Limits, Tribes, Community

You will rarely hear me say what I will quote from an old friend here. I tend to be a people-pleaser best I can be, but there are times I simply cannot do what a person or group of ’em want and there are a load of reasons when I cannot and will not. Often it’s due to what I’m already doing for others or in good conscience before God cannot move beyond what I’m fully convinced He is calling me to do or not do in a situation.

My wife has called me on caring too much what people think, and I usually want to defend myself re. often doing things that I’m certain will not be loved, liked, accepted by others but am convinced I must do in service to Jesus and others. But at core, I think she’s correct.

Not being Lord nor anywhere close to Savior (!!!) and of course having my own family, church, neighborhood and general serving responsibilities may or may not include you on any moment, day, week, month, year or lifespan. Now all of this is equally true of everyone reading this! We can beat ourselves up knowing someone or group of someones are in need and accomplish nothing. We can dismiss a deep, convicting call of God in serving person A only to be judged harshly in the negative by person B due to our not serving them or at least doing as they wish toward them.

Again, this is a situation every person on planet earth must navigate. Certainly at times we’ve blown it, yet judgments must be made as to how thin and wide we can spread ourselves, what our actual gifts and talents in serving others truly are. We each and all -do- have limits.

If you read my writings, hear my songs or hear/see/read interviews I’ve given you rarely get what I’ve just stated here, but it’s always been so and won’t end long as I live – nor for you dear reader.

In light of all this, Steven Meigs posted something that so rang this bell of truth I felt it important to share. So many of you are self-condemned or feel rejection so keenly on this basis. After many reads, I find the following absolutely true and important.

I’ll only add that if you are in some sense of ministry to others, you may wish to post it on your office wall and prayerfully consider it from time to time. Heartbreak, like mistakes and sin, is a part of all our lives. Rejection and ill will happens in everybody’s life. Truth and reality in these matters must be also!

Major Thanks to Steven for this quote of his:

“An important reminder that bears repeating:- You can’t possibly make everyone happy. – Not everyone is going to like you. – Some people may be inexplicably offended by the way you are. – You may never be able to figure out the reasons why. – The reasons may involve misunderstandings you’ll never have the opportunity to correct. – It doesn’t matter as much as it feels like it does. This is just the way it is, and we’re all much happier if we accept it. – Focus on those who appreciate you and value your gifts. Devote yourself to them. They are your family; they are your tribe. I’m especially thankful for my tribe.” -Steven Meigs

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

DIY? Yep. Mic Holder for Busking

When in the street (one of my fave gigs ever) or in a “set up/tear down quick” situation… playing solo blues with only myself as the “road crew” in a busking situation I have long thought about how to create something do-it-yourself on the cheap. As in free.

I found a dude on YouTube who had constructed one of these quick and simple. Sure, there are some you can buy online for 7 dollars U.S. but why? Who are we trying to impress and does it really matter to -me-? Frankly, not really.

If I’m trying to use the most minimal gear, say, a single string diddley bow, a 3 string cigarbox guitar, a six string electric, maybe a guitar effect box, slides, harps and perhaps a couple little battery powered amps (one for git, the other for vocal/harmonica mic) what to do? Small roller bag for amps, slides, picks, cables, tuner. effects. extra batteries. Little diddley and cbg in a soft bag, electric git in another. Simple.

But a mic plus hauling some sort of a mic stand too?? Nah. Believe me, I’ve seen every sort of contraption to add a little gooseneck or other mic holder to your body or screwed into a guitar… but with 2 or more guitars? And what about room to add a harmonica on a separate neck brace?

No, I don’t want to shell out loot for a harp mic capsule/harp holder clip and sing through the harp all the time either. So how and what to do?

In a larger church with a massive shop there are all sorts of things one can find. Even a ton of stiff wire. So to create something strong, versatile and long-lasting regardless of bending it over time I fashioned a simple 3-strand braid of wires with loops on both ends, added a couple ring connectors and an old GKB German tour (North Sea area) backstage neck tag (matching colors).

D.I.Y. Mic Holder

Light, truly comfy, works great.

Ahhh the good therapy and on-the-cheap of d.i.y. 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Found-Object Primitive Guitar Build Video

So the past week I had been considering doing a how-to do-it-yourself simple (and I mean simple!) video online build of a one string slide guitar out of whatever you may have lying around the house, garage or shop.

Originally I thought it might be quick and easy to just do it live in Facebook and then after more discussion with my friends at Grrr Records we may post it via YouTube. We’ll see and we’ll send out details soon as we have it set.

My plan is to show a number of them I’ve built, then build one in front of camera.

Meanwhile prior to filming and posting (likely a one-hour piece) I thought I’d briefly mention a few things.

“Simple”? How simple do I mean? Soooooo many ways to do this. Here’s just one of ’em.

Tools: A medium size philips head screwdriver and solid pliers which also has a wire cutter to clip off excess string when done.

Parts:

(1.) Strong enough one-strand wire (be very careful, a too-thin piece of wire under tension will snap and hurt you- I’m not responsible if you use and do such!!!) and better yet a single wound or plain (unwound) guitar string (they are made to take the torque/tension of tightening)

(2.) two thicker nails

(3.) a wooden 2 x 4

(4.)either one or two items to hold the string up on the nails and over the wood: such as one-inch pvc pipe. SOLID small copper or metal tubing or thicker small glass bottle… even a hard enough empty plastic pill bottle… and you’ve got a one-string “diddley bow”.

5) You could use most anything for a resonator (guitar “body”) to amplify the sound acoustically and 6) even stick a proper guitar pickup on it, but keeping it simple here, place it on a table top and you’ll hear it louder and more tone as the table itself reflects the vibrations and -resonates- the string and wood sounds.

Then when the nails are in deep enough, string attached and tight as possible (think hammer for the nails, pliers or even 2 pliers to help to wrap and twist the guitar string on one or both nails up, oh… say 3/4s of the way up both nails from the wood, and after securing the string as tight as possible, pushing a piece of pvc under the taut string and up against the nail- if you’re right handed that would be the nail to your right. If needed you can add a second piece of pvc under the other nail to the left. If the string is tight and sings out a “note” when you tap or pluck it, you’re nearly done. If needed, two more nails (or four if both a “bridge” -and- “nut” are needed on both ends of the string in order to hold it up high enough, stable on both main nails. Any string will stretch with playing on it so it’s essential you stretch it (pull side to side, then use pliers to keep wrapping in such a way as to get it to hold a musical note/pitch securely.

7) Then you can decide what to use as a “slide”, which moving from left (lowest note) to the right (higher notes) will give you a basic 1 string slide guitar. Slides can be the rounded handle of a butter knife, a small glass bottle (on the glass, not paper if there’s a label on it…) the metal back of a jack knife (raspy sound some may or may not like) or even the metal stem on a screwdriver can work. Experimenting is part of the experience!

8) You can then pluck the string with your right hand while moving the slide just down on the string hard enough for it to sound out from one end to the other in order to find the notes. Placing a piece of colored tape, using a pencil, then perhaps marker or even screwing small screws in the side or top of the wood where each note is found can serve to help you find the notes and thus play a tune.

It’s also possible to beat on the string with a marker or a pencil while moving the slide for a percussive, intense sound. Again- placing this primitive one-string slide guitar on a table top amplifies the sound, and if using a smaller piece of wood (say, 1×2 inches, perhaps 30 or so inches long) and screwing it into a cigarbox will act the same giving more tone and volume.

Of course you can use an actual guitar pick… or use a scissors and cut them out of old plastic credit or gas cards.

Simple? Yes!

UPDATE 3 HOURS LATER: In the end I had a partly broken 2×4 so in 20 minutes built another similar to the one I sketched above. I added two more nails per end using two hard plastic pill bottles. Total of six nails, the two to secure the bottles in place, larger outside nail on each end to attach a guitar string. Worked great, sounds cool. I’ll likely send up a really basic video clip of the finished diddley in my personal Facebook vid-clip site in a day or two.

Hey, as I write it’s summertime, but anytime you have a bit of time give it a try 🙂

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Who to TRUST?!

THOUGHTS, WORDS, TRUST

Pro. 23.7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you. -NASB

And from some English translations something pretty intense to say the least:

For like a hair in the throat, so are they. “Eat and drink!” they say to you; but they do not mean it. -NRSV, CEB

There have always been fakers, people without integrity who scam people, say things with motive to curry favor and in essence, are not people of integrity. The “I’ll pose as your friend to get what I want from you” game has always been played and one can easily find people in both Testaments as well as everyday life who consistently do so.

Here’s the problem: how to know the difference between actors and real-deal people, between sincerity and someone currying favor because they want something they perceive you may have that they desire.

Years ago a very genuine person asked me “How do you tell when someone is lying or being honest?”

My reply included thoughts about the difficulty yet necessity of hearing (and if possible reading, etc.) their words, and watching their lives over time, if possible even years, not mere moments. What sort of consistency in relational dealings did/do they exemplify?

The foundational issue is trust.

This is true about what we think and believe about Jesus Himself, Paul, Peter, John, James, Moses, David and others we read about in scripture. It is also true regarding Judas, Jannes and Jambres, King Saul, Ananias and Sapphira, those Jude mentions in his letter. It is just as true about you, me and all of us dear reader.

If you truly don’t believe you can trust God or someone else no authentic relationship with them is possible. In fact a close relationship with them doesn’t make sense.

You and I have experienced such, true?

How do you love someone you don’t trust?

First off, God loves us even though He’s well aware of our propensity to ignore and at times even outright rebel against Him. He does not automatically trust us, nor is He at all ignorant about our being made in His image. He recognizes we are imperfect, flawed sinners, not totally righteous in all our thoughts, words and deeds. He IS Love and the Source of all true love – it’s His nature.

For us to love one another with any reflection of Him we must ourselves be accountable to Him and godly people of integrity He sends our way. Risks abound in all this, don’t they?

The fear- reverence, respect and knowledge we shall all give account to God rather than the fear of people is truly key to all this. Eyes on God, deep desire to truly serve Him and others, faith that God is indeed WITH us throughout our days and even “the dark night of the soul” are all core-core-core to how to navigate such people and whatever the circumstances involved.

Knowing and following the Risen Jesus, studying and application of His Word the Bible, confessing OUR sins, walking our (HIS) talk puts our feet on solid ground in relation to both God and others.

Yet none of this fully removes us from rip-off people- disingenuous, self-worshiping or even those with evil-motives in this fallen world.

Can we learn how to truly pray? Is James correct that if we lack wisdom God will give it to us? Is it possible for us to not get fleeced by the “P.T. Barnum’s” of our world, even in the church world? I believe it is quite possible if we ourselves will guard our own hearts, forgive those who have sinned against us -and one more thing:

If your motive and focus is regularly about getting rather than giving (please meditate on this point) you may find within yourself seeds very alike those in the person mentioned above in Proverbs.

Certainly there are times justice requires confrontation and for example, Matthew 18 -but if getting, taking, receiving, the me-first attitude is the motive you share with the actor, and/or false prophet you will likely reap what you’ve sown and find yourself often in such company.

God give us grace to check our own hearts, keep focus on Him and not merely look for gain in our relationships -but being a loving, serving gift to others.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Early June 2021 UPdate

First, Big Thanks for all the kind words and wishes for Wendi and myself re. our 49th Anniversary! It was a truly cool time together… so many of you here and via social media I just couldn’t reply to all of ya’s!! THANK YOU.

So a number of folks have requested GK solo shows/appearances. I’ve told all including confirmed gigs not to publicize at all until 3 weeks prior to the actual date/s, and then they can and I will via all sites. If Covid kicks in here or where they are re. at-risk folks I’d have to cancel and I’d rather not publicize and then have to do such.

Meanwhile I’ve another chapter (Five) up at the YouTube GrrrRecords channel from my simple reading of “Now What?!” which details the first 9 months of my walk -roller coaster as it truly was- with Jesus.

As schedules permit for all involved I’ll be getting back to work on “Ain’t No Bars” which is essentially a blues/worship record. I hope to get it finished and released this year via Grrr.

Been so busy w. family and special events I’ve not had time to get out front w. the guitar, harp and battery-powered amp this past week but will continue doing so asap. So love chatting and interacting w. our neighbors here in Uptown Chicago!

I’m up to some 240+drafts of starts, partial edits or otherwise bits of writing in this blog… I pray, re-read and edit and sometimes post, sometimes not, but much writing going on.

I’ll soon post web addy, date and time for an hour-long video I’m doing on building a simple found-object and/or cigarbox guitar. Stay tuned.

My “Swamp Gas Messiahs” record has been well received and grateful for the many kind responses to it.

As Covid gets in control via vaccinations and sane protocols I look very forward to continuing in chaplain’s work and shows in Cook Co. Jail, Stateville CC and other Illinois, etc., prisons.

I continue to join many brothers and sisters in our Sunday Vigil here in Chicago- silently holding up signs w. names of Black and Brown people killed by police (and on occasion vigilantes). Those are imprtant times of prayer, reflection and convos with people, perhaps even life-saving and in the long run a matter of justice. Many of you know I live out of Matthew 25, John 15 and Micah 6.8 in these matters. And then there is 2 John 6!

I hope your summer is good, safe and filled with learning, grace and yep- fun!!

As always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

Eternal Repetition

I’ve shared this before, but I suppose someone needs to hear it or remember…

Five amazing words so packed with meaning! They appear in other, similar phrases throughout the Bible but today leapt out at me once again from Luke’s gospel via the angel Gabriel who proclaimed “His kingdom will never end.” -Luke 1.33b


He was speaking of Mary’s soon-to-be reality, her miraculous pregnancy though yet a virgin, and another coming and unstoppable reality:


This child would rule and reign as King over HIS kingdom -which will never end.


Never. End.


Jesus Christ, the will of God and working of the Spirit of God will never change nor require human permission or agreement to be accomplished.


He does not even require our faith to be Who He is, do what He’ll do and ultimately fully establish His kingdom in His way and His timing.


As we make our choices and create our “kingdoms” it is as essential as it is sobering, perhaps even frightening to realize only His kingdom is unending.


I choose to live with this in mind.


Paul wisely wrote to the Christians in Corinth “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 3.11) Why? Because no other foundation is eternal -no other foundation will last.

This is an essential thing to consider.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Blame and Antidote Shift

As life continues on I find myself often quoting the phrase “One day at a time” as well as “Your mileage may vary” in terms of life experiences.

The Church -either the whole of those professing to follow Jesus Christ and/or a local fellowship you’re involved or were involved with- STILL does what it does together or apart one day at a time. Regardless your experience or another’s, it’s still a matter of mileage -which varies. Comfort, discomfort -is-, regardless.

One person seems to truly find blessing, grace, purpose and peace with this or that group of people while the next person among the same people consider their experience one of misery, confusion, perhaps even rejection or plain crazy and irrelevant.

There are so many reasons for either person and the layers of positive or negative feelings and actual struggles or uplift there’s simply no way to list them all.

What I’d like to say is that the issue of life is always that of a third phrase I’ve also repeated continuously over some past decades: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

Whether The Bible, interpretation of it, application or lack thereof regardless of interpretation, then whether it seems God has answered your specific prayers, considering what we need versus what we want, the timing of or zero “answer” or perhaps even “No” seemingly from God Himself all enter into one’s judgment as “This church”, or even God Himself “works for me” or not.

Understood.

What I’ve found is that the sun indeed shines on the just and the unjust, same for the rain. Our perception is so often focused on us. Physical pain is a massive culprit that tests our ability or certainly willingness to both seek and be faithful to God in practice.

One of many, many things I’ve learned from my wife is the ability to love, serve and be a blessing to others though much of her life she’s suffered pain. From actual abuse in her younger years through mental/emotional roller coaster rides trying to cope up and until following the Lord in her 18th trip around the sun right through our marriage (at 19) to now- 49 years later in our marriage I’ve watched the grace of God displayed in her life.

In large part she chose and chooses to respond to life by faith. She was given plenty of reasons to disbelieve, is a truly intelligent person (moreso than I) and could have cursed God, anything to do with church, family and etc. long ago but chooses to love, forgive and set an incredible example in my and many other lives.

So many times the tests have come to her! I’ve also lost count of how many others I’ve known who also responded as she has!

Then again we’ve known plenty who continually chose to break off relationships again and again, even to the extent of breaking fellowship with God, with His Word. In part this was (or currently is) their method of avoiding, numbing the pain they experience in reality, by their own belief or the beliefs of others.

A ship that never finds or chooses a port escapes one set of risks only to face a fresh though perhaps different set of them.

A sense of control seems to be the issue and of course there are plenty of things we cannot control in this life, on this planet or among person or people group X, Y or Z. What to do?

For myself all of this finally placed me in such desperation I called on Jesus in faith after He showed up -totally unexpectedly I might add! I certainly had no real idea how things would go in my life after.

In that my addictions and sense of deep lost-ness had only served to rot me through and through -and I had simply withdrawn from people repeatedly when things didn’t “suit” me… until that time of surrender to the Lord opened me up to relationships with a wide (and I mean broad) sort of Christ-following people… I finally realized most of my pain was self-induced.

Continually splitting from discomfort didn’t comfort me in the end. What a shock, surprise and sense of relief when I began to experience healing from the worst tyrant I’d ever known: myself.

For now I’ll just finish this post by saying one more thing: nobody is flawlessly, perfectly faithful and unchanging but God Himself. Regardless of circumstances or suffering, nothing can nor will ever change that. It IS a matter of faith, but what a difference Jesus has made in my life, in a world so laced with lost and sinking ships.

His love and grace has sustained me right through my lifetime and I simply cannot recommend anything or anyone more than the risen Jesus as there simply isn’t anyone who can match Him in terms of a relationship of love and provision -even when things don’t go my/your way.

The church? Ha! In that all of us put together don’t equal God I never expected perfection nor even maturity of the family of God on earth, so when I saw actual sin, nastiness and at times in history brutality I wasn’t all that surprised knowing all those things are always possibilities and even probabilities in me also. You find them right through both world and church history.

Nothing new under the sun until He began (and still is…) making me new!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Glenn & Wendi- 49 Years Today

49 years ago today: SO deeply Grateful for my best friend, lover, partner, Dear wife Wendi!

Image
Glenn and Wendi Wedding Day

I’ve learned more about love, grace and service from this incredible woman than from anyone. SO Thankful!

-Glenn