Working Poor

Fake news… all about personal responsibility… suck it up… and you who talk do exactly what for those in the following real-world situations? Don’t waste your time trolling, but if you can humble yourself long enough to read this very thorough article and indeed check the links you’ll get a better understanding on the real world for the working poor in the U.S.. It ain’t pretty and it isn’t in all cases “their own fault” full stop “get off my lawn”. Meanwhile here’s a lyric I wrote a couple years ago that will appear in a record I’m working on. As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

THE WORKING POOR by Glenn Kaiser

Rustbelt trains keep rollin’ on
Movin’ Chinese goods to every town
The union songs ain’t sung much more
Wall Street barons closed the store

Welcome to the ranks of the working poor

College grads go back to school
No livin’ wage but you ain’t no fool
Women’s pay is on the floor
The boss man chooses, that’s for sure

They told us if we worked real hard
We’d own a fine house with a dog in the yard 
That we could be anything that we chose
The emperor’s wearin’ his new clothes

Hey hey ho ho activist
No sense hangin’ like a passive fist
Most sit on the couch an’ just complain
Dance between drops in a soakin’ rain

Artful Dodgers at our core
Or we hide inside an’ lock the door
Silent architects of the working poor
Hail the architects of the working poor

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/154618/new-american-homeless-housing-insecurity-richest-cities

SHARE??

This little word re. its ethic has caused wars -and helped end them bringing people in need who were once enemies, together. The basis of true need and that need at least in part being met by another is certainly in the glue that holds together marriage, family, church and indeed any authentic and lasting sense of community.

As I again pondered the domination of wealth, then parcels of land, all a given part would yield, then the reality most wars at core have had to do with the wealthy/powerful and their use and deployment of military power or simply buying off those who would support them this word leapt out at me.

Share, sharing, communion, community. Unity. The Trinity.

God shares Himself with us, there is a complete unity within the Godhead, utter love and yes, sharing.

To hoard, fence off, to foundationally exclude with the deepest desire to deny connection with “the other” is clearly not core to the nature of the God Who seeks, who seeks to save, who invites, desires fellowship with rebellious sinners, misfits, broken, disowned and rejected people.

Does He call -anything- sin, anyone a sinner? Yes. But His aim is moving toward rather than away from… reconciliation not ignoring nor obliteration of His enemies. “Whosoever will, let them come.”

God calls ALL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE TO REPENT, including His Own. It starts with we professing Christians, not “them over there.”

It could not be clearer in The Bible that He is not in complete agreement with any flawed, rebellious sinner or even with His chosen people in all their ways… yet loves, seeks after and yes, SHARES Himself and more with them.

As I thought through this I found:

http://www.openbible.info/topics/sharing

While some of the verses in such a format may seem to not relate, I think the first 17 nail it, and the last two of these include Jesus’ words in John 3.16 “For God so LOVED that He GAVE…” and then a verse I’ll comment on further here.

“They” are you and I dear reader.

If you breathe, have eyes or ears to read or hear my very words it is due to God’s grace, mercy and His sharing posture, His Giving these to you!

Now I ask you what I ask myself- how are we reflecting this fundamental part of His nature in our thoughts, words and practice, in our interactions with our fellow human beings?

2 Corinthians 9.7 is often quoted as a reason to NOT give, the idea that sharing must not be compelled. That’s not the point of Paul’s statement.

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

There has rarely been a tax levied by any government that most people would not gladly avoid… so the concept is that we don’t have to share if our heart does not bring us to choose giving out of love? What people really mean when they take such an attitude is that they only must give when they agree with the people, the cause/s and the use of their wealth. Really? Is that the example we get from Jesus? From God our Father?

Paul may as well have quoted James, or John in one of his three letters to the churches. God loves, He calls us to be like Himself.

To love means sharing what you have -wealth or service of any sort- out of God’s love in and through you. “Don’t have an attitude of hoarding, of clutching after wealth, security (which must be in God, not the bank, or the status of that stuff). Share what you have with others.” In other words, check your heart, then give. Paul also intimates “Don’t be condemned if it seems you don’t have much to give! Give what you are able. God is pleased with your offering!” Remember the widow whom Jesus honored, the lady who had very little -but gave it to God? Like that.

What Paul is NOT saying is “If you feel compelled by a government or you don’t think someone is worth it, DON’T GIVE because your heart isn’t in it”. Sadly, 2 Cor. 9.7 is misused as a spiritual legal loophole for people seeking to be quite unlike Jesus WHO GAVE ALL FOR US SINNERS.

It is a sad, sick, immature and spiritually hard-hearted church when we withhold mercy on the basis of avoiding Christ’s command to love on the basis of “OTHER’S IRRESPONSIBILITY” when in fact we ourselves are being patently irresponsible with all we have- all GIFTS GOD SHARES WITH US TO BE SHARED WITH OTHERS.

Responsible stewardship? Share. Give. Then again you could just bury it in a napkin or build a bigger barn…

Something to think about on the journey?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

-Glenn

SW Correctional, Texas Biker Bash Report

Whew, quite the schedule but we are getting things done for sure!

Last week vacation, this weekend began early after doing Tues. laundry, other chores and errands, more errands on Weds. and a drive to Dixon and my rockin’ friends Todd Anthony Joos and The Revelators.

Got about 3 hours of sleep, breakfast at 3am, hopped in their van and 5 hour drive and couple hour load-in, setup, soundcheck and a rocking and super-well-received set from myself, a tune with the Revs and they proceeded to tear it up more!

The men at Southwestern Correctional in E. St. Louis- and the kind warden and chaplain and officers were really cool, encouraging and helpful with it all. Really, the response was off the charts. Grace.

Just a GREAT day.

Then a supper stop and 5 hours back to Dixon where I tossed my gear in the car and drove back to Chicago.

Unloaded, got a sweet 6 hours sleep and then up to finish packing, breakfast w. my sweet Wendi and I now type this waiting for a flight to Dallas-Ft. Worth, then an hour drive to Decatur and some hangout time, doing sets Sat. and again Sun., solo and jamming with friends at a large Biker Bash.

———–Ok, I’m now finishing this weekend write-up while sitting at DFW (Texas) airport at the gate for my flight to Chicago.

10th Leper

In a word, it was Amazing! And yeah, that word is seriously overused these days but so many biker friends, so many sweet, servant folks at Texas Biker Bash this whole weekend!

BIG Thanks to all- and longtime as well as some new friends who played sweet blues with me -who know the music and feel it. SO nice.

Here are just a few pics from the weekend. It was hot, but a nice breeze, places with ac on the grounds, a cooling light water spray tent right near the outdoor stage, the food great -and superb hospitality. And just a few cool bikes 🙂

So errands and appointments this week, then on to Dassel, Minnesota with Wendi for a cigarbox guitar workshop and GK Solo concert this upcoming weekend (details here at glennkaiser.com in last Appearance update).

Hope so see some of you on the road 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Pushback

Regarding what were professing Christians recently published by several as now “no longer Christians” or “leaving the church” I offer the following thoughts. But first for consideration, I don’t often quote Pink Floyd but when I do: http://www.songlyrics.com/pink-floyd/on-the-turning-away-lyrics/

In light of genuine, actual injustices and associated pain suffered from involvement with (at least professing) Christians and “the church”, I about fell out of my chair upon reading four short verses the other day:

Colossians 1.3-6    We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth

Of course, if there is no God, no gathering of Christians worth being part of, no truth, no real hope in any of this, if everything is always about you, your feelings and your personal sense of justice -only-… don’t bother, you’re already wasting your time by reading further. Your own attitude of self-righteousness is all you got. Live there and let me know if you find love, life and peace in your cemented position.

Being hurt, misjudged, horribly treated and indeed trashed by “Christian people” and/or any organized/disorganized professing local group of them (“the church”) is as old as Adam and Eve bringing all of that and more to God (and depending on your theological take) -even to the entire human race.

The kicker- “… YOUR love for ALL THE SAINTS”… woah. How are you, I, we doing with this? Can that really be said about us? Isn’t love the point, the core, the issue? I don’t mean tacit agreement mind you… but true love for all and in particular, who name Jesus as their Lord. Hmmmm…

This blog is NOT about being against true, legit, actual or even political power-mongering and abuse in or around Christianity because as I just said, Adam and Eve and right down to you and I dear reader, are complicit in that “all have sinned”, “none is righteous”, “Christ died once for all, the godly for the ungodly” and on it has gone and goes right through Christian and world history! There is no historical pristine, “church” because there have never been now or ever any perfect, sinless people -which does not provide excuse nor nullification of responsibility. We will all stand before the judgment seat of God, The Bible states that plainly.

What I am pushing back against is not political positions that are often judged unpatriotic or anathema by hard right-wing believers… (and I have been very, very left of center for decades) rather I’m seeing even in these on-the-surface “unrelated” texts something each and all of us ought to ponder in terms of our attitudes towards God, His people and that of course includes “the church” in whatever manifestation -like it, hate it, seemingly in error or in your and my judgment truly sound in doctrine and conduct- no matter.

So to ponder:

v. 3 Do we live in a thankful or angry, perhaps even vengeful, attack mode towards other Christians? Are we praying “for our enemies” -even if they inhabit the churches??!

v. 4 No doubt, IF you hear of other’s faithfulness (as opposed to UNfaithfulness), and if you recognize their love for other Christians, that is something to consider and thank God for. Are ALL professing Christians idiots, crazy, in error, without any real redemption via Jesus shed blood… or is it only those you and I LIKE who we figure are likely to be genuinely saved, one of His Own?

v. 5 I recently asked a friend about hope, at core about the Truth of The Gospel… and there are many who have always, now and in the future shall come to decide for any number of reasons that there really is none to be found, perhaps in the Person of Christ, in His Church, in the very Bible which proclaims the Gospel in human language, that being Jesus and His death, resurrection and GOOD NEWS. So for some, this is a wash, a non-reality, and that deficit in their life is indeed a hole and chasm that means they will not identify with the only Savior (He proclaimed Himself that in many, many texts) and with ease, NOT part of “THOSE people” who claim to be His but act like demons. Nothing surprising about this but truly sad and possibly eternal in the ramifications of such.

So in light of religious nazi-like behavior, do we respond with silence each and every time? No. NO. Do we scream bloody murder? Yes but I would say before we swing some sort of sword the question is how close are we to demonizing demonized people… remembering we may well have been that in our own past? Until last breath a person may well come to repent. What sort of evangelists are we, or have we already judged them hell-bound and not worth the effort to reach out in love with truth and gospel to the churched lost -as well as the unchurched lost or at times, very much straying?

So- no hope here, neither Jesus nor His gospel (which “the church” proclaims, broken, scattered, sinful as we are right through history). And “truth’? Like Pilate we may wash our hands with the attitude, mind and public statement which equals “What is truth”? This has all been done before and shall be done until He folds the world up like a scroll.

Finally, v. 6 Perhaps the saddest thing here is the lack of actual knowledge, then wisdom, and all this in part via experience of the GRACE of God in Christ. Certainly horrible treatment by “Christians” and “the church” gives a person a sense of “truth.” But does one carry truth with grace or bitterness? “WHAT good news?? These people are anything BUT reflections of the one they claim as their Lord and Savior!” -and I GET THAT BIGTIME.

So the option is?? The optionS are??

I will repeat what I’ve said for years- if you did with either Jesus or “the church” (whoever the church is/was) the same with marriage, a social club, workplace, band, sports team or in any other relationship… what? You’d never risk linking with anyone ever again due to hurt, pain, struggle. Really? That’s how you’re living? And you call that life because it has “the integrity of” unforgiveness, sans grace, sans your own need to repent and truly follow Jesus and in love, obey HIS commands re. your relationships to others?

When you jettison faith, grace, forgiveness and relationship (and that’s the package…) you perhaps are left with one option:

You find people as hurt, as victimized as you are and in time, oh yes, in time… you will find some of them are as mean, brittle, unforgiving, non-grace and truth-giving as anyone you hold harsh judgment against in the church ever was.

People are people. God is, and good news, truth and indeed changed hearts and behaviors (“a friend must show him/herself to be friendly”) don’t happen in a vacuum nor only amongst hurting people -who hurt themselves and others, often with the very same hurt they were hurt by.

Jesus Christ, His Word The Bible, and indeed what HE called “the church” isn’t going away, not now, not ever. HE said “The gates of hell will not prevail against it.” You don’t have to love an institution, but God literally commands us to love those within them.

This is not to say we individual Christians and entire local fellowships/denominations do not need to ever repent for anything -ALL HAVE SINNED isn’t merely past tense in the real world!! I have preached and acted daily (yes) in repentance and confession my entire walk with the Lord. I must for my own sense of sanity, integrity and desire for closeness to Jesus.

But to say there is no hope, no truth, and no real church is simply in the end, a cop-out and a lie.

The fact is, you dear reader are neither God, your own church, nor can you experience lasting hope and truth by other means than via honest, humble relationship with the true God. Disdaining Israel will not heal Israel’s backsliding where and when it has and does. Likewise the church/es. To pretend they are all without value flies in the faith of Jesus’ death for them -and you.

“Without hope and without God in the world” is a place I lived. I do not choose to live there and have not for many years. Why?

I’m a full-on Matthew chapter 25 social justice activist who does his best to repent and clean up his own daily sin, forgiving those who sin (truly or in my own view) against me. It’s not rocket science.

God help you though you walk with a limp!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

GK SEPT. APPEARANCE SCHEDULE Update

 

Photo by Juan Carlos Garzón
Photo by Mark Hootman

SEPTEMBER

Sun. 8th, GK Solo w. Wendi – St. Paul, MN
Outdoor Block Party, GK w. Wendi, 12 Noon Set, 1:30 Set -Note:
MANY other local musicians and festivities going on all afternoon
First Covenant Church of St. Paul, MN
http://first-covenant.org/

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Sun. 15, Glenn Kaiser Band- Hudson, WI
Glenn Blues/Rock 4pm Lakefront Park Bandshell
505 3rd St, Hudson, WI 54016
Sponsored by Christ Center Church, Hudson
715.386.5441

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Sat. 21, GK and Friends – Detroit, MI area
Also Appearing: God’s Dirt -cookin’ hard rockers from Ohio
Electric Blues/Rock “Rally for Rocky” and Family
Wolverine Harley Davidson
44660 North Gratiot Ave
Clinton Township, MI 48036
586.463.7700
A bit more detail soon tba

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Sun. 22, GK Solo @ Pilgrimfest
Pilgrim Lutheran Church Chicago
Block Party- 4300 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
Glenn plays blues plus, Noon until 2pm
http://www.pilgrimchurchandschool.org/
773.477.4824

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Sat. 28, Glenn Kaiser Band- Lapel, IN
doors 6- Show 7:30pm for Blues/Rock
Daybreak Community Church
1219 N. Main St. Lapel, IN 46051
Tickets: http://www.AimChristian.Com/gkb

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I will also be doing several visits to Cook Co. Jail and local N. Illinois prisons in Sept., but won’t list all those here.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Get Closer

I want to illustrate an important matter first with analogy to fishing and hunting. I could also use football (soccer) as well -but here goes…

If you can’t hit what you’re aiming at get closer. If the lure or bait isn’t where it needs to be in order to catch that fish, get closer so you can cast closer (be it with cane pole, fly rod, spinning or casting reel and rod) for greater precision.

Listening and actually hearing the voice of God isn’t impossible but sometimes we must get closer. Prayer includes confession of sin, not only talking but listening, reading and actual study of His Words: “HEAR Oh Israel” said Jesus.

As the higher frequencies in my ears have taken a beating over a lifetime of shooting and of course countless concerts and now some 37 full length recordings, etc., etc., I find even with hearing aids I often need to get closer to someone (or closer to my amp or the p.a. system) to hear what I need to hear. Clarity comes from closeness.

The very same is true with eyesight, glasses or none. Move closer to truly see.

How many people who proclaim great faith are afraid of… plenty of people who need Jesus? How many people are so afraid they must pack weapons and/or maintain a stance of TOUGH to feel safer, always on the defensive, sometimes to the point of being offensive? Fear (reverence, respect) GOD. Loving your neighbor regardless is the issue here.

See, when I begin to get interested, then actually care for a person or group of people I study them. I ask questions. I dig through the web, read through the commentary of people who knew/know them. I especially want to hear their own words about themselves because nobody represents their deepest concerns like the person or people group themselves if and when you can find their writing or listen to or watch and listen to videos on their life, goals, hurts, dreams and issues of conscience.

It’s of course best to meet them and actually spend time in their presence. That’s a best practice for actually learning.

Get closer.

That means I must intentionally move in THEIR direction.

I’m not saying we should all be fools, but then some of us are when we run to power instead of love, dish out anger and meanness, suspicious of everyone we don’t naturally like or feel safe around. Discernment is one thing, harsh and snap judgment is another. Jesus commands us to love -even our enemies. While there are certainly times distance is warranted, often it’s about our own fear and judgment, not God’s call to engage and love that we’re operating out of.

When I get to know people better I may fully disagree with them, even think elements of their beliefs and behaviors are horrible, self-defeating, even self (and others) destructive… but knowing someone takes you deeper than merely knowing about them.

Plenty of us give personal, deep study little effort. Prejudiced, we literally pre-judge. The quick, lazy of non-educated r us. We only listen to those who already agree with our own assessment of things and of people.

Sometimes we don’t come to people or issues with any sense of genuine love, concern or empathy for how someone “got so messed up” -and we brought our previous perspective along with us. We figure we already know enough that studying for greater depth of understanding isn’t on our agenda.

Are they guilty and troubled and dangerous? Perhaps.

So are we as we make judgments without getting closer.

This is too common to even debate isn’t it? If “they” had gotten to know you they’d not have thought so poorly of you, right? At least possibly so, correct?

The closer I get to Jesus, the more I move in HIS direction and truly study Him via His own words, the more I meet (and over the years I’ve met a LOT of) genuine disciples of His, the longer I have lived in close, intentional community most of my life with well over a hundred people the more I realize the benefits and importance of a pure, right and gracious education that cannot come by distance, quick and surface judgment, sound bites or mere headlines.

That guy on the street corner… how did he get there? It’s easy to say “SIN!” (well we’re all sinners, so…?!) but is he panhandling due to mental illness, a record from jail/prison, nobody will hire him, he has issues finding the social services, or they’ve simply cut him out to save a buck… perhaps he was abused for years as a juvenile, a local gang seemed the only way to survive… on it goes.

You can keep moving away from people you don’t like. Out of fear or anger you can reject, ignore, shut people out -all the while talking about faith. Wow. Think about that for a moment please.

Well… maybe it’s wise to not get too close, right?

Including Jesus with His hand-picked disciples, Paul with the flaky Corinthian church, God nearly continually with Israel in the Old Testament or most of the churches in the Book of Revelation… any of us can choose to move away -but that’s not what He did or does. There’s always that other option:

Get closer.

It will change you if you do.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

FrankenToid!

This little guitar started life as a basic 3 string slide git with my travel/tour schedule in mind. I didn’t like the tone from the piezo inside the Altoids tin, and a fresh re-do came to mind. How?

A Facebook friend hit me w. a pic of a round tin 2 string slider he noticed in downstate Illinois at a thrift shop. But unlike typical 1 string diddley bows, this one had 2 strings very close together (like a 12 string guitar does). Well, one can use thicker (lower, bassier sounding) strings, or 2 high matching string, or really with 3 tuners as you can see, I could re-do this any way I might choose to mix and match, even low bass string and a couple matching high strings like a hybrid 2 stringer… lotta possibilities for this little one.

I got to thinking that if I kept it a 2er like the one he showed me, and screwed it tightly on a solid but thin box, well the volume, depth of tone and even the piezo in the Altoids tin might produce better than it was. It worked!

I think in part the sound and tone is much better because I chose to mount the neck on the bottom of the solid box, and use that as the “front”. Simply added a small screw to shut the real top which faces my gut… and then we hope- comes the gut-real blues.

Sometimes you don’t even need to place the neck -inside- the body (be it wood, composite or metal box, whatever) but just affix it solidly to the top as per our early Grrr Records GK model #1. So having that Arturo Fuente box handy, this is part of what I did on my vacation thanks to a local Ace Hardware (they even drilled the two holes for the carriage bolts) and hey, hey, got a slider that kicks nicely!

I wanted to build one with the tuners at the bottom as well, so it’s all there in a package.

Now, if you search up at http://www.cigarboxnation.com you can find a huge amount of ways to tame and indeed deepen the tone of a single (or multiple) piezo pickup, but I have found my many gits with those are easily helped by one or other of several stomp boxes I have due to built-in tonal variations, distortion and etc., so that’s what I’m doing with gits if without a typical single coil or humbucking pickup.

“Franky” is 22 1/4 inches tip to tip, 8 1/4 inches wide and just under 2 inches thick at the thickest part. Slide only, easily hits two octaves and punches out louder than a lot of diddley bows I’ve built. And I LOVE the OPTIONS this little build offers if/as I wish to change things up re. the gauge and placing of the strings.

Fun stuff and packs easy or as a carry-on with zero extra cost when flying. Love it when inspiration comes and the fresh concept works 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn