3 Updates: GK Workshop, CCO Benefit Guitar, TinyHouse Update

A good number of folks have signed up for my cigarbox/found object slide guitar workshop this coming Sat. in Berwyn, IL. Details if interested: http://www.gkaiser.wordpress.com/2018/01/04/cigarbox-guitar-building-workshop-berwyn-illinois/

My personally-made one-of-a-kind 3 string electric cigarbox slide guitar auction benefiting Cornerstone Homeless Shelter in Chicago is up to a $350 bid. Details here: http://www.gkaiser.wordpress.com/2018/01/03/gk-guitar-auction-for-homeless-shelter/

This coming Friday I’m playing a bit of music at Chicago Tiny House initiative for the homeless fundraiser. Details here: http://www.chicagotinyhouse.org/366-2/

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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Offended Yet? You Will Be.

Are YOU READY TO BE OFFENDED?!

Ha, if you’re like me you probably wake up every morning thinking “Just Who and how can I offend real good today?!! Mwwahahahahahaaaaaaa…”. Not. Not even. So here are a few questions and a few answers from my offensive understanding 😉

A. Why did Paul the apostle write about the “offense” of the good news (gospel)?

B. More to our daily social media feeds and life experience, why are people who supposedly follow Jesus (at least sometimes!) so flat-out offensive?

-At the core of God’s love is a cross, and people are often offended that our [supposed] sins played a major part in His crucifixion.

But there are many more offensive things about this “good news” of God’s mercy, grace, offer of forgiveness and eternal life…

-Jesus calls us to pick up OUR cross/es daily and follow Him. This is self-denial and it involves personal pain (most of us aren’t real happy about not getting our desires fulfilled, perceived needs met [see my recent blog post “Desire” if you wish]) as well as a sense of His lordship (“Don’t tell ME what do!!”) over our personal relationships, time, space and all else -so we are offended as what we define as our freedoms evaporate into Him not only being our Savior but Lord.

Worse- regarding harsh so-called Christians, controlling, manipulating, over-the-top “leaders” ruling their own little kingdoms, this sect bashing that sect, well, offense covers the land more than the recent fires and mudslides did California!

-Professing Christians call us out/disagree/upset/condemn us because of what THEY define as “sin”.

-Professing Christians THEMSELVES sin even by their own definition of the term. They are demonstrably, obviously flawed, bigoted hypocrites and unworthy of our respect or our time.

-There are thousands if not millions of paradigms mystical, natural, scientific and philosophical that we find PLENTY more appealing.

-We are just plain sick of all this and want out.

Have I covered a fair bit of the pertinent issues yet?

In light of all these issues and a great deal I’m not mentioning here, how is it some peeps don’t understand the offenses we propagate simply by belief as well as unbelief?

As I use the term “we” in that last paragraph, I now am including ALL OF US. Because bro and sis, we ALL offend one another regardless of our apparent faith or lack of it, varied choices, dna and a zillion other significant as well as petty elements.

Perhaps it’s time to bring a blues lyric to bear via an old Albert King tune:

Ev’rybody wants to laugh
Ah, but nobody wants to cry
I say ev’rybody wants to laugh
But nobody wants to cry

Ev’rybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody wants to die

Ev’rybody wanna hear the truth
But yet, ev’rybody wants to tell a lie
I say ev’rybody wants to hear the truth
But still they all wanna tell a lie

Oh ev’rybody wants to go to heaven
But nobody wants to die

Ev’rybody wanna know the reason
Without even askin’ why
Oh, ev’rybody wanna know the reason
Oh, without even askin’ why

You know ev’rybody wanna go to heaven
But nobody wants to die

I’m as convinced as I can be after a lifetime of thinking through these matters along with feet-on-the-ground discussions with people I consider brilliant, wise, studied and knowledgeable of them that such a lyric sums it up well. We want what we want. IF there is a heaven we want to end up there- but there is a cost, it’s offensive and it disrupts and blows holes through our personal control factor, our own kingdom of self.

At times it hurts our feelings and the feelings of those we love or at least care about.

We are insulted at someone ELSE who seems to be trying to control the narrative. Next- for the follower of Jesus Christ the scripture IS the core narrative. His view?

“Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8.35) The crunch comes when we choose to define what He meant regarding our personal sense of identity, lifestyle and path in life.

Re. The Bible, we then land on the ground of interpretation and often this wrestling match produces a severing of people, even families and at times, our closest friends.

I am saying this is a cross people bear within or outside of Christian faith. Within those we refer to as God’s family on earth the tribal splits can and often have come to sad and heart-breaking, deal-breaking separations.

For myself: who am I to judge another’s conscience? Who am I to de-cross my brothers and sisters if indeed all of us are called to bear them by the One we call Lord and Savior? I am to help and comfort (note these are two actual terms Jesus uses for God the Holy Spirit) but I have no actual authority nor right to violate another’s conscience any more than they do mine. And there is another cross: when you seek middle ground you may expect to be judged and attacked by people on either side of any particular divide.

So be it.

There is often a great deal and sometimes at least a little truth from all perspectives.

I say if there is a God, His positions and values are more than mere perspective or human-fulfillment plans in terms of OUR OWN sense of being fulfilled. This very issue in my view, is the crux, the common personal cross that throws us under the bus REGARDLESS of what “side” of any debate we take.

From my years of walking in faith with Jesus, study of His Word (The Bible) I cannot see anything core to Him changing. I see Him changing me, and seeking, working by His Spirit to change us. If true, we have offended Him and He certainly has offended and shall offend me and all of us along and along.

There is in my view, absolutely no escaping being offended and in reality, offending others by our beliefs or non-beliefs.

The issue is whether my/our motive is truly God’s love or rather self-preservation before a God and Book calling us out of HIS love to His definitions of love. Indeed, there is a great deal of clarity in the words of Jesus alone with regard to  His narrative and ours of the inclusion of self-denial and pain -which in a fallen, imperfect world always appears as we seek the authentic love of God.

Things to consider along the path?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Cleanup

As we get closer to my wife’s knee replacement mid-February we recognized the need to clean, toss stuff out (easy to collect stuff you’ll honestly never use again!) and organize to make it easier for her to get in and out of bed (eventually, after surgery), get the right recliner and other chairs in place, re-arrange things as needed.

Meanwhile I’d been meaning to get my office and cigarbox guitar making stuff, tools and music gear better organized. So I’ve been going from room to room making trips to the dumpster and sorting, putting stuff in good order.

Sort of a wintertime “spring clean” if you will. A lot of work but so satisfying when finished, really great to have clean space!

A couple nights ago myself and a number of longtime friends gathered with family members to celebrate the home-going of a Mom, Grandmother, sister and friend. The church was full, stories, poems, songs, scripture and prayers shared. It seems she left nothing behind to “clean up” and went to Jesus peacefully. THAT is a gift as well as a choice.

Every communion (“Lord’s Supper”) service we pause, reflect, pray, seek to get our life in order, do a bit of cleanup with the Lord before receiving the elements. We ask forgiveness for any known sin in our life and trust God to forgiven us and organize us afresh.

Several nights ago I did a one-man mop of our main kitchen after hours. I thought about the importance of being thorough regardless that nobody was there to notice and no matter how long it took. Why? The place belongs to Him and if He were standing there in the flesh I would take great care and not simply blow through the work.

The message in all this is of course, obvious.

The roads were dirty and dusty where Jesus walked in Israel so foot-washing was a custom observed (which He mentioned several times in the Gospels) regularly, especially as people wore sandals and traveled by foot a great deal.

All of us walk in a messy, stained world and sometimes choose paths that take us right through mud.

Cleanup is a gift regardless of the work involved!

Things to think about along the journey 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Jesus Shrugged?

There is one character element in the life of Jesus I’ve never seen anywhere in the Gospels:

Apathy. Un-caring.

And with no malice towards Texans as such, “This here’s Texas -you on your own!” just ain’t in Him.

Ayn Rand (study her writings but by all means, her personal life as well…) and many who (unlike her staunch position of atheism) proclaim what I believe to be a genuine love for the risen Christ often seem to me more Darwinesque in terms of a “survival of the fittest” concept.

I get, believe and seek to truly live out personally live personal responsibility, I talk about it and encourage it all the time as I believe scripture does. BUT, AND, CONSIDER:

Grace? There is no law like judging one’s neighbor and dodging one’s OWN responsibility to love and offer kindness and help to others as a law vs. grace paradigm. Many otherwise loving believers become quite distant, even harsh right at this, their own personal “law” as in- “it’s THEIR issue, not mine”. Love? Grace? They are often in the rear-view mirror when we leave our neighbor in the same spot.

So amongst we imperfect humans with therefore flawed ideologies including political and economic systems theories… when did a concept or theory ever feed anyone? Ever.

The longer I study Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 in His amazing, indeed frightening statement regarding separation of the sheep and goats, the ultra-clear statements of a quite negative judgment re. goats -what form/s does He Himself emphasize regarding actual lived-out love while we walk this earth?

My question to both myself and YOU dear reader, which of these six things are you living out towards those you consider unworthy of them? What concepts and habits have you formed that give you freedom from His words in those verses? The law of Christ is one we had better pay attention to!

Further, to WHOM does He call us to extend those practical acts of love toward?

I say with quite a measure of certainty that the very heart of God in the judgment will be something other than a mere shrug.

I find no fault in Him.

In the Church? Plenty.

If our quest to build personal on-the-planet security takes us farther away rather than more into loving action via those six activities He lists in Mt. 25 we had better pray to God He does not one day look us in the eyes and merely shrug.

To repent is more than a concept. To love is more than a theory. Sow mercy, reap it.

Of course we do have the option to just prejudicially judge and shrug.

I believe it’s always best to wrestle with the text of God -and lose. That’s the only win in eternity.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

January 2018 Update

Had a sweet Christmas and New Year’s, really, 2017 was A-mazing as you might guess from some of my friends in blues (this pic as part of The Plunders from Daytona Bike Week 2017). PlundersWgk

And now I’m in process of finishing up some cigarbox guitars, one for the CCO Shelter to raise a few bucks for their amazing and needed work, one for a longtime friend, and also a cut down six string electric (non-cbg) for me to travel with for fun. I hope to use that one this next week at Cook Co. Jail.

Working slowly to ready our room, re-arrange for Wendi’s knee replacement operation at present slated for February 13. After that I’ll likely not do much besides be her nurse and go-fer until May when shows begin to kick in.

I’ll be back to recording off and on this next week, a fresh project dear to my heart, blues/based worship I suppose is the simplest way to describe it. I don’t expect the project can be finished and out until sometime later in the year.

I have a number of blog posts I’d love to get to, and more work on a book but it all takes time and energy so… little by little as always.

My sincere hope is that your year has begun with a genuine sense of grace- Wendi and I are so thankful for God’s daily grace in our lives!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

Desire

The brutal, honest truth is that there are moments a specific desire of mine does not match the desire of God Himself.

Over the years I and others have shared a joke around Apostle Paul’s “I buffet my body daily” with regard to the will of God -thinking in terms of an all-you-can-eat restaurant!

As I’m borderline diabetic I can share the joke but quoting “God has given us all things richly to enjoy” when tempted to eat foods or amounts that could destroy me isn’t the recipe God wrote for me. Yet God gave me the dna I carry (literally) around each day. “God made me this way” ends the matter?

My opening sentence here is no shock to those of you who are professing people of faith. For others, it’s all likely myth, delusion, self-constructed narrative, or at least something of the sort.

Why borders, boundaries, fences if in fact it is freedom we most desire?

Note, I in no way am talking about national “walls”, customs and immigration here but rather the moment-by-moment individual sense of desire, fulfillment, perhaps even purpose we each consider and often yield to.

Many links to and full rejection of people comes down to desires shared or not shared.

Marriages, families, bands, business partners, local congregations, people groups of all sorts ultimately unify or divide over desire.

How to arrive at -what- the desire of God is in any matter?

This of course, is the question for people in relationship with Him. Equally important is the issue of those people who as in any relationship, sometimes butt heads and truly disagree… with one another as well as with God.

This is where direct revelation (“the Spirit told me directly”), appeals to a group of people who “agree with my desire/s”, our own fluid, changing/shifting whims, even our long-term desires. Our search for personal fulfillment may muddy the waters rather than clarify. Am I moving from mud to clear or clean to muck based on my desire?

In 2 Peter chapter 1 there are a few points I think worth considering regarding the desire, that is, the will and mind of God for those seeking to know and follow Him.

My very brief observations:

v2 and 3 grace and peace pile high if/when we in relationship KNOW the risen Jesus as Lord, not as a mere personal desire-Fulfiller and indeed He provides our NEEDS

v19-21 Scripture, the PROCLAMATIONS made there via the prophets is “the SURE Word” (my emphasis) which assures us of His will, HIS DESIRE which at times clearly must over-rule our own

What this means is not that we have no freedom of choice but rather that we must voluntarily seek the One Who relentlessly seeks us -and seek HIS desire fulfillment in regards to our decisions.

He lives His life through us but it’s very clear that while on this earth any of us may live as unyielding “old wineskins” -or- “new wineskins” who cooperate with God working His Own desires in us that will in reality, begin to overtake our own.

Last questions regarding this text:

What does He consider “filled” and does my desire at the moment or even long-term, trump His? Who in that scenario, is my actual god?

No doubt a major issue is interpretation of The Bible, but are my desires brought to the text or are His desires what I seek as I “study to show [myself] approved”? Is it “the word of truth” or merely suggestion?

These are things I think about often. In my blunders, failures, sins and on-going repentance, in my daily relationship to Jesus, my aim is to love and seek Him and His desire.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Cigarbox Guitar Building Workshop Berwyn, Illinois!

“Cabin fever” no more! I will lead this workshop Saturday, January 27 beginning promptly at 1pm, finishing up 4-4:30pm @ The Nite Light Cafe and Arts Center 7009 W. Ogden Ave. – Berwyn, IL

Space is limited. Pre-registration is required by Wednesday, January 17th. It’s ESSENTIAL that you Contact 708-788-7009 or e-mail at nitelightcafe@yahoo.com with your name/s and contact info so I can know the number of kits to bring on the day!

Ages 12-70 are welcome but kids 12-16 must bring an accompanying adult along- and there is no cost for chaperones/parents/grandparents unless they are building a guitar for themselves!

The cost is 25.00 per person OR 15.00 if you bring your own cigarbox, tin box or wooden box suitable as a “body” for the instrument.

We’ll begin the afternoon a short history of these little gits, pass around a number of my own guitars for ideas, and help walk you through building your very own simple 1, 2 or 3 string acoustic (no pickups) acoustic slide guitar. I will also explain how you can add a pickup cheaply if you wish to do so later.

Have a look/listen here for a sense of what I do and what the workshop will be like:

http://gkaisersoze.wixsite.com/cigarboxgit

Kits with all parts including strings, slides and picks will be provided and you will mainly need to sand and assemble (most tools provided… see below here***). On completion I will tune each guitar and offer a brief lesson.

***TOOLS PEOPLE MUST BRING IF THEY HAVE ACCESS TO THEM… IMPORTANT:

—hack saws, hand-held jig saws and/or small hand wood saws, screwdrivers (phillips head)

—1/4″ drill bits, 1/16″ drill bits, appx. 80 grit and appx. 150 grit sandpaper

—shoe polish to stain wood necks if so desired
—clean cloth rags to apply color, buff and/or wipe sawdust
—safety glasses
Hope to see you and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn