GK APRIL APPEARANCE UPDATE

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APRIL 2019 GK APPEARANCES UPDATE AS OF 4/3/19

Tue. April 9 @ Pilgrim Lutheran Church Chicago -GK w. others providing music for Shane Claiborne dealing w. inner-city gun violence. 6 – 8pm All details: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/beating-guns-tour-chicago-il-tickets-55057011002

Sat. April 13 Josiah’s Place Beloit, WI GK Solo Blues 1175 Madison Road Beloit, WI 53512-1075  608.365.0365 www.overflowingcup.org

Mon. April 15 Pontiac Correctional Center (Pontiac, IL) GK Solo Blues

Mon. April 22 GK @ Cook Co. Jail (Chicago)

Thu. April 25 – Sat. 27 Celebration 2019, Lake Geneva, WI @ Ev. Cov. Cen. Conf. Annual Meeting -GK Speaking and bringing a late-night Solo Blues set.  https://www.centralconf.org/celebration2019/

There are a couple more than these but they’re in-house over Easter weekend and such. So here you go, hope to see some of you (but not in all these places!).

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

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“NO.” Really?

People of all sorts, tribes and political persuasions draw lines, boundaries and get quite worked up about their “nearly always righteous” positions on you-name-it. Professing Christians do likewise. But what about those who seem locked-and-loaded in a regular, repeating posture of “NO.”?

Individualism vs. inclusion, in fact individualism versus invitation as a posture is something I think worth considering. Who are we inviting and who are we doing our best to exclude -church??

Do I think there are scriptural grounds for disfellowship? I do. And yet…

I happened to have written that second paragraph above here about four hours before my friend Joe Futral posted this in a Facebook convo: “Ultimately, the whole excuse of blaming the poor for their circumstances is how we twist the rules to show why the rules don’t apply to us. As I said, grace, mercy, and love are irreconcilable with individualism.”

Yes. Sadly, yes. In my view Joe is one-hundred percent spot-on in that assessment.

When sharing “what is yours” is particularly an issue is it a “Yes” or “No” attitude you bring to the table of ideas, or for that matter, the neighborhood?

It seems to me an individual whose personality manifests a fairly regular attitude of “trash ’em”, “pull the plug”, “if they suffer that’s on them”, “how can we beat ’em down and out of here until they side with us?” and “give them no quarter” is the stuff of NO.

Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 1 wrote to one of the most messed-up, immature yet royally blessed churches in his day: “18 But as God is faithful, our word to you is not yes and no. 19 For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. 20 For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.”

Jesus not only commands but invites. Some of us in the churches (and myself as well at times) default to command and demand. While there is truly (scripturally) a time and place believers are to do so, if you find yourself continually in such a posture, what does that say about your example of the compassionate, giving, sharing nature of God?

Further, do we invite? When we give invitation, is it truly on His terms… or our own?

Don’t worry, if you’re prone to judgment, it’s coming- even in this post.

Too many believers model what they believe is the righteous, perfect judgment of God upon those they don’t like or agree with -especially when they themselves are angry. I’ve done it plenty in my lifetime and have often repented before the Lord and people whom I’m sure I’ve wronged in this way.

I’m talking about venting, truly in anger and with a superior and demanding attitude and withholding your own goods– be they spiritual, temporal, financial or any of the areas Jesus mentioned in Matthew 25 re. sheep vs. goats in His final judgment.

If we reap what we sow, living such a life and treating “the least of these” regularly like that how can we expect to hear anything but the following words of Jesus at the end of our days?

Matthew chap. 25: 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

It sounds like those who continually, regularly think, speak and live NO will hear much the same from God in the day of judgment.

Things to consider as we cling to “what’s ours… go get your own”?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

My “Social Gospel/Justice” Comment To the Church

If and when we as individuals and/or collective bodies of professing Christ followers have violated scripture (God’s Word, The Bible) in our attitudes, speech, behavior or policies, we need to repent –regardless of our political affiliation or lack thereof.

Moral authority, any genuine moral example the Church (all actual followers of Jesus in whatever form or communion) has to call sinners to faith and repentance re. the world around the church BEGINS with our own individual (and when applicable) shared repentance.

Every generation of believers have had to wrestle with this reality from the beginning -I’m referencing Adam and Eve re. personal responsibility before a holy and righteous God. The pattern has continued to this moment and will not end until He “rolls up the world like a scroll”. But hear this: “judgment begins in the house of God.”

God is clear throughout both Testaments that He is the only perfect (indeed is and shall be) Judge. As much as we love to blow off judgment as non-existent, neither Jesus nor any prophet in The Bible, Paul, James, John, or Peter or any of the Gospel writers not include it as part of their testimony.

For all the truly good-hearted service we professing Christians perform, for any love we show anyone anywhere at any time, we all still sin as well as make mistakes. We do neither Christ nor those without faith and relationship to Him any favors by running to defense mode (which of course, most of us fly into very quickly) when we are being called out, especially in public.

I am NOT saying any should and must confess and apologize for sins we have NOT committed. I am indeed saying plenty of believers in our day have fallen into mean-spirited, harsh and indeed ignorant rant patterns when it comes to facing up to our own responsibilities of loving others as Jesus commands us… while at the same time pounding loudly on the issue of THEIR (the “others”) responsibility. That, dear friends, is hypocrisy.

A core concern is “social gospel” meaning that there are those who are “so focused on practical matters of sinful society they have rejected, ignored or stopped preaching the very gospel of Christ”.

I hear that complaint and agree it has -some-, some I say… merit. What has much greater merit is the very Word of God such folks often ignore while applying it to others.

For your consideration: https://www.openbible.info/topics/social_justice

I am convinced God’s OWN heart and view rather than yours, mine or any particular local church, stream or denomination among us is THE moral, ethical and actual high ground of truth. This is not something I wish to debate. Where the issue explodes is whether we apply only those verses that comfort as opposed to confront -us-.

It was a murderer who asked the question “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

That term “keeper” in Hebrew means to keep, guard, observe, in essence “to care for”. The idea that it’s all about the individual doing it all for themselves apart from anyone else is not a biblical concept with zero link to you and I caring for others. Standing at a distance and judging them has zip to do with scriptural love.

Jesus commands us to love, love our very enemies, “give to the one who asks of you”! There is no debate about these very words of His in the Gospels which ARE the Gospels. Divorcing the Good News from the action of sharing what others need is not a Bible truth. It is a human re-direct, a “legal loophole” game with no footing but is in fact a division from Jesus’ Own teaching and example. “Command” is the accurate term and if you know His words you know this to be beyond debate.

The argument happens when it comes to applying The Book of Truth to our daily relationships.

The mirror of God’s commands are ever to be trusted above our own hearts and defenses, for before Him “none is righteous”. In and through Jesus Christ alone, in and by His grace via faith (both undeserved, unearned gifts from Him!) we have ground and example of how to treat our neighbor.

Church- how are we doing at this?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Out of Prison Again :) !

SUPER Cool time w. my friends Todd Anthony Joos & The Revelators yesterday at Dixon Correctional Center (Dixon, IL). We had nearly a full house of perhaps 375 men who were appreciative and attentive to our music and message. So good!

Now to one of my amazing grandson’s Birthday party, a bit of rest, and more recording this week.

TAJandTRs
After a long (and just unloaded the gear) but SWEET day at Dixon CC -outside Cellar Records, Dixon, IL

These sets are so very important to me and I likely get more out of them than those incarcerated do. For many, such events are few and far between as many inmates are locked up for a loooong time and just don’t get the opportunities to get out.

Some prisons do a 23×1 day meaning they are in a cell but for one hour per day.

And then there is the solitary confinement matter… whew.

My main concern is that our nation is far too often focused on punishment rather than restorative justice. God help us!

So tomorrow night Cook Co. Jail Chicago for me.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Universal Salvation (Etc.)?

Someone recently asked me to reply on some issues re. judgment (God’s judgment as well as justice issues) saying many friends seem to be talking about God never allowing anything “but good” to come to us and due to that He’d never allow anything “bad” to come our way, etc., therefore no eternal separation from Him or He is no longer “a good God”. What follows is my (edited for clarity) response.

“Without doing a serious Bible study/theological/doctrinal thesis on the points you and others raise on it, here’s my short reply. God IS only good, but His view of good doesn’t always match with human judgment (get it?) on what is and is not truly good.

Grace is real and unmerited favor, mercy and love of God without which we’d all be in seriously horrid soup… and more specifically, hell, hell and other such things have once again been nicely “done away with” in teachings and beliefs. There are those on both ends re. both spectrums who have camped hard in one or the other -it’s either grace or judgment. God is God of both -and He does both perfectly whether we like or accept Him or His Word or His Own sense of right/wrong, mercy and justice or not.

What this all comes down to is not only The Bible but the God that assemblage of books reveals. The murk is not in there as I see it, but in human judgment of both God and it. If there is nothing (and I mean nothing) in The Bible re. God being both merciful AND judge of humankind, both here and hereafter, it comes down to what we like, don’t like, think or do not think. “Personal/direct revelation” alone.

In other words, we are our own “canon”, our own “scripture”, between our own ears. The key doctrine you’re referring to is universal salvation which a very few well-known churchmen believed in over the ages -and I will say that due to a number of issues in each of them (rather than mere scripture interpretation) but that’s another long bit of historical research and discussion.

The real matter is we fashion God in our own image… God made us in HIS image (and as someone wisely said) “and we’re trying to return the favor”. Only the history of humankind is brutal with or without faith in Jesus or The Bible. I’d say people masquerading as God get the sick prize far beyond the God of The Book.

A MAJOR problem is using The Bible to justify our sin, even to somehow erase that there IS such a thing as sin in us, that there is a judgment seat before which every knee will bow -and we are not then nor now on the throne of God.

That again and again is my take on these and most other like issues. There are SOOOO many passages just out of Jesus’ Own mouth in the 4 Gospels alone that speak of God orchestrating and/or clearly allowing “bad things” to come upon His people PRIOR to the day of judgment itself… so this does get to be a “pick and choose” or “re-interpret The Bible to suit ourselves” sort of matter. Which, by the way, has been a common problem from Adam and Eve (“Did GOD SAY…”). Yep. He did.

And in that He is God and perfect He neither needs human permission nor to change due to our judgment -of Him. Whew. Always a mess when the clay pretends to be the potter.” -Glenn

There is still “nothing new under the sun” and further the last passages in Ecclesiastes tell us: “v13  The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. v14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

As always, thanks for stopping by my site. -Glenn

Two -MAY- Equal One

Early on in my spiritual walk I happened to meet two basic sorts of people among professing Christians- and began to be concerned about both.

The one was typically nice, quite open, creative, often went into their imagination, not closed to fresh or new ideas and would be the kind of person you could mention most anything to and not worry about them looking at you “sideways” wondering if they shouldn’t turn you in to a “higher authority” of some sort for a “proper beating”.

On the other hand I began to meet the curmudgeon sort of individual. They were rather cemented into a spiritual and social “slot”, often deeply serious, quick to criticize anything different and particularly outside of their view of right and acceptable, small in mind and sadly, often in heart.

I’m clearly speaking in general terms and certainly there are overlaps between these two, got that! The other important point is whether one or the other is our typical go-to state or simply an occasional plane of operation.

The first type individual could truly be undependable and flighty, undisciplined, the second sort stable and constant while sometimes horrid about community, collaboration or team playing. The first might show up to join a group and within a short time run off to chase butterflies in the wind never to be seen again. The second sort being so very independent would rarely join in unless in full charge (or satisfied a militant like them is) and left unchecked, drive others off to the extent the team might even cease to exist.

I know both of these personalities well because I’ve often seen them in my mirror in the morning.

The churches (and rest of society on earth) are loaded with both kinds of people -and when it comes to biblical pronouncements and interpretation, both general personalities also appear.

While we all bring good and bad stuff to any table and likewise to our reading and sharing of Bible truths, it is not merely interpretation methodology and skill (sorely needed for all of us who say we love God’s Word, His Church and those not yet following Jesus!) but also our personality which needs serious consideration.

The habits and associated strengths and weaknesses that manifest in meetings with people, social media exchanges, certainly in our marriages and interaction with family, friends, co-workers and yes, enemies seem to me to often lean one way or the other re. the two general pools I’ve mentioned in this post.

I’ve never expected to agree with everyone about everything -and certainly we must learn to listen, offer grace, even forgiveness when we feel wronged, misunderstood or perhaps experienced some kind of “inquisition” among “spiritual” people.

The other side of the coin is that we have at times been the problem as much as they due to our own flippant “WHATEVER… IT’S ALL RELATIVE… UHHHH… I DON’T CARE” all the way to “SIT DOWN YOU IDIOT WHO TOLD YOU YOU COULD BELIEVE -THAT- DEMONIC NONSENSE [YOU IGNORANT] LITTLE TWIT?!”.

On one hand we can be so open to new views regarding scripture we reject sound, carefully exegetical truth while on the other we can be so closed to at least considering a fresh understanding we ourselves have in reality simply become a modern version of the scribes, pharisees and religious hypocrites who were not loving God and neighbor but rather passing harsh judgment on all who don’t agree with the illustrious and self-righteous US.

I cannot control anyone and at times find it (hmmm… you too??) quite difficult to control myself.

The fruit of the Spirit which Paul mentions in the fifth chapter of Galatians takes not only general faith in the Lord but surrender and co-operation on my part to GROW in -and every one of those nine (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) are -ready for this?: THE STUFF OF GOOD RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING, MAINTENANCE AND, GROWTH.

It’s not merely truth but attitude towards others we must face up to in our own life.

If you know me well you are aware I lean toward the more open side of things- but not by a long shot do I believe the scriptural truths have or do change, not one iota. God is perfect, unchanging, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and what God thinks, says and (beyond mere belief) knows as truth isn’t going to change regardless of the human race nor any of our individual ideas of anything.

The issue is whether we interpret and apply scripture on the basis of sound exegesis or our individual personality -and the second is massive in what we believe and at times saddle others with in terms of both our judgment and our application of scripture.

Further, one must consider what sort of friends (if any) we both want and have this side of heaven. Which of these might you be most comfortable with? For balance I’d say you need- yes need- to hang around both. Learning to live in love and grace with ALL is Christ’s call to those claiming to follow Him.

Lastly, what sort of witness of both the love and truth of Jesus are we currently equipped to share with versus demand of others in the process of living and walking together on the road?

Perhaps important matters to consider?

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Politics in the Church??!

Ready? The old phrase is that you don’t talk about politics or religion and then everything will be fine! Only it won’t so that’s really not true. The point of course, is civil discourse so don’t talk of things that might cause disagreement. Obviously civility has taken a hike in the past several years.

But many of you won’t be ready to face this:

White folks who regularly rebuke others saying “Stick to the Gospel and quit talking politics, it just divides people!” are themselves A. often (not always of course) if they were truly honest, really saying “If you had voted like I did I wouldn’t mind so much.” B. The majority of the black churches in the United States have a long history of political organizing specifically due to Jim Crow laws back in the day, the new Jim Crow of incarceration, etc., needs for city and county response re. neighborhood infrastructure and other needs not being met via local politicians (by FAR white).

So what are we saying about our black brother and sister CHRISTIANS in CHURCHES who often sponsor politically leaning and organizational neighborhood meetings, function as polling places and such?

“Preach the Gospel and enjoy your “place” in the back of the bus”?

We talk of grace but those folks didn’t earn it like we did?

Ignorance, denial of racism perhaps? Yes. Sometimes that’s exactly what’s going on but most whites wouldn’t admit we talk against minority people, “the other” in just that way when we call folks out on the basis of “Gospel and spirituality”.

The fact is, love costs and it may well cost the white majority politically -which means plenty of white Christians in the U.S.A. are about as angry and/or afraid as they can be.

So you want followers of Jesus to quit talking about politics? I don’t think that’s the gut truth. I think being the majority, the dominant power, the very thing we cling so hard to and are so rarely willing to share or even relinquish re. both church leadership and political dominance are idols like all idols, that need to go.

I think loving our neighbor rather than running the show, especially if they are among “the least of these”, is a cross that many of us have avoided far too long.

Yes, let’s talk religion and politics, and in the words of Bob Dylan, “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour’s getting late.”

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn