Wendi, kudos!

The many convos in both places were warm and good. Saw a lot of friends from the Cornerstone Festival days as well… so fun to hang out for at least brief chats.

We are so thankful for safe travels and good weather- and have prayed and continue to for all in Texas and Florida hit hard by hurricanes and in some cases loss of loved ones. Thankful things were not far worse in Florida!

I continue to also do what I can for an often crazy world where violence and indeed retribution comes from all sides but those who live in love.

This tragic day is a painful reminder for all who lost family and friends in NY and PA.

You are aware by now that I follow Jesus, indeed imperfectly -but intentionally desiring to grow in love and grace? That’s my wish for all reading my blog.

There are enough mean-hearted people on the planet, plenty of angry “vengeance is MINE” attitudes vs. “… but I tell you to love your enemies” (Jesus’ Own words) and so for me, 9-11 is another reminder not only of what angry, demonized people are capable of but what the God of the universe literally commands: to actively love our neighbor regardless of who our neighbor is or what they represent.

How we represent the One we claim as our Lord and Savior is the issue. If you don’t follow Him, fair enough, but I am fully convinced human love has an end reached quickly. Not so God’s love. The Lord is patient that we might be delivered!

God grant us wisdom to surrender to Him, His love and His plan as revealed in His Word regardless of what may come our way! God direct you and I to walk in love, to act in His love toward others. Misery and death are the only other routes open to us.

These are things I think worth considering.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Autumn, Vehicle?!

Well, not quite autumn yet, but soon, no?

My personal fave time of the year! Lord willin’- I have 2 days on my calendar to hit the deep woods this fall. That’s all I can in good conscience take from family and work. But I will relish those days for sure.

My hope is you and your family are well and ready for crisp days, cooler nights and the beauty of turning leaves and watching the geese fly (if you got ’em in your area) overhead.

This past weekend south of St. Louis (a people, city and area I love) the concert and sharing times were so sweet for me. Kind friends, some new ones both young and old, several bands I had not met nor heard prior were all a treat.

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8 Bands 1 Day is an event taking in food for those in need and awareness of the homeless situation in that area. I am SO glad I could again be part of the day. A little warm but hearts were too! And there was some good shade as well.

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Glad to be home, and thankful for the gigs coming up (see my last post on tour schedule for that) which in part take me to beautiful autumn places.

But my sweet Wendi with me as care-giver will be working out in between my trips toward a knee replacement and rehab, the surgery likely in November. Please pray for us on that if you would.

I’ve never done this in my life but will now mention our car has decided to die- the engine is done for good. If anyone reading has a car they could part with, free or cheap, we’d sure appreciate you contacting us. Prayers please!

Other than that, things are very good and my iced coffee is calling me on this Labor Day weekend. On the weekend Amtrak was a joy  (slows me down in a very good way) and trying to keep up with the emails and many family and show stuff, personal study is of course always important and good work when home or touring.

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I am so thankful, truly thankful for the incredible grace in my life. So many of you are part of that 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn