“Tracking” Our Relationship with God

NO human paradigm is without problems, imperfections and most literary analogies fail. Having said that, for all of my personal, theological and authoring flaws (plenty!) I offer the following:

1)Monorail 2)common two track, and 3) Chicago Transit Authority train tracks as symbols of our pathways to the Person of God Himself- Father, Son, Spirit. I do *not* mean the three track layout relates to God the Trinity but will offer some ideas of tracks as 3 sorts of pathways to intimacy with Him.

Some focus largely on direct mind (prayers however offered) and personal revelation in terms of presence (“manifest presence”) experiences with God, “God feelings”, moving from thoughts to the emotional or physical sense of His nearness. This may happen as they think, speak, sing or while near a body of water, in the woods and so on.

Some focus at least near solely on The Bible (His Word).

Some focus on spoken human prophecy in the immediate moment, year or even age as being truly “in touch” with Him.

There are more, but I would also mention the study of history (personal and beyond) re. practical boots-on-ground experience apart from metaphysical/feelings-of-His-nearness.

For many, our focus changes, shifts from time to time and includes all (and/or other/more?) lines of communication between ourselves and the Lord.

Note- this post is not specifically about a salvation experience, such as: “Ohhhh… I am now born-again spiritually and trust the crucified and risen Jesus for eternal life!”. Nor is this about authority, rather my concern here is on-going and deeper relationship between a Christ-follower and her/his/ God.

Monorails have their place and often are truly the BEST way to get from where you are to where you want or need to go! Sometimes… but not always and forever.

Common, balanced two-track lines are often best, certainly more readily available in our world and likely spiritual experience for our journey. For example, the Word and Prayer. But those two only?

Then there is the “third rail” of the CTA here in Chicago.

I’ll save that for last as it is one place my analogies may well take some “off the rails” 🙂

If God IS, and if He desires to get intimate, “up close and personal” with us, regardless of science, higher-textual criticism, archaeology, psychology, sociology and etc., what way or ways might we connect with Him toward achieving genuine contact -in any case according to millions of professing Christ-followers through human history?

There are so many stumbling blocks to our thinking, feelings, group thought and chat, social norms regardless of who you hang out with, whether in or outside this or that particular church or Christian gathering!

Poetry, a right/sane use of icons, pilgrimage to sites in Israel, spiritual retreats of all sorts, on it goes, there are vast numbers of true Christians who do or do not gain deeper intimacy with Jesus in such ways.

I have friends who are so entirely focused on one or other of the means I’ve listed above that they truly mis-judge -yes… in quite critical fashion- those who think and practice relationship with Jesus in a way other than their personal choice. Many believe ONLY the Scripture or ONLY prayer or ONLY by experience or ONLY if science and/or other areas I mentioned approve and agree do they have a sense of real and true contact with God. In my view, that’s a monorail.

It is a far too simplistic, even lazy “quick-fix” that perhaps provides them a sense of safety and/or acceptance from others… but I believe it to be a flawed approach.

Carefully study Jesus’ Own connection to the Father in the four Gospels and you’ll find more than one or two areas of intimacy!

Some of us will focus on both The Bible and prayer but at times ignore or forget history, personal experience (or that of huge numbers of their fellow Christians) as though they have by these “two rails” all they need and therefore the rest of the body of Christ may have nothing much to offer in terms of connecting with the Lord.

If one goes too far, even communion (the Lord’s Supper) might be considered either THE link or like icons, may be nearly discarded.

Some may exchange any of the means for the one, double or even three-rail track.

If you’re hip to the 3rd rail, it’s THE power source for the CTA. Without it the cars cannot move at all.

I can hear some of my friends saying “YES! God the Holy Spirit!” fits this analogy perfectly!!!” -full stop. To a great extent I would agree.

But even the sense of linking with the Holy Spirit, like with Scripture that He breathed, is a double-edged sword, so to speak. We sometimes don’t exegete it perfectly and the same is true in terms of truly hearing the voice of the Spirit. Humility, a double-check (or triple or more…) is often the best way to go.

That CTA 3rd rail can also full-on kill anyone who makes contact with it. Life and death, indeed eternal life or exclusion comes from and by God as He alone is God.

Sooner or later one must wrestle with the whole of The Bible, Genesis to Revelation. I am currently concluding that either we bring definition to Scripture or God through His Word defines us. I am convinced it’s the latter.

So you see, hearing the true voice of the Lord is not dependent on only one means of His speaking to us because Scripture itself tells us He is not limited in only one or two modes of contact with us!

But wait, there’s more…

A personal, worship relationship with God (according to Jesus) involves “spirit and truth” not merely truth itself (that is, God’s Word), including the Gospel of Christ.

You can read my words forever (God deliver you!!) but that, as per the devil himself who quotes Scripture to Jesus as did the Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes -and not know me in a true, personal, intimate sense just as those fallen angels and people did not really know Jesus Christ. Scripture knowledge is not in itself relationship to the Author.

You can listen to/read my lyrics, blogs and other posts, scan interviews and hear podcasts I’ve done and still not be aware of what I deeply think on any number of issues. For that you must eventually spend a great deal more time with me in the day-to-day and truly study my writings and all the rest I just named in this paragraph. Intimate knowledge means a depth of relationship and it’s insufficient to think we have it with the Lord if we skim the surface and look at our relationship to Him as a mere one-time, one-off “transaction” of faith, then keep plenty of distance from Him in terms of prayer, confession of sin and study of (gasp!) His WORD which too often gets a back seat to “feelings of God”.

In this brief post I cannot sufficiently discuss reason, tradition, nature (forests, oceans, etc.), others (people in local/larger churches, etc. through whom God can and often does indeed speak to us), out-and-out miracles and more.

Certainly three rails aren’t even enough. Jesus spoke of loving God with all our heart, mind, soul and might/strength. Our intellect, deepest passions/desire and life must focus on HIM, not merely what we do or do not experience.

I’m suggesting that the 3rd rail might be Scripture, Presence, Experience, Intellectual Knowledge/Wisdom or any number of things. In fact I suggest that 3rd rail in our spiritual life is most active and best in promoting deep relationship to Father, Son, Spirit as it changes and is largely in flux throughout our journey. No CTA train functions without all 3 rails- it is not only nor merely the 3rd that keeps us moving and on track!!!

Without defining the following I expect some who’ve read this to be thinking about the Protestant (not all but many) Sola Scriptura, while many Anglicans lean to the Hooker-ascribed Three Legged Stool or the Catholic view of what is authoritative for Christ followers. My concern here is not authority but rather relational intimacy with God.

Perhaps the other of all 3rd rail issues is “the church”. Can, does, has, will He ever speak to us via other flawed Christ followers… like we are? This is at times crucial because prophets exist in the everyday without fanfare or classic, say, pentecostal/charismatic prophesying tones and public utterance. Of course God speaks to you and I through others.

Whether we are talking The Bible, Tradition, Church Teaching or otherwise, one may be either empowered or killed without or with these and more. If intimate connection between a seeker or actual believer and God is what He seeks and what we seek with Him, He is not narrowly restricted by any one of these means of communication with us in the sense that He speaks and connects with us though all of them.

When preachers and others talk of us “limiting God” I think there are better ways to say what they for the most part, really mean. They usually do not mean by such a phrase that humans have the ability to limit Him re. His being sovereign and all-powerful, rather they mean we should take care to not doubt Him, His character, power and faithfulness towards us in being able to do what He desires for and in us. In keeping with my pedestrian, flawed analogy, if He were a train He’d be named God UNLIMITED.

Without consideration any of us can indeed affect intimacy or lack of it by only focusing on one aspect of His means of communication with us. We then limit ourselves in terms of this most important of all relationships!

Heart, soul, mind, strength. In a marriage it’s not just intellectually, only physically, exclusively emotionally whereby we experience intimacy with our partner -true?

Paul’s analogy of Christ and The Church (all followers of Jesus Christ in love, faith, obedience) comes to mind.

May we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

And as always, thanks for stopping by:) -Glenn

Early January, Plans

None of us knows what may come of plans but mine are basic at present. Aside from my marriage, family, local fellowship, denominational and such core relationships I’ve several items on the front burners this year.

I’ve a protest record followed by a project that will likely be of general interest but focused on what people behind bars need to hear. The first is Americana/folky and in spots stripped down in-your-face rock stuff, the second is blues/worship from full band to some sparse tunes that call for use in jails, prisons and your local bike rally.

I’ve two books that need editing, then out they go- the first re. my spiritual awakening, the second about how I came to surrender over the next nine months.

There may be a live solo blues (Facebook) concert to benefit a friend in need coming up.

I have a good many jail and prison appearances booked or in process and just chatted w. a military chaplain about doing such.

Wrote a deep blues song today (my spiritual birthday) and filmed a rough jam of it on my uke via my phone.

The lyrics?

49 YEARS TODAY glenn kaiser

I heard you knockin’, on my door
Kept on knockin’, comin’ back for more
You gave me ears, so I could hear
Lord I never knew a love so dear

Been 49 years to the day
When I learned to pray

God how my addictions
Wrapped me up in chains
Nearly took me out
Nearly took my breath away

Been 49 years to the day
My sins were washed away

A death had to happen
Mine was in the wings
But since our life together
I say “Death where is your sting?!”

Been 49 years, you an’ me
An’ soon eternity
Thank you Jesus
For love that set me free

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Inner Turmoil?

I could be completely wrong, often am of course- but today I think I’ll post an overview of “the way we seem to carry on” scenarios that can offer peace or actually open the door to inner conflict and misery. Note- either of those typically gets shared with those around us whether we wish it so or not.

I’ve no degree in anything, not a social scientist, never studied philosophy but in my current (66) years I’ve lived with hundreds of people in a large and extremely diverse intentional Christian community. I’m fully at home in urban or rural life. Right through my days I (and most of my friends) have interacted with a wide and wider range of people of many (or zero) spiritual faiths, cultures, ethnicities, races and economic stability/instability.

I’ve also traveled the world and spent plenty of time in other nations and experienced how folks interact in cultures quite different from my own.

My personal and admittedly non-academic, simple overview is:

—We do or don’t do positive stuff with our own inner turmoil regardless of the causes whether self, others or a mix of both stir it up in our minds and emotions on any given moment of any particular day

—We do or do not consider a -balanced- view of both our personal responsibility to grow from rather than ignore the pains we either suffer or imagine (again, elements of both sometimes) as well as forming and maintaining links with wise people who can help us carry the burdens regarding the issue/s

—Our focus is either balanced between self-care and others-care or it isn’t, and like our thoughts, emotions, physical health, circumstances and etc., that balance or lack of it can and does often change day by day

—I find in the life habits, teachings and Person of Jesus Christ as revealed in the four Gospels both spiritual -and- practical examples of how to deal with turmoil and suffering like I have never discovered in any other person or text

Being truly grateful for relationship to Him and His grace in my life, I’ve been clean and sober for most of my lifetime now. For some years self-medication (self-deity anyone??) was my only solution. Allelulia, that hasn’t been the case for many years!

Something to consider perhaps?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

New Year Same as Always?

Thinking about another “new year”.

All humans are made up of past, present and indeed, future. Some live in the past -whether horrid/tragic or “the good old days” of what was simple, fun and when maybe one had more of some measure of control. Perhaps they recall joyous and sometimes miraculous things the Lord did in their life.

This can be honest and authentic or a grovelling thread of misery one wallows in.

It can be escapist due to present struggles and real or imagined hardship/s.

It can be seeking to live on spiritual “mountaintop experiences”.

It may be an excellent reminder of God’s provision and grace. Back to that in a moment…

Some live in the present -perhaps dealing with all I’ve listed just here above.

Some make plans for a future they’ll never experience because they won’t be around, perhaps not even in the presence of God and His people. Sometimes over-focus on one’s future can also be a desire to forget and escape past sin, fear of not being forgiven, or excuse to neglect personal responsibilities in the present.

Some may seek balance between all three elements of thought- memory, current events and future expectations all with wise caution. Seems to me that’s the best path for a New Year and indeed a life of sanity and perspective worth attaining and maintaining.

Why? And more important, how?!

“For I the LORD do not change…” -Malachi 3.6a

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1.17

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” -Hebrews 13.8

Paul accents “faith, hope and love” and my God (Father, Son, Spirit) reminds and helps me through the transitions of life. It isn’t all pleasant- personal crosses, sin, (mine and others) having to deal with messed-up people on earth, illness, natural disasters and disappointments are all part of our journey.

But we don’t have to go it alone!! I walk with God moment-by-moment and this is Who and Why and the How I believe faith, hope and love come from: we can experience Him and them and make it through regardless. It’s finally about WHO we “do life” WITH.

Consider that this most important of all relationships is eternal. In Jesus we experience Eternal. Life.

So here’s to the new year with a Lord and King Who loves us like nobody else has or can. Relationship YES!

Past, present and future are His and I am His in the process.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Lil’ BOXing Day Diddley Bow

Been wanting to try this for some years now… and my middle name is Harold 🙂

All found object stuff but for the git string. Tuned to an E.

She’s 23 1/2 inches tip-to-tip. Scale is 19 3/8 inches “bridge” to “nut” and as you can see there’s really neither cuz it’s’ all about two L brackets, string tied off up top and around the wingnut at bottom. I would’ve used a mini turnbuckle for tuning but had none around so found the combo you see at the bottom to do the work of a tuner -which as it’s set up here, amazingly simple and works great!

Tone is cool and even a bit more volume than I expected.

Also had and chopped to shorten white-headed nails, pounded ’em in for position markers. A little “off” but that goes along with me and most of my quick builds. Haaaaaarrrrrryyyyyyy’s!

For that close, clean (cheap) shave… and who knows what may come of this re. songwriting?

Reminds me of a friend’s cigarbox git history and build book “One Man’s Trash”, another friend’s “Making Poor Man’s Guitars” and yet another friend’s “Obsessed With Cigar Box Guitars” -all on Amazon and no, I get no credit nor loot, just all great fun and instructional as well as historical gems from friends of mine.

So ya never know what you can make from stuff just sitting around someplace. MUSIC! Yep.

Wishing you a Happy New Year, and as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Christmas 2019!

I must first mention that for several of my good friends this is a time of mourning and sadness at the loss or soon-to-be loss of loved ones. For some it is either the first Christmas or some years have passed as the memories flood in of holiday joy with one or more loved ones now gone -at least until joining together again in worship before the throne of God.

Then I want to say something that struck me in writing what became this year’s free Christmas download tune from GrrrRecords.Com. The title is Nine-Six -re. Isaiah 9.6 which inspired the following chorus lyric:

“Peace!
Come on peace!
We need peace!
In the love of the Lion and the Lamb”

As John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River he saw and then pointed to Jesus and said “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” -John 1.29

Scripture tells us in both spiritual and practical terms “the life is in the blood”. God commanded sacrifice of a perfect, spotless lamb for the sins (missing the mark, wrongdoing, injustices) of His people Israel. Jesus- the promised Messiah -is that Lamb of God.

It’s easy to think of the Babe in the manger as a lamb. But He is that and more.

But that’s not all He is nor the only sense of Spirit in which He comes (“Advent” means “coming”). He is both Lion and Lamb. We may wish He were one or the other but He is both.

Revelations 5.5 and elsewhere Jesus is referred to as the Lion of Judah. [You might consider Isa. 11.10, Rom. 15.12 and much more in both Testaments that speak to elements of this]

Consider that Jesus asked his disciples: “Who do you say I am?”

God asked Adam after his disobedience, “Where are you?”

The Person of Jesus Christ is the eternally living fulcrum upon which, Whom, all will give account.  Who He IS in my life and yours is the crucial issue after we consider the Babe in the manger at Christmastime.

He is both Lion and Lamb.

He is my Lord and Savior. May you trust Him above yourself and all others now and forever!

Regardless of anything else you’d care to mention, Christmas and eternity must and in the end shall find it’s deepest focus on the Creator and His Son, the Lion and Lamb: Christ Jesus.

As always, thanks for stopping by- and 🙂 I sincerely wish you a Blessed, even eternal Christmas! -Glenn

A Few Mins. = CANJO :)

The puck stops here! Well, the neck came from a broken, tossed hockey stick. Basic tin can, eyebolt for tuner, acoustic E (wound) guitar string, no bridge needed and the “nut” is a screw-in little eye to also guide the string to the “tuner”.

Look close and you’ll see the neck was a fail , would’ve been a 3 stringer, sat in stack for years and today I re-found that little can and thought “Yup, let’s!”

ChristmasJunkerCanjo001

She’s 18 1/4 inches tip-to-tip, scale from bottom of can to “nut” is 14 5/8 inches and at the moment tuned to a C. Seems to like it. A bit tinny sounding (no joke, most of ’em are!!) but I like it.

CANJO BLUES  -glenn kaiser

Got a, tin can an’ a hockey stick
A guitar string an’ a eye-bolt too
Made a pick from a credit card
Glass slide from a hot salt tube

Ain’t what you got, it’s what you do
Somedays I play the canjo blues

Go on laugh but the poor ain’t gone
Close your eyes an’ jus’ move along
But the point is simple -ain’t got to be rude
Creator love gonna see ’em through

Ain’t what you got, it’s what you do
Somedays I play the canjo blues

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

ChristmasJunkerCanjo002