Truth -or Personal Attack of Our Perspective?

Most reading this already realize our personal perspectives about you-name-it aren’t somehow automatically Truth and I mean truth as God thinks of, proclaims it and as Jesus Himself IS TRUTH.

My most recent post here “Evaluation” was written and re-edited several days before I heard an address that I believe to be super important to share.

I was born in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin (U.S.A.) in conservative farm country and after my parent’s divorce when I was 9 years old, visited my Dad for two weeks each summer. Dad had been a trucker for years, then terminal manager in Chicago for more years, eventually worked on road-building with a large road-construction company who plied that trade all over Wisconsin.

I learned to LOVE radio, and as he never missed a newscast on our very local WBEV in (then) appx. 10, 000 person populated B.D. which was surrounded by farming and also contained what was then basically a military academy for college prep, etc.. At one point he began adding a second even smaller-town station to the daily menu. Dad also never missed a Paul Harvey News broadcast and so each visit I heard things daily from largely a very local, small town perspective. Only P. H. gave a wider, more national viewpoint.

Returning to the Milwaukee area after those visits (appx. 2 million metro population) and listening to a wide range of radio from my Mom’s conservative station, my fave rock stations and also using my own up on the roof antenna work to hear tiny local stations that were mostly day-time only and lower power as well as early on becoming addicted to shortwave and Canadian broadcasts via several radios I owned brought me wide and wider perspectives on “the news”. In all this I’m convinced God set me up to be a missionary when I eventually came to follow Jesus.

Our individual, shared or fully disagreed-with (between ourselves and others) perspectives are sometimes flat wrong, solidly right or on a spectrum between those, perhaps a “slice” of truth, a part of what’s true re. any given topic. Humility and patience which are so very key to a legit witness to Jesus as well as our own growth are an essential I think we are often tempted to just dump, sad as that is.

So IF it is possible to put aside our political cementedness, perhaps even idolatries long enough, we may well be able to wrestle with the following questions-

Aren’t we all tempted to judge people and information that hits us as offensive as lies, untruth and even personal attacks on us?

Have we given up listening to people we don’t like, strongly disagree with and whose comments and beliefs are offensive to us?

How is it we who profess to follow Jesus so quickly close our ears? Do our hearts then follow closing to people also?

I think there are many solid and understandable answers to all this, and there is a time to back away, shut down, not put ourselves in a scenario to be “triggered”, I really do get that.

One more question: did not God continually send -in both Testaments- prophets to the nation of Israel, also directly to the kings of Israel and pagan kings of other nations alike- out of love to warn, correct, call them out for repentance and change? The poor, widows and orphans, migrants and immigrants and indeed the gentiles in Bible texts were often specifically mentioned in the strong words God sent. Why? To reveal His character as well as toward setting things right that had been amiss by HIS judgment.

In some cases the practices that God called/calls out for change had been going on for generations. Don’t miss that reality.

If I could, I’d call the entire church in the U.S. to pray deeply, open our hearts and ears and have a watch/listen to the following. It would mean we are listening to people outside our own kingdom and I believe would glorify God and indeed we professing followers of Jesus would begin to understand our own need to repent even as we call others to do so.

I do indeed believe what is presented here is full-on reality WE in the American churches are in need of.

Note: this is not an attack on my white brothers and sisters but an invitation to examine our ways and follow the Biblical Jesus. May our ears hear and hearts truly grow!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

[Please go directly to 19:27 to see/hear Dr. Emerson’s address]

Sharing Grace?

Wow. A deep Sister in Christ just quoted this portion of scripture… powerful phrase, no?! Here it is in several English translations.

Paul writes the Ephesian church:

the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you -ESV

the administration of God’s grace which was given to me for you -NAS

the stewardship of God’s grace that was entrusted to me [to share with you] for your benefit -AMP

The context is the grace of God in Christ, salvation in and from HIM via Paul who was among His chosen people the Jews to, that is toward and for His other, also chosen people (all nations) and the unmerited favor of God for the gentiles.

If this is not our heart towards those unlike us with regard to race, ethnicity, culture, gender, economic situation, spirituality I suggest we have:

-A lot of knowledge and wisdom to seek out and grow in
-A deeper level of obedience needed toward the one we proclaim our Lord and Savior
-Areas of repenting we must attend to (ours, not merely “theirs”)
-Facing the reality of our own need to change, sacrifice and pay the price of scripture-based Christian love and discipleship, especially in our witness of Jesus toward others

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Long Continuing Truths

The Glenn Kaiser Band toured a fair bit of Australia with our friend John Smith (amazing brother and wise speaker) on our way to meet up with Rez’s John and Stu to also play EasterFest and a Rez Band reunion show there back some 12 years ago as of this writing.

The tour was amazing on all counts and we have fond memories of several tours prior there in Oz, that one in 2010 was if anything the cherry on top at the end of the tour.

I recently was looking through some old files and found a set of podcasts I’d forgotten I’d done a few years after that tour and will eventually put online. All are very short and each focuses on a different area of prejudice/bigotry that I’d mapped out years earlier. I’ll add a fresh podcast to go with them and will publicize details when they’re all ready and uploaded. You’ll see why I mention this in a moment.

During Easterfest GKB played 2 sets, REZ one, and I was also asked to bring a seminar.

I spoke on “The Antagonism of the Gospel”, that Jesus’ Own Good News is often communicated by we professing Christians in an angry, antagonistic way. I began by talking about petty and selfish focused pre/un-believers reasons for dodging Him and His Words. Next I turned to myself and the rest of the church, our blinders and went on listing a load of our blunders and at times downright mean and nasty delivery. Trust me, I’ve been there, done that, confessed and repented of it plenty both in public and directly to people as I indeed have needed to at times!

In that context at E-fest, allow me to quote two of my statements from that seminar:

“-Prejudice, pure and simple: negative, harsh judgment of a person or people group, racism.”

“-An extreme sense of nationalism or patriotism to the extent one confuses the desires of self, tradition and country with the eternal Good News of Jesus.”

If you cannot face the reality of these it will be harder for you to ever face that even pre/unbelievers are often telling the truth when they talk of Christians in the most negative, pejorative sense. There are times we have earned it.

God help us, God have mercy on those we come into contact with -for Jesus and their sake!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Evaluation

I was going to begin this post by quoting a document I created decades ago when I was invited to do a several-day teaching event in the Detroit area on Music, Musicians and Ministry.

My concept was to call the material “Musicfax” and of course whether in that or any topic the question is how we get even close to facts?!

If I dug far enough into my electronic archives or a couple of large 3-drawer filing cabs I’d likely find the notes. Yet the more I thought about it, my approach to studying with depth has been pretty standard for most of my lifetime.

Regarding evaluating: how serious, how deep, how much time, how much should we/do we really care about God, people, the issue/s and some key ways to gain knowledge and wisdom for -our- as well as others journey. What does it mean to really and truly study?

From Merriam-Webster comes this definition of “evaluation: “the act or result of evaluating a situation that requires careful evaluation : determination of the value, nature, character, or quality of something or someone. Synonyms for “evaluation”- appraisal, appraisement, assessment, estimate, estimation, fix, judgment, value judgment

Like most anyone I begin with (A.) personal experience/s (if any) regarding the subject. This is what typically propels anyone to dig deeper. Then as a follower of Jesus I go to (B.) His word and the Bible as a whole, then on to (C.) church history (a huge body of water to draw from) and then (D.) world history outside the churches (an even more massive ocean) and also studying at least a good number of (E.) anthropological/sociological studies.

Anthropology: the science of human beings especially : the study of human beings and their ancestors through time and space and in relation to physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture and/or theology dealing with the origin, nature, and destiny of human beings

Sociology: the science of society, social institutions, and social relationships specifically : the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings and/or the scientific analysis of a social institution as a functioning whole and as it relates to the rest of society

When I say church history I mean for example- if it’s largely a Catholic doctrine I dig into varied views of Catholics early and of late from within the Catholic church, not the Lutheran, Baptist or Greek or Russian Orthodox viewpoints. AFTER taking time within Catholic studies and noting there are wide viewpoints even within that faith –which is also true in most if not every association of churches– then I move on to viewpoints of other non-Catholic views of the issue.

When I talk of anthropology and sociology, I’m talking about both believers and those who do not profess to follow Jesus but all who have themselves studied deeply in a given area of human life. Note as well that in these disciplines it is indeed not only a matter of surveys and a wide range of rubrics from which statistics are created but actual FIELD STUDIES and EXPERIENCE many if not most delve into. Interesting when their fieldwork findings matches one’s own, but again without knowledge of God’s Word and wider history of the churches I’m convinced that for a follower of Jesus doing justice to an issue we believe to be truly important is not always as studied as it could be by us.

Further, getting close to truth versus our presuppositions and in many of us long-held biases and preferences must take a back seat or we will skew that wider and deeper body of information before we even being to truly study it. Please read that again.

In our time you can find nearly endless information online, and from continuing (a massive point!) to specifically cross-reference you may come to at least partially establish your views.

The problem with all this is having the humility, willingness and ongoing commitment to CONTINUE hard, effort-filled study in order to further examine what you believe to be solid information, truth, evidence whereby you have solid ground if not utter, perfect certainty of your position on whatever the issue is.

THIS is why at times so many professing Christians and those with no spiritual faith alike often stay entrenched in what they WISH to be true and wise when at times it’s merely personal preference, prejudice and seeking some sort of solid comfort of “I ALWAYS believed that” when in fact the difficult, time-consuming and perhaps friend-losing that happens as one gets serious about depth in evaluation is often left out of our life.

Jesus used the term “disciple” meaning at core, “a listener, a learner”. May we grow deeper and better in both with the many tools at our disposal to evaluate with integrity as opposed to mere personal bias and cultural comfort being our true motivation.

Lastly, “knowledge puffs up but love builds up” so Paul warns us about thinking we’ve figured it all out regardless -and “Let everyone be fully persuaded in their own mind” includes reading, asking questions, studying and by all means relationships with those who don’t think as you do, whose customs and beliefs are not in lockstep with your own. THAT, my friends, is how learning with integrity can actually unify even though we may strongly disagree.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Remember Them- How?

Let’s say you’re in a space, alone, appx. 6 x 8 feet (just under 2 meters x just under 2.5 meters). Alone or perhaps you share that space with another (male with male, female with female) either 24 hours per day or with 1 hour of 24 out for some exercise or such. This is jail or prison for most incarcerated people in the United States.

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are badly treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” -Hebrews 13.3

You are a serious follower of Jesus? Inside or out, have a slow read: https://www.openbible.info/topics/prisoners

I recently asked several chaplains I know in places such as Illinois and Alaska if they had been able to play my made-for-inmates dvd clips of songs and a bit of sharing. They each replied yes and when I asked if they wished for fresh dvds for the same use they again said yes. During this time of pandemics which have hit those women and men in jails and prisons as well as chaplains and officers in damaging ways -and which at times the chaps and other staff then brought home infecting spouses and other family members… we need to remember and at very least pray, but some of us can do more and should.

The immediate response from one chaplain upon my asking was to thank and then inform me that today marks 2 years to the day of Covid lockdown in Illinois prisons. I honestly did not know until he mentioned it.

I am so deeply thankful that even when jail/prison lockdowns happen due to Covid I can still hopefully bring some life, light and encouragement to those behind bars.

Lastly, as I’ve said often the average Christian has little to no clue how very many of those behind bars are serious followers of Jesus, and/or how a large majority are veterans, nor how many of them are in fact innocent yet locked up. It is such “out of sight, out of mind” I think it important to also remember when we pray, talk, vote, involve ourselves in good and helpful programs for the incarcerated -and indeed consider the policies of local, county, state and federal governments which house the most prisoners of any nation on earth.

Remember considering them as if it were you in that cell.

Lastly, I highly recommend the book discussed in the link below as a starting point for deeper thought on why things are as they are in our jail and prison system. Please do your best to put your personal feelings and politics on the shelf and learn! Dominique is an incredibly humble, wise researcher, teacher and author worthy of your time and an open ear.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Rooted?

There is pain, struggle, the obvious need for good soil, moisture, sun and shade, overall nurture but what is absolutely essential for a truly strong, resilient tree are it’s roots.

Many of the verses listed via this link speak directly to this term: https://www.openbible.info/topics/roots

There are those trees and of course, people who are “blown about by the wind”. And yet the Wind (Holy Spirit) blows where He will (said Jesus) and IF IF IF we will grow deeper, deepening roots in Him, His Word and relationships done HIS way, according to Him, stability and fruitfulness can and will result.

Things to consider along the path of an authentic discipleship in Jesus Christ.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

BLUES uke?!

Yep. Indeed so. But doing it in an unconventional way as you’ll see and likely hear.

If you don’t care about this, one of my “off and on” obsessions over the past year (see title) just scroll on by because I’m about to delve into it as I do anything I’m passionate and thinking creatively about. Oh, and there -may- be a very low-fi, simple video clip coming soon via my smart phone 🙂

A very sweet friend gifted me with a cheaper plastic model concert ukulele a couple years ago and I decided right off to “make it my own”.

CHANGING ORDER OF STRINGS AND TUNING CHANGES

I’d thought long about getting a uke, in fact have concert-sized fretted ukulele fretboard and uke tuners gifted me by a pastor friend of mine sitting and waiting for me to glue onto a neck and into a cigarbox body. I may finally get to this in the next months Lord willing!

Being a life-long guitarist and not a uke purist I re-set this little instrument up by unwinding the strings so that the thickest one was then nearest my chin followed by the next thickest and so on. I kept it a four string though I favor 3 or 1 string cigar box guitars and play those all the time.

Now a very common approach to 3 string cbg’s is to tune them to a basic open chord such as (low) E, then B, and the thinnest string (high) E. Or depending on the string gauges and particular guitar or sound you’re going for, perhaps (low to high) G D G or the like.

Because I’ve pretty well learned the scales possible for melodies in this sort of tuning and do prefer 3 rather than 4 string cbg’s myself, I still kept all four nylon stings on it and tuned the two lowest (deepest, thickest) strings to the same pitch (at the moment low F, low F), the 3rd string to a B flat, the thin highest pitched string to a high F.

I have found that scale very forgiving, allowing for some very cool blues combinations I simply wouldn’t have found on a 6 string guitar or certainly not played as naturally as I seem to on 3 -or with this tuning on the uke, 4 stringers.

SLIDE UKE? YES!

Two other things I discovered. I would never have thought about playing that open chord with a slide, but those nylon strings like glass and even hard plastic pvc “slides”, a very sweet sound to my ears.

Further, my wife and I are quite low-carb/keto in our diets so we often find cheap versions of 0 carb/0 sugar “Skinny Syrups’ and the like. Those plastic bottles are hard enough the tops can be cut off and used as a slide on nylon uke strings -but as in all slide playing the strings must be just a bit high so as to not push them onto the frets or neck.

The second thing that I’ve learned is playing in a 1 (open), 4 and 5 chord approach I can doing most of what I personally want to do within just five frets. Plus- if the instrument intonation isn’t true all the way up the neck I don’t care, cuz of course I can simply finger-fret down low on the first five or even just play slide on it (in such playing you never push the strings down onto the neck, the frets are simply serving as position markers), but I’m good with the 1 and up to 4 chord position because especially in soloing, throwing melody lines in and out of basic riffing mixed with two or 3 string chords, you can simply bend up to the 5 position. Five total frets are plenty for me and there are more combinations of notes and riffs within that limitation than most people bother to find.

ADD A PICKUP AND THERE ARE ENDLESS VARIETIES OF TONE AND EFFECTS

Easy enough to use a stick-on piezo pickup and amplify these little gits or attach a more substantial pickup on one and into an amp (or p.a.) and even add a “stompbox” (guitar effects) pedal or two or three of ’em to tweak the sound in a vast assortment of ways.

For me it’s always about inspiration and I often find myself coming up with fresh riffs and patterns on this uke and thus opens up my songwriting and recording as well as live shows in a number of ways.

As in all things, I realize ukulele’s aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that’s fine too! I just like the possibilities and stretching for myself as well as taking small things outside their standard “box” to see what may come of it.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Got a BLUES-UKE Lyric

I’ll likely record this at some point. Thought I’d share here.

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

I THOUGHT I HEARD YOU SAY -glenn kaiser

I thought I heard you say
That you loved him
I thought I heard you say
You’d be true
I thought I heard you say
No one above him
I thought I heard you say
Through with you

What happened to the
Love beyond all loves
What happened when the
Pushes came to shove

You know I heard him say
He’d forgive you
You know I heard him say
Come on home
I know I heard him say
He’ll always love you
He keeps knockin’
Wherever you roam

What happened when you
Had to lose yourself
What happened when your
Love went up on the shelf

I hear the angels say
Somethin’s brewin’
I hear the angels say
Eyes on you
I hear the angels see
What you’re doin’
When you protest
Claimin’ self
Self-rule

What was happening
Inside of your head
Who left who
Which one forgot what they said?

Peace and Mercy

Today I wish to discuss in a very personal way -peace and mercy.

For years I realized that gentleness (a third matter) wasn’t my forte. My go-to was “edge” and I suppose for many of us when we recognize -or believe we do -injustice and especially if done to us or those we love we may tend toward sharp edges, slicing talk. Perhaps in a burning passion we default to such with a mind to “set things right”. We unload fast and hard. Jesus in the four Gospels did this very rarely and I suggest in a different Spirit. When He did such it was toward religious rulers who were more in love with power than the people they supposedly were called by God to care for.

Depending on spiritual gifts (see Galatians chapter five, etc.) and calling as well as natural personality many of us often speak challenging words and seek to live a life that reflects truth and conviction, genuine actions that demonstrate what we believe the will of God truly is. Sometimes we are just plain wrong in our thinking and beliefs, at times harsh in our delivery, in various moments even hypocritical because none of us (including our “adversaries”) fully, perfectly live out what we say we believe at all moments.

So for years I recognized my own lack, slack and need to grow and am still a work in progress by the Holy Spirit: that’s just plain reality!

I have continually prayed for a heart of grace, peace and specifically to grow in mercy and mercy-giving toward others. As often as I’ve failed (plenty) there has been a bit of light and growth in my life with these.

Paul wrote “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.” See the link for more clarity on this please: https://www.biblehub.com/romans/12-18.htm

Of course it’s always a two-way street and there are layers of reasons when peace is not what happens between people.

Jesus taught “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” He lived it, gave His very life to pass ultimate, gracious mercy to “whosoever will let them come.”

He also called us each to repent and believe, not merely believe and walk on as we did prior.

So for me and all of us, this matter of peace-making (“Blessed are the peaceMAKERS”) is neither easy nor can we always grant specific desires of those demanding them -nor can anyone else. In this it gets deep doesn’t it?

We begin to realize not only the importance but difficulties and sometimes impossibility of peace with -all- and yet “IF possible” and “so far as it depends on you”. Finally I suggest if not always between you and others but in your own heart “be at peace with ALL people” is God’s will, God’s calling and God’s way for those of us who profess to follow Jesus.

I am convinced it takes more courage to be judged, rejected or thought a fool by seeking to think, speak and live in this manner than it is to merely trash-talk, exact means to force anyone or for that matter use methods of violence to get our way -which we believe will bring -us- peace.

The longer I live the more I am convinced peace starts between myself and God. From this can come a posture and attitude I -must- have toward others in my heart regardless of circumstances or other factors.

Things to consider along the path? I believe so!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

The Heart and Truth of God

If you are a follower, a believer in Jesus, if this doesn’t bring joy, relief and grace into your mind and soul nothing will:

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.” -Jesus in John 5.24 NRSV

“Truly, truly, I say to you, the one who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” -NAS

“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, the person who hears My word [the one who heeds My message], and believes and trusts in Him who sent Me, has (possesses now) eternal life [that is, eternal life actually begins—the believer is transformed], and does not come into judgment and condemnation, but has passed [over] from death into life.” -AMP

I have met and interacted with so many people who are tormented, fearful, full of anxiety over God’s attitude and heart towards them due to “not measuring up” as though that’s even possible in our human nature, old nature, we -do- have capacity to sin and of course miss the mark plenty whether we’re even conscious of it.

Paul and others are clear- we are NOT saved by works, by our efforts. While he and more New Testament writers discuss living a life worthy of our calling he is not saying we must earn God’s mercy and grace nor continually beat ourselves up to somehow gain His acceptance!

If you struggle with this please meditate on the verse I’ve quoted above, and there are more that essentially say the same right through God’s Word.

Eternal life is a gift from and by Jesus Christ, not a matter of us literally deserving it and certainly not by our own actions nor in our strength.

Consider you’re hearing this from an old holiness preacher, oh yes, LIVE WHAT YOU SAY YOU BELIEVE but take care you don’t walk the planet cowering in fear- Jesus also said “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” -Luke 12.32

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn