Only What They “Deserve”?

You know the drill: you’re watching a movie or tv show where the villain is so horrible you can’t wait to “see them get what they deserve” in the end. The concept of them earning punishment, pain and death is powerful. Why?

In a word- “justice”.

Consider what God has done for self-serving people who moment by moment, day in and day out over a lifetime act in the practical as if they themselves are God. The ultimate blasphemy, the biggest and most common of lies ever believed and sometimes boldly uttered is that we ourselves ARE deity.

So what have we earned? What do we deserve? Is that what Jesus coming into the world, suffering and dying -the Sinless for the sinners- offering the gift of eternal life to the undeserving, the Righteous One’s extreme suffering for the unrighteous… is that why He came, to simply pay us for our denial of Him and His truth, rejecting His qualifications to be our Lord and Savior?

This is yet another reason I take issue with attitudes of harsh judgment against others, inhumanity towards “the least of these”. It is a goat-like (and not as His sheep -see Jesus’s words at the end of Matthew 25) attitude.

Do the unrighteous deserve to drive on roads paid for by others? Do the addicts deserve to simply die if they bring no money into the national or state coffers? Why should public-funded police and fire departments risk their very lives to save the guilty, the lazy, those we judge to be “no accounts”? Do we believe such people deserve public libraries or postal services?

See, if we’re thinking deeper and brutally honest our own ungodly, ungracious judgment of others places us in the very space where unless God Himself brings us repentance and forgiveness we’re all doomed because we’ll only get what we deserve, nothing but what we’ve earned.

Thank God this is not His deepest desire. Mercy is in His character and not merely or only harsh, sharp judgment.

Jesus is the Grace-Giver Who in humility sets us the example in washing the feet of all at His table- including the one He knows is about to betray Him to arrest and crucifixion.

Jesus is the God-man Who works a miracle in healing the ear of someone coming to arrest and crucify Him the moment after one of His disciples chops it off.

We don’t have an account of what happened to the second individual but we know Judas had an ending much like many sad souls who have chosen their own path rather than walk with the Lord.

But for the grace of God the righteous and unrighteous are in deep trouble.

Sharing, extending God’s grace to others is a “mistake” only when we base it on our own judgment as to whether or not they have earned, deserve what is by definition undeserved favor.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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2 Phrases We Want to Hear -and Advent!

At the end of this life Jesus tells us in John 25 several things are going to happen. Believing they will or won’t will not change reality. Yet they -may- change our individual reality while we walk the earth prior to the event Jesus speaks about.

The only two things we want to hear in that time are “Well done you good and faithful servant” and “Enter into the joy of your Lord”.

Of course there are those who will never hear those words- not now, not then, and that’s the most sad, tragic, terrible thing I can personally think about.

There are four Sundays in the Christian celebration of Advent. There are various themes pondered in those but the typical ones are hope, peace, joy, love. Is there anyone on earth who doesn’t want and wish for these? How to obtain them is a core matter humans disagree about.

Had Jesus not come I am convinced I wouldn’t be here due to addictions in my early life. The new life, the recovery He brought and continues to bring to me is still to this very day astonishing, amazing, and positive in the extreme!

Five things to note in His words are:

“Well done” meaning we WALKED, LIVED OUT His words in relationship to God and people;

“you good”- which is a matter of heart, motive, intent involving the doing of the actions;

“and faithful”- again linked with both heart and action to the extent of living our faith commitments;

“servant”- a bond-slave by choice which is again linked to both attitude and activity;

“your Lord” which moves us not only as friends but a genuine love-following of the Good Shepard.

“The joy of” Jesus, Father, Spirit would call for a book in itself but I’ll simply add the Advent focus, each and all of them bring a bit of revelation of what God gives and what He GROWS in the life of such a follower of Jesus.

I wish you the Blessings of Advent!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Thanksgiving- And Yet…

For very many years my mind and heart has pondered the plight of Native American and First Nations (Canada) peoples. The history of tribe after tribe murdered, enslaved and destroyed by diseases they contracted by the white settlers encroaching lands they had inhabited and stewarded for some thousands of years prior to European arrival bent on conquering is a sad, sick tale. And it’s reality: well documented and verifiable.

It’s no wonder the dominating race and culture doesn’t want to know or even hear about it.

Then we have the bizarre duck-and-cover game by conservatives who blame liberal “mythologists” -no matter the intellect, research and study of myriad educators who have for many decades chronicled the truth vs. a stockpile of American sentimental myths, fiction and outright fabrications of what really happened and how.

Perhaps the “first Thanksgiving” is a good place to begin. It’s a read-and-weep reality I highly recommend. May it motivate you to study further and face up to the brutal past lest we talk ourselves out of doing the good within our power to do in the present.

Please read: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-indian/2017/11/23/everyones-history-matters-and-wampanoag-indian-thanksgiving-story-deserves-be-known/

I admit it’s a sobering end note to our annual Thanksgiving holiday -but sobriety is a gift to those who realize the value upon realizing a drunken stupor really isn’t.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Thanksgiving Stomp – 2022

So here’s the link and lyric to a little (U.S.) Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas gift for you. It’s a blues-rock prayer. Big THANKS to Ed and Juan Carlos at GrrrRecords.Com for their amazing work!

I am convinced regardless of what may be our dire circumstances we have much to give thanks for. It is not ignoring or pretending we suffer no pain or injustice to also notice and celebrate God’s grace and provision where we indeed have it. God give us eyes to see and ears to hear, hearts of sincere thanks.

I’m deeply Grateful for the love and provision of my Lord and Savior Jesus!

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

The Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfdzDaSimbM

THANKSGIVING STOMP -glenn kaiser

Thank You for mercy
Thank You for grace
For not leavin’ me
In the same ol’ place
Thank You for kindness
When I was so low
Thank You for love
Givin’ more than a show

Thank You for the meat
Between my bread
Thank you for a cup
Filled with life for the dead

Thank You for forgiveness
When I earned disgust
Thank You for compassion
When I broke Your trust
Thank You for deliverance
From misery an’ fiction
For not leavin’ me
In lies and addiction

Thank You for the meat
Between my bread
Thank you for the cup
Full o’ life for the dead

Thank You for settin’ me free from fright
Thank You for Your presence in the cold, dark night
Thank You for callin’ me into Your light
Thank for Your promise of eternal life

EQUAL Justice??

Several in our church stand along our Chicago street on Sunday afternoons holding a vigil, each with a sign including a photo and name of a person of color (non-white) shot and killed by police and some by vigilantes who decided to pull the trigger. Often the slain were unarmed, on occasion running and shot multiple times in the back.

We stand or walk, silently pray and in solidarity with folks in our neighborhood want to remind those driving, riding or walking by that these dead and their families are not forgotten.

During one of these a tall white fella across the street from me shouted out a bit of a rant that I couldn’t hear, but there is the over-the-top angry-mad itching for a fight rant and then something less. His tone struck me as the latter so I waved and asked him to come over and talk with me which he did.

In the end his beef was a 54,000 dollar bond he had on him at some point and at core I told him I never agreed with bond nor bail, not ever and consider it wrong and a racket -which I do. If that was the figure it -may- be he was innocent or it may be he was a truly bad dude doing truly bad stuff re. such a price for his freedom prior to the case being settled.

At one point I said “But you’re not black or brown nor been shot in the back like the folks on these signs.” At that he pushed me through my sign and not all that hard, but he was just miffed. (I happened to be holding a George Floyd sign at the time).

I then told him I’d been a dealer and now was a (vol.) chaplain in the County jail and Stateville, that “I get it” meaning the injustice done to white folks as well, he didn’t know what to say, and moved back to the other side of the street and that was that.

Looking up I realized a couple white folks (one a friend I know) and a black bro were standing near us to witness and intervene if needed, another close friend across the street as well.

I fully understand injustice happens to most everyone and in some cases over-the-top injustice, and of course regardless of color, that’s a no-brainer. What does not happen is white folks shot and killed as I’ve already stated with the sort of regularity as others.

Please don’t waste your time replying to this with excuses, pointing to memes, “stats” and classic white talking points as I’ve done my homework for years and I just don’t buy it. IF PER CAPITA black officers and sometimes vigilantes were killing non-black and brown people with the same regularity I’d be holding a picture and name of white folks on Sundays.

Again, I understand injustice happens to all, not only black and brown folks -but read my last paragraph again, then you’ll understand I don’t agree with all the rants and and rationale. “Cops don’t kill innocent people who are running away, if they’d just stop and obey the orders they’d never get shot!” Really -I mean really, police HAVE TO SHOOT PEOPLE IN THE BACK to what, “make an arrest”?

I was about to tell him (but he ended the convo prior) that The. Difference. is we white folks are standing here alive talking about all this while the people on our signs are dead and buried.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn


Upcoming GK Shows- December!

FRI. DEC. 2 @ Everybody’s Coffee 935 W. Wilson Ave. Chicago, IL
Special later-than-usual closing due to the annual Wilson Winter Walk

Glenn will bring a special Blues Christmas Set appx. 6:30pm –
Amazing celtic band The Crossing will begin the musical festivities
at 5:30pm!

-and-

SAT. DEC. 3 @ Radiant Fellowship 420 N. Harrison St. Waupaca, WI
Blues Jam with Rex Carroll 6:30pm

SUN. DEC. 4 @ Radiant Fellowship
Glenn and Rex bring the music to Sun. Service- 10am

Bible Book of Hate?

Jesus: “bless those who curse you, pray for those who are abusive to you.” -NASB

“bless and show kindness to those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” -AMP

It’s no mystery that Jesus turned the religious world upside down. When we study the whole of God’s Word we find statements like this whereby God apparently wants to turn US upside down.

Nobody can love like He commands us but by His power, the Spirit of God within us.

Later in Acts we read Peter’s response to actual persecution by the religious leaders for sharing the Good News of Jesus in Acts 5: “v31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. v32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

As always it comes down to faith and obedience, surrender, cooperation and relationship to God the Holy Spirit. Without His power and our loving, faithful application no one effectively lives the things Jesus taught.

I believe this to be essential though at times admittedly difficult. With the help of The Helper (as Jesus called the Spirit) we live in a world that often merely rejects Jesus and chases it’s own narrative as though such is the better news.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Jammin’!

Some of my greatest joys come from watching, hearing and when I can, playing and singing in blues jams. Why?

SO many reasons!

There is a great pleasure when you get gifted musicians who aren’t laced up inside of Arrogance, but who are truly good, serious listeners (hugely important in jamming) and who themselves are fans of the music and often of one another.

They listen hard and close, someone or a couple of ’em lead the changes, who takes a solo when. There’s lots of improvisation (not preplanned playing) in solos, accents in the musical phrasing, all sorts of stuff that immediately poses Risk but as part of the experience also keep the music Fresh and immediate!

WHEN such happens it’s quite the thrill to be involved.

It would be like watching a gifted basketball team but rather than a planned, practiced play a player bounce passes behind their back on a sharp angle to a teammate who leaps up to take the ball at the top of the bounce and deftly angles it into the basket dead-center. A bit of art there, magic, sweet moves between team players.

The finest jams I’ve seen and played in have been just that- full of team players rather than prima donnas.

A huge part that is often unnoticed by fans? Those on stage who are not constantly playing but leaving musical holes, space here and there in performing a song together. That brings a sense of Dynamics and also a tension-build-release element that is rather potent.

Sage players have a sense when to step up and out as well as when to stay in the background, when to actually stop playing here and there.

Spontaneous jams are an excellent way to learn the craft. As a young musician (13 years old in my first band) I was able to sit in on a number of jams early on, sometimes with truly gifted players. That was some of the best music schoolin’ I ever had!

-And I’m still learning…

As always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

3 Q’s and My “Lefty”?? Answers

A friend of several years often sends me long posts asking questions dealing with politics and the poor. Like myself he has genuine burden and serves the poor but struggles with the mindset of right vs. left politically. We both agree the human heart must follow Jesus with regard to hope and treatment of others no matter who or what the issue. What follows below is the core a recent piece he sent my way and my responses.

Through time our convos have been respectful rather than merely simplistic attack mode nonsense, I sadly cannot always say this is true with others. I will also leave out his many questions and breakdown of them as it was a very long email expanding and digging deeper in what follows, but I thought the core issues worth sharing here.

You may be surprised with my responses to the key, ground q’s which were:

“A little help here on Christ followers and expressing our biblical principles in the voting booth.

  1.  Should believers be guided by precepts and biblical principles as taught by Christ, the Apostles and the totality of all scripture? 
  2. What should be the most important values to consider when voting? 
  3. Do the democrats and republicans both have some biblical principles? If yes, what are they?”

My responses:

  1. Of course they should. Caveat- God’s precepts and principles given through the whole of scripture and both Christ’s words and example are not fully agreed-upon in terms of individual or even group of (for example Protestant) His follower’s interpretation. Partial knowledge, understanding and grasp of any issue or series of them means (as Paul said in 1 Cor. 13) we won’t always agree. Among Dems., Reps. and Ind. and etc. voters who may well love and follow Jesus best as we understand doing it right STILL won’t be in full lock-step. So there’s that.
  2. According to Jesus in all matters the deepest concern is loving God supremely and loving one’s neighbor –as one’s self-. Regarding a neighbor this doesn’t mean hardcore voting so they’ll think, do and act exactly like you and I, even among genuine Christians. My voting may not agree with yours and vice-versa -and that in my view isn’t all that difficult to understand if you follow what I’ve said here so far.
  3. I believe most all political parties in the U.S. share various biblical principles. What differs -and sometimes severely between them and even within their respective parties is how to either establish what we believe to be a more righteous, just, equitable society together in a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, rich-poor-middle society. I think at times anyone of any political persuasion largely thinks of self ahead or instead of the whole… and votes with only those neighbors with whom they agree and like in mind. So doing it in “biblical” fashion means doing it like Jesus and that gets very dicey in that even interpreting what Jesus did re. Caesar, the religious leaders of Israel during His time walking the earth and regarding response to systems of injustice and abuse seems a matter of disagreement between professing Christians.

My friend in the longer version of his post to me made mention of what he/others consider the best system, that being capitalism. I have long stated my disgust for historical practices of communism, very much appreciate socialist concepts (not literally synonymous with communism… do your homework if you wish to debate this point) and though I agree with democracy as better than the others I have long hated (and that’s the accurate term) capitalism which I believe ultimately favors the wealthy regardless of how they obtain wealth.

“So”, someone may ask, ‘if not capitalism, WHAT Glenn?!”

I’m well-aware what I’m about to answer isn’t available in terms of actual sustainability as it’s dependent on geography, climate, individual health abilities, human laws and more, but in my perfect earth (not going to happen) hunting, gathering, gardening, bartering, living off the land and not hard-core ownership but rather SHARING with one’s neighbors based on God’s love and provision rather than our demand to rule, control, ignore or even injure “the least of these” by “sold to the highest bidder” is the best solution I can imagine. Responsibility in my mind is about stewardship and sharing rather than ownership and control. Alas, from the issues I mention here as well as the selfishness of the human heart I don’t expect to see such lifestyles, sense of economy and political system except in the most rare of circumstances here on planet earth. 😦

Rendering to Caesar was a witness and took a miracle even for Jesus and Peter to pay the tax, not an endorsement of the system.

In the U.S., the citizens ARE Caesar, so the issue of sharing as opposed to money and power is in my view, a solid and truly Christian, biblical response. The fact it is often undone is either a matter of personal/familial/neighbor’s survival or it is something quite unbiblical and unalligned with Jesus and His values and example.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn