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

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

GK Guitar Auction for Homeless Shelter

End of January brings my birthday. Old guy r us 🙂 This year for my b-day I’m personally building a 3 string electric cigarbox slide guitar to auction -the entire amount going directly to Cornerstone Community Outreach shelter here in Chicago. The guitar is 3/4s finished and I’ll post pics this next week. BIG thanks to Grrr Records for donating the pickup, tuners and strings!

I will ship the guitar to the winner of this auction (highest bid) the day after I receive the loot- and the check –must– be made out to Cornerstone Community Outreach as a donation.

This guitar has a quality pickup, the box is beautiful, I’ll include a two-way copper slide, and I trust the one who bids the highest amount will enjoy playing or at least gifting it to a musician who will! Pictures coming soon but it looks similar to the one I’m holding here with several tweaks. The pickup is mounted closer to where the neck joins the box for example. and the neck is entirely enclosed within the box and strung as per a Strat (strings through the bottom up through the neck and over the bridge to the tuners).

GrrrV2cbg.jpg

I will announce the winner -unless they choose to remain anonymous, on Friday, February 9th.

Whatever the donation, CCO does amazing and important work. You might know this is one of the coldest winters on record here in Northern Illinois. You may or may not know from a very recent post of theirs:

“Right now, over 40 families and 125 children are sheltered at Cornerstone. For $22.00 per night, CCO can provide three meals per day, case management, personal hygiene and clothing, and the safe place to sleep.

Whether you can provide one night of shelter for $22, or a hundred nights, your donation will make a difference in the life of families experiencing homelessness.”
So I want to raise awareness of their amazing and sorely needed services and as much money for this guitar as possible to hand to them. EVERY little bit helps.
Want to bid for the guitar i’m auctioning for CCO? Email me directly with your offer at gkaisersoze@gmail.com
Thanks for your time and consideration!
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

 

Wow. Wisdom Here.

Just came in via one of the several online devotionals I subscribe to every day. Brilliant. Worth pondering.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

“You can have flaws, be anxious, and even angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is to find strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness. It is not only to celebrate the successes, but to learn lessons from the failures.  It is not only to feel happy with the applause, but to be happy in anonymity. Being happy is not a fatality of destiny, but an achievement for those who can travel within themselves. To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and become your destiny’s author.

It is to cross deserts, yet to be able to find an oasis in the depths of our soul. It is to thank God for every morning, for the miracle of life. Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about you. It is having the courage to hear a “no”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends, even when they hurt us.

To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It is to have maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. It is to have the courage to say “I am sorry”. It is to have the sensitivity to say, “I need you”. It is to have the ability to say “I love you”. May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness … That in spring may it be a lover of joy. In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you make a mistake, start all over again. For only then will you be in love with life. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life. But use the tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your losses to train patience. Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity. Use pain to plaster pleasure. Use obstacles to open windows of intelligence. Never give up …. Never give up on people who love you. Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show.” -Pope Francis

Racial (and Other) Reconciliation

A brother online recently shared a great story of the battle (yes) within his church association for racial reconciliation. It was both beautiful, then tragic how a massively middle class white congregation wrestled with a less-than year old brother in Christ instrumental in a 90 percent ratio kids of color/subculture in their Sunday School program. Tragic in that with zero reason given, the entire thing was shut down by leadership rather than with prayer, discussion and input on getting more reasonable numbers of kids, responsible adults and such continuing on in the care of the younger part of the congregation. Interesting that there were far more kids than adults in Sunday morning Bible education.

This individual did not write with rancor, no hating, just sharing part of his story and why he continues to work -with faith, hope and love mind you- in mission to encourage and in practical ways, bring racial reconciliation among churches he’s involved with. A good-hearted soul from all I can gather.

This reminds me of another bro. and sis. who left a fellowship (which no longer exists) years ago over the same thing. In essence, the pastor and several key leaders (likely the key financial support of the congregation) wanted young African-American and Latino/Latina kids somewhere else on Sunday morning.

Painful? Yep. Some core reasons for this sort of thing?

I am re-posting here what I wrote in the social media thread.

“Jesus’ call for we Christ followers to be agents of reconciliation is clear, certainly Paul in Corinthians and Jesus even in His story re. a Samaritan (!) being the good guy… the implications are massive.

But does not the road to racial (or spiritual, etc.) reconciliation effectively bring us to power sharing and even control loss? That’s the rub.

Further and more at core personally- “We were/I am -wrong-, please forgive me?” Then “fruits meet for repentance” in ol’ KJV speak? If one either does not honestly recognize their sin in a matter or worse, if in fact they’ve (we’ve, I’ve) truly sinned by God’s judgment, the humility factor and the personal cross-bearing and actual behavioral changes will knock me off my pedestal, erode my control and sense of security and even preferred comforts of culture, subculture, just plain comfort.

Heck, I may lose friends and even family members over “those” people God is calling me to actively love in living out, active participation in the Good News of Jesus.

I may have to become an ambassador (ugh… the patience needed… the regular interaction with those I consider UNdesireable). It’s not rocket science why all too many professing believers aren’t involved. God have mercy on us and -through- us!!!”

I must also add that reconciliation is a two-way street. IF one is not guilty but others call you on being a bank robber, how does a person of integrity repent for something they never did? ON THE OTHER HAND, if in fact you -did- rob one or more banks, pretending you did not effectively trashes any possibility of reconciliation with those you stole the loot from.

BOTH parties must risk being gracious (or not) up close and personal (and often one or both parties aren’t honestly interested in that) and willing to link. The fact is at times, one or both don’t want to link, they want to win.

When the love of Jesus calls me to lose in terms of reality, that being truth, mercy and fellowship with “the other”, I’m all the way in!! The issue is that sometimes we want our way, not the way of Jesus.

So what does HE want in terms of loving our neighbor as ourself?

Is it a question of actual sin (scriptural, not church-defined) or not? Is it a question of what really happened or what I believe happened… or didn’t? Is it a question of loving or domination?

Whites have dominated in this nation. Historical fact. Justice costs. Mercy costs. Look at Jesus on the cross!

The only One worthy of ultimate control ain’t me or you. Yet He commands us to love one another.

God, my neighbor, myself. Is there such a thing as a three-way street? Perhaps we can meet at the intersection??

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn