GK Interviewed: Chicago’s Uptown Community Podcast

Ben Tompkins interviewed me immediately after a Blues Christmas set at Everybody’s Coffee here in Uptown. The neighborhood, my life, art and creativity in blues and more all in 30 minutes! Thanks and kudos to Ben and his team 🙂

And as always, thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

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3 de enero de 1971 – Traducción Española

Mi clase hermano Carlos Mestayer me tradujo esto, ¡estoy muy agradecido! -Glenn Kaiser

3 de enero de 1971

Había llegado al punto de estar completamente destrozado a finales de año.

Y entonces, como dice el viejo dicho, “se me encendieron las luces”.

Aquel sábado por la noche había estado con mis amigos, un actor increíblemente inteligente y una cantante de folk super dulce, hasta altas horas de la madrugada.

De alguna manera logré mantenerme sobrio, no había drogas o alcohol durante casi dos semanas, pero sabía que era cuestión de tiempo. El fracaso era mi único triunfo constante.

El actor y la cantante tenían pensamientos asombrosos.  Ã‰l, en mi opinión, era un verdadero intelectual.

Ninguno de ellos se drogaba o bebían. Así que nos sentamos y comentamos temas de la vida como acostumbrábamos hacer cuando estábamos juntos.

Él era gay, ella heterosexual, yo lo que fuera según se presentara la ocasión para excitarme con algo o a través de alguien.

Lo que me pareció completamente extraño en aquella ocasión fue que uno de ellos empezó a hablar de cosas espirituales. En todos los años que los había conocido ninguno de los dos había hablado nunca de esos temas y recuerdo no haber empezado esa conversación.

De camino a casa me pensaba “¡Qué raro! ¿A qué viene todo esto?”.

Cuando llegué a casa no vi el carro de mi madre. Me dije “mmm… es domingo por la mañana mi mamá siempre está durmiendo hasta tarde con Bill. ¿Dónde estará?”.

Sam, nuestro labrador negro, se paseaba por nuestra pequeña casa y se alegró de verme, yo también me alegré.

Decidí poner Led Zeppelin a buen volumen hasta que llegara mamá. Tenía los nervios a flor de piel y estaba ansioso esperando.

Muchos “momentos espirituales” venían ocurriendo en mi vida en los meses anteriores, los recordé y estaba haciendo un gran esfuerzo por olvidarlo todo. Apagué el estéreo y me dispuse a ver el último programa de la noche en la tele.

En aquella época no había cable ni Internet, y en Milwaukee sólo había cuatro estaciones de televisión; no había programación de 24 horas al día por lo que todos los canales cerraban transmisión ya tarde todas las noches.

Me encantaba ver The Twilight Zone con Rod Serling.  Esa serie siempre era genial, rara y a menudo moralizante contra el racismo y la injusticia. Encendí aquel viejo aparato en blanco y negro y la Dimensión Desconocida comenzó a presentar otro episodio épico.

Fue la primera de varias veces (desde aquella noche) que vi la historia de un tipo que quiere lo que quiere y acaba vendiendo su alma al diablo, después muere y el diablo se lo lleva. Fin de la historia.

¡Vaya! Me quedé sentado afectado por esa narración.

Llegó el programa de cierre diario -algo que algunos de los otros canales también hacían en esa época.

Te explico, una de las cosas que hacíamos en la banda en la que estaba entonces era hacernos de mucha droga y encender la televisión justo antes de la señal de salida. Para finalizar programación el padre Gene Jacubek hablaba por cinco minutos, inmediatamente después la estación pasaba el himno nacional y cerraba transmisiones hasta las siete de la mañana del día siguiente.

Mientras el fin de transmisión estaba en la pantalla, bajábamos el sonido para poner Cheech and Chong, Firesign Theatre u otros discos de comedia para que pareciera que el padre estuviera drogado, soltando blasfemias mientras los presentes nos moríamos de risa y nos burlábamos de él.

Pero esa noche en particular no me levanté de la silla ni bajé el volumen. El padre hablaba con lógica. Lo que decía tenía mucho sentido. De hecho, me sorprendió poder entender parte de lo que decía con todo y citas Bíblicas.

La emisora cerró yo permanecí atónito, viendo el “patrón de prueba”. Finalmente me levanté y apagué el televisor.

Dirigiéndome a la cocina creo que le dije a mi perro Sam “¡Qué noche más rara! Uffff”.

Se siguieron dando situaciones en los consiguientes meses, en esos momentos tenía poco o ningún control de las circunstancias y las ideas seguían zumbando en mi mente.

Pensé “tengo que dejar de pensar en todo esto… ahhh… ¡la radio de mamá en la cocina!”.

Ella escuchaba lo más aburrido y triste que te puedas imaginar para dormir. Pero lo que escuchaba siempre era muy tranquilo, y yo quería despejar la mente.

Encendí la radio y me sorprendí al escuchar la emisora transmitía discos de jazz. “Alguien movió el dial y no fue ni mamá ni yo. ¿Qué está pasando?” Pero eso no era todo.

Entre melodías de jazz, el locutor decía “Jesús puede cambiar tu vida”.

“¡¡¡El MUNDO se volvió loco esta noche!!!” fue exactamente lo que pensé.

Ya me sentía asustado, por dos semanas había estado limpio y sobrio. ¿Un flashback? No. Ningún indicio de eso.

En el momento en que apagué la radio, oí que el coche de mamá llegaba y se detenía.

Eran alrededor de las dos de la madrugada y entró por la puerta trasera con la cara llena de lágrimas.

Dijo: “¡Glenn, el tío Gene se nos fue!”.

Su hermano favorito, el que siempre le había mostrado amabilidad y respeto, vivía a dos casas con la tía Jill. Eran personas increíbles, tranquilas, no chismosas, iban a la iglesia como nadie en nuestra familia excepto la tía Betty.

Sabía que esto era devastador para mamá y, por supuesto, para Jill y el resto de la familia en la zona de Milwaukee.

Había sufrido al menos un par de infartos, y este último resultó fatal.

Gene siempre había sido bueno conmigo y era mi “padrino”.

Mamá dijo: “Voy a pasar la noche con Jill en su casa”. Le dije: “Por supuesto, lo siento mucho mamá, ¡por favor, dile a Jill que lo siento mucho!”.

Mamá dio la vuelta a la manzana y pude oír su coche parqueando en la casa de Jill.

Se podía ver el coche desde la ventana de la cocina, me asomé y vi aparcado la carroza que se llevaría el cuerpo de mi tío a la funeraria.

De la nada me encontré diciendo “Lo siento mucho. He estado a punto de morir en varias ocasiones, he destrozado la vida de mucha gente con las drogas, el sexo y siendo un idiota egocéntrico… debería estar muerto, no tú, pobre tío. Lo siento mucho”.

La lupa de la muerte estaba ante mis ojos. Sin escapatoria. ¿Por qué estoy vivo yo y no él?

Nuestra casa estaba en completo silencio. Pero cerca de las tres de la mañana de ese domingo la puerta trasera se cerró de golpe.

No recuerdo haber saltado ni nada por el estilo, pero sí pensé: “Bueno, es probable que el diablo venga a cobrar. Será mejor que salga a su encuentro porque, de todos modos, es inevitable”. Eso era exactamente lo que estaba pensando.

Rara vez usábamos la puerta principal, así que nuestro porche trasero tenía una losa de cemento descubierta con tres escalones, un poco de césped y luego el camino de entrada de grava para el vehículo, no había garaje.

Si subías los escalones llegabas hasta una puerta mosquitera exterior, la abrías y luego encontrabas una puerta de madera maciza que daba a un porche cerrado muy pequeño donde estaba nuestra refrigeradora, había unos pocos percheros en la pared y finalmente dabas con unas gradas que bajaban al sótano.

Nuestra casa era tan pequeña que el único retrete y la ducha también estaban en el sótano, junto con la lavadora. Los tendederos colgaban por debajo del primer piso y también había un perchero de madera para secar la ropa, no teníamos secadora eléctrica.

Nuestro porche tenía una tercera puerta, también de madera maciza que daba a la cocina.

Abrí esa puerta para ir a ver al diablo y todo cambió cuando vi el periódico.

El portazo se debíó a la entrega del periódico.

Como había sido repartidor de periódicos durante varios años siempre gritábamos “¡cobro!” al llamar a las puertas para cobrar a los clientes de nuestra ruta.

Mi siguiente pensamiento fue “¡Genial! Ya puedo quitarme todo esto de la cabeza… ¡¿dónde está la sección de tiras cómicas?!”.

Después de mi último y espantoso viaje con ácido unas semanas antes, en uno o dos días había desconcertado de verdad a mi madre.

Dos veces en mi vida visité dos iglesias diferentes, eso era todo.

La primera fue una “escuela bíblica de vacaciones” de verano para niños en las afueras de Beaver Dam. Wisconsin. Yo tendría unos seis años. Unas dulces y regordetas señoras de pelo gris ofrecían transporte de ida y vuelta a la pequeña iglesia y supongo que asistí a unas cinco o seis sesiones. Todos los niños tenían que memorizar un versículo y, al repetirlo correctamente, recibían dos cosas: un pequeño bolígrafo de madera con forma de bate de béisbol y un pequeño Nuevo Testamento de Gedeón con Salmos y Proverbios.

Nunca lo leí, y acabó en el cajón de arriba de la cómoda (es decir, de los “misceláneos”) de mi madre.

Tal vez dos semanas antes de esta noche le pregunté si todavía lo tenía.

Me miró como si tuviera dos cabezas… y preguntó “¿Por qué?”. Le dije: “Es mío,  si todavía lo tienes guardado, pásamelo, por favor”.

Lo encontró y me lo dio con cara de asombro.

La segunda vez que tuve algo que ver con la religión (aparte de cuando vi un retrato de Cristo en mis alucinaciones meses antes) fue cuando un compañero del colegio que me había dado clases los sábados me pidió que le acompañara. Como no paraba de darme lata, me puse una camisa blanca y una corbatita falsa, lo único “formal” que tenía, y al cabo de unas pocas semanas me aburrí. Era extraño escuchar mucha información que no entendía, citas del apóstol Pablo y doctrina de la iglesia, según recuerdo ahora.

Una mañana de escuela dominical miré a la cruz pensando “¿Qué pasa con Él?”, me levanté y me fui y nunca volví a entrar a otra iglesia.

Tenía nueve años entonces, y mi pequeña excursión en la iglesia ocurrió poco después de que mi madre y mi padre se divorciaron.  Ella comenzó una relación con otro hombre. Eso me devastó por completo y supongo que en parte por eso me había ido con mi amigo.

Tomé el Nuevo Testamento que mamá me había devuelto, subí a mi habitación y creo que lo abrí en Mateo 24 o Marcos 13 o Lucas 21. Leí el capítulo, me asusté y tiré el Nuevo Testamento en el cajón de la mesa de noche.

Ahhh… ¡el periódico! Los cómics, ¡sí!

No pasé de la primera página. “La Asociación del Corazón dice que los infartos habían alcanzado su nivel más alto en EE.UU. desde que se llevaban registros”. Leí sobre un ciclón que mató a miles de personas en la costa de Tailandia o quizás Camboya. Había una historia sobre un hippie que golpeó a un policía o a un guardia nacional en una manifestación en el centro de Milwaukee. ¿Paz? Había muchas guerras, incluida la llamada “acción policial” de Vietnam.

¿Dónde había oído hablar de todo esto recientemente?

“Los corazones de los hombres desfallecen por el miedo, la furia de las olas, ‘paz, paz’ cuando no hay paz, habrá guerras y rumores de guerra, y entonces vendrá el fin”.

La portada de un periódico resumía lo que había leído hacía muy poco en un libro de casi dos mil años de antigüedad.

Mi labrador negro, Sam, me miraba con cara de asombro. Los perros a veces te sorprenden.

Me levanté, allí mismo, a eso de las tres de la madrugada, y dije en voz alta: “¿Quién eres? ¡SÉ que estás aquí! No entiendo qué intentas decirme. ¡No lo entiendo!”.

BUM. Quiero decir una fracción de segundo BOOM:

“Porque de TAL MANERA AMÓ Dios al mundo, que ha dado a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo aquel que en él cree, no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna”.

Juan 3.16 pasó por mi mente tal vez una docena de años después de haber dejado de pensar en ello. Cayó como si una pared se hubiera derrumbado sobre mí.

Yo me derrumbé.

Antes de aquella noche no me había permitido llorar más de media docena de veces en toda mi vida. Estaba dolido, enfadado y había hecho todo lo posible por protegerme, a menudo fui muy malo con mi madre, abandoné amigos, dejé grupos musicales y a cualquier persona con la que no quisiera estar por puro por capricho.

Me quebré. En tres segundos quedé destrozado.

En ese momento acabé literalmente sollozando como un bebé, comencé a deslizar mi espalda la pared de la cocina debajo de nuestro viejo teléfono fijo, y con total asombro dije “¿Me estás tomando el pelo? ¡Soy basura, soy inmundicia! ¡Este es el trato más unilateral que jamás he oído! Yo no haría esto por mí mismo. ¡Lo que Tú has hecho no puede ser! ¡Te estoy estafando! ¿Qué quieres de mí? Esto es increíble!”

Sin exagerar. Ni ángeles, ni voz audible, ni visión. De hecho, no sentí un gran escalofrío en la nuca ni en la espalda, nada más que una profunda sensación de paz, alivio y aceptación.

El shock del siglo fue que en esos pocos segundos me di cuenta de que ahora creía en Jesucristo, que Él había muerto en la cruz por MÍ… ¡¿POR GLENN…?! Aparentemente salió de su tumba y no sólo estaba vivo, sino que estaba tocando a mi puerta en ese mismo momento. Lo había hecho en Technicolor tridimensional de forma intermitente durante esos meses al punto que ya no podía negarlo.

Si todo esto era cierto, ¿por qué habría de negarle mi vida cuando él había renunciado a la suya pensando en mí y en el resto del mundo?

Este fue el principio del fin de mis adicciones, de mi autodestrucción y de la basura que había transmitido a tanta gente debido a mi ignorancia y auto deificación.

Había jugado a ser Dios y ese Dios tenía que desaparecer.

Había conocido al Dios que ES Dios y los cambios, algunos drásticos e inmediatos, otros a lo largo del tiempo, fueron profundos, drásticos y asombrosos.

Durante los meses siguientes, mis amigos vieron en mí un cambio de vida que ninguno de ellos, y desde luego yo, creía posible.

También perdí amigos porque el Dios real se convirtió en mi Primer Amor y Mejor Amigo para siempre.

Nuevos amigos de fe, esperanza y amor me ayudaron a seguir creciendo espiritualmente y en este punto de mi vida en la tierra puedo decir que la gracia de Dios, que viene directamente de Él y a través de mi “familia para siempre” sigue siendo asombrosa.

Al asistir al funeral de Gene unos días después, nunca había experimentado una sensación tan personal de paz e incluso de alegría en un funeral. Fue tristemente fácil también notar el profundo horror y pavor en tanta gente en la sala y luego el contraste de mi tía Jill ¡que los consolaba! Le pregunté si podía acompañarla a la iglesia el domingo siguiente. Me respondió: “Estaré encantada de llevarte”, y así lo hicimos.

Ahora llevo toda una vida dando gracias y haciendo todo lo posible por vivir y compartir el amor y la verdad de Jesús por todo el mundo.

Siempre hay un principio y un final. Tu viaje, su principio y final pueden ser muy diferentes a los míos, pero se esto.

A pesar de lo que la Biblia claramente llama “pecado” nosotros (yo) TODOS hemos pecado y estamos destituidos de la gloria de Dios, del estándar y justicia de Dios.  A veces los cristianos profesantes han sido los peores ejemplos de lo que es el amor, la verdad y la gracia (favor inmerecido, misericordia).

Los cristianos SEGUIMOS a Jesús e incluso amamos a nuestros enemigos.

Yo, como muchos de nosotros, he fallado en este aspecto en muchas ocasiones.

Sin embargo, sé lo que mi vida fue y lo que habría sido sin Él y sin amigos verdaderamente piadosos y amorosos. Habría sido un desperdicio y habría acabado en tragedia.

También sé esto: la misma cantidad de sangre fue derramada en la cruz por TODOS- ¡para que “el que quiera, venga”!

¡Espero que ores (hables con Él y lo escuches), que siguas a Jesús y experimentes el amor de Dios! “Porque todo aquel que invocare el nombre del Señor, será salvo. Porque no hay bajo el cielo otro nombre dado a los hombres mediante el cual podamos ser salvos”. Hechos 4.12

Esa palabra “salvo” en griego bíblico (sozo) significa “salvar, librar, proteger, sanar, preservar, hacer bien, ser curado”.

No hay nada más que pueda compartir, nada más esencial que pueda transmitir a quien quiera escuchar en el mundo, verdaderamente ilimitado es el océano de su amor.

-Glenn Kaiser, Chicago, 3 de enero de 2023

January 3, 1971

January 3, 1971

I had reached the point of being completely broken by year’s end.

And then as the old cliche goes, “the lights came on”.

I’d hung out with my incredibly smart guy actor and super-sweet girl folk singer friends late into the evening that Saturday night.

Somehow I’d white-knuckled into staying sober, not doing any sort of drug or booze for almost two weeks prior, but it was only a matter of time before I knew I’d fail. Failure was something I succeeded at with real consistency.

These two people were amazing thinkers, and the dude in particular was, I believe, a true intellectual.

Neither of them were druggies nor do I ever remember them ever drinking. So we just sat and discussed the events of life as we always did when together.

He was gay, she was straight, I was whatever I was at any given opportunity to get off on something or via someone.

What was totally strange on that occasion was that one of them started talking about spiritual stuff. Over the years I’d known them neither one of them ever talked about that and I sure don’t remember starting that part of the conversation.

Walking home I kept thinking “Weird. What brought all that up?”

As I moved down our driveway, I realized my mother’s car wasn’t at the end of it. Thinking “Huh… it’s one o’clock Sunday morning, she’s always in bed, asleep or sleeping with Bill at this point. I wonder where she is?”

Sam, our black labrador was pacing around our little house and clearly glad to see me -and I, him.

I decided to crank Zeppelin on the stereo until Mom came in. My nerves were somehow up and very attentive.

A load of “spiritual moments” that had happened in my life over several months prior began popping up in my head and I just wanted to forget it all. Turning off the music, I decided to watch the last show of the night on tv.

In those days there was no cable or internet and in Milwaukee there were only four stations, all which went off the air each night, no twenty-four hour channels.

I loved The Twilight Zone with Rod Serling, always cool, freaky and often moralizing stuff that spoke against racism and injustice. That old black and white set fired up and the Zone started laying out yet another epic episode.

It was the first of several times (since that night) that I watched the story of a guy who wants what he wants and ends up selling his soul to the devil. And dies going off with him. End of story.

Woah! I sat there somewhat affected by that narrative.

Next up came the closing show of every day -something some of the other channels did then too.

Understand, one bit of fun we had in the band I was in then was to do up a load of dope and turn the tv on just before sign-off. I think it was Father Gene Jacubek who would give a five-minute speech and then the station would play the national anthem and go off the air until about seven o’clock the next morning.

We’d have him on the screen but turn off the sound and put Cheech and Chong, Firesign Theatre or other doper/stoner comedy records on so it’d look like the man in the cloth was high, spouting profanity and we’d laugh our heads off and mock him.

Only this particular night I didn’t get out of my chair or hit the volume knob. He made sense. A lot of sense. In fact I was shocked that I began to understand some of what he seemed to be saying, and he was quoting scripture.

The station closed down for the night as I sat stunned, watching the “test pattern”. I finally got up and turned the box off.

Heading into the kitchen I believe I told my dog Sam “What a bizarre night boy! Whew.”

Situation after situation over those months over which I had little or no control kept buzzing through my mind.

I thought “I gotta quit thinking about all this… ahhh… Mom’s little kitchen radio!”

Understand, she listened to the worst boring put-me-to-sleep sad excuse for “music” you could imagine. But it was always real peaceful stuff, and I wanted to clear my mind.

I flicked it on and got immediately amazed in that the station was playing jazz records of all things! “Somebody must have changed the dial and it wasn’t Mom or me! What’s up?” But that wasn’t all.

In-between jazz tunes the announcer was talking about how “Jesus can change your life.”

“The flippin’ WORLD is going NUTS tonight!!” was exactly what I thought.

Now I was spooked, because all this and I was completely straight and had been for those couple of weeks. Flashback? Nope. No indication of that.

About the time I turned her radio off I heard Mom’s car come down the driveway and stop.

It was now about two a.m., and she walked in the back porch door, face wet with tears.

She said “Glenn, Uncle Gene is gone!”

Her favorite brother who had always shown her kindness and respect lived one house over from “kitty corner” with Aunt Jill. They were amazing people, quiet, not gossips, serious church-goers unlike any in our family or relations but for one of Mom’s other sisters, my Aunt Betty.

I knew this was devastating to Mom and of course Jill and the rest of the family all there in the Milwaukee area.

He had suffered at least a couple of heart attacks, and this one proved fatal.

Gene had always been kind to me -and happened to also be my “god-father”.

Mom said “I’m going back to spend the night with Jill”. I said “Of course, I am so very sorry Mom, please tell Jill I’m so sorry!”

She drove back around to the next block and I could just hear her car pull into their driveway.

One could see their drive from our kitchen side window, and as I looked over I could see the hearse parked that would take my Uncle’s body to the funeral home.

Out of nowhere I found myself saying “I am so sorry. I’ve nearly died on several occasions, I’ve trashed a lot of people’s lives via drugs, sex and just being a self-centered idiot… I should be dead, not you poor Uncle. I am so sorry!”

The magnifying glass of death was right before my eyes. No escape. Why am I alive and he is gone?

Our house was fully quiet. The next thing I knew it was about three o’clock on that Sunday morning. Then the back door SLAMMED.

I don’t remember jumping or anything, but I do recall thinking “Well that’s likely the devil coming to collect. I may as well go out to meet him because it’s inevitable anyway.” Really, those were my exact thoughts.

We rarely used the front door, so our back porch had an uncovered cement slab with three steps to a bit of grass and then the gravel driveway, no garage.

You came up the steps, then to an outer screen door, opening that, then the solid wooden door onto a very tiny enclosed porch where our fridge sat, there were a few coat hooks on the wall and steps that went down to the basement.

Our house was so small that the only toilet and shower stall were also in the basement, along with the washer. Clother lines hung from under the first floor and also a wooden rack for drying, no electric dryer.

Our porch had a third door, also solid wood, and opening that offered entrance to the kitchen.

I opened that door to go see the devil and a different sort of “collect” came to mind.

The door opening and closing was due to the delivery of the morning newspaper.

As I’d been a paper boy for several years I understood “Collect!” which we always called out when knocking on doors for payment of our route customers.

My next thought was “Great! I can get all this stuff out of my head… where’s the comic section?!”

After my last screamingly horrific acid trip some weeks earlier, within the next day or two I had truly puzzled my mother.

Twice in my life I had brief visits to two different churches, that’s all.

The first was a summer “vacation Bible school” for kids up on the edge of Beaver Dam. Wisconsin. I would have been about six years old. Some sweet, plump grey-haired ladies offered transportation to and from the little church and I guess I went to about five or six sessions. All the kids had to memorize one verse, and upon repeating it correctly got two things- a little wooden baseball bat pen and a small Gideon’s New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.

I never read it, and it ended up in my Mom’s top dresser (that is, “junk”) drawer.

Perhaps two weeks before this night I asked her if she still had it.

She looked at me like I had two heads… and asked “Why?” I said “Is it mine? Do you still have it somewhere and if so, I’d like it please.”

Sure enough she found it and handed it to me with an amazed look on her face.

The second time I had anything to do with religion (which is where I may have seen a portrait of Christ which I had hallucinated months prior) was when a school buddy had taken classes on Saturday and asked me to come along. After he kept bugging me about it, I put on a white shirt and little fake tie- the only “dress clothes” I had, and after about X amount of weeks got bored. It was odd hearing a lot of information I didn’t understand, quotes from apostle Paul and church doctrine as I recall now.

One Sunday school morning I looked up at the cross thinking “What about Him?”, got up and left and never entered another church.

I was nine years old at that time, and my little jaunt there happened soon after my Mom had left my Dad for another man and divorced my Dad. That absolutely devastated me and I suppose that’s partly why I had gone with my friend.

Taking that re-found New Testament from Mom, I went up to my room and opened it to one of three chapters, either Matthew 24, Mark 13 or Luke 21. I read the chapter, freaked out and had tossed it in my bedside table drawer.

Ahhh… the newspaper! The Comics, yes!

I never got past the front page. “Heart association says heart attacks at highest level in U.S. since records have been kept.” I read about a cyclone killing thousands on the coast of Thailand or perhaps Cambodia. There was a story about a hippie punching out either a cop or national guardsman in a downtown Milwaukee demonstration. Peace? There were plenty of wars going on including our Vietnam so-called “police action”.

Where had I heard about all this stuff recently?

“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, the raging of the waves, ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace, there shall be wars and rumors of war, and then the end shall come.”

I had looked at the entire front page which simply said what I’d read quite recently- in a nearly 2,000 year-old book.

My black Lab Sam was now staring at me with a sort of wondering look on his face. Dogs do that sometimes you know?

I stood up, right there at about three a.m. and blurted out loud “Who are You? I KNOW You’re here! I don’t understand, what are you trying to tell me, I don’t understand!!”

Boom. I mean split-second BOOM:

“For God SO LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3.16 flashed through my mind perhaps a dozen years after I had ceased thinking about it. It landed like a wall falling on me.

I broke down.

Please understand I may have cried but a half-dozen times in my life before that night. I was hurt, angry and had done everything I could to shield myself, often being quite mean to my mother, ditching friends, bands and anyone I, on a whim, didn’t want to be around.

Broken. In about three seconds I was just broken.

In that moment I literally ended up sobbing like a baby, sliding my back down along the side of the kitchen wall beneath our old landline phone, and in utter astonishment said “Are You kidding me?? I am garbage, I am filth! This is the most one-sided deal I have ever heard of! I wouldn’t do this for me, what You have done! No way. You’re getting ripped off! What would you want with me?? This is unbelievable!”

No exaggeration. No angels, no audible voice, no vision. In fact no great rush down my neck or back, nothing but a deep sense of peace, relief and acceptance.

The shock of all time was that in those few seconds I realized I now believed in Jesus Christ, that He died on the cross for ME… for GLENN…?! He apparently walked out of His tomb and was not only alive but knocking on my door then and there. He had done so in three-dimensional flashing technicolor over those months to such an extent I could no longer deny it.

Then again, if all this were true, why would I deny Him my life, He’d given up His with me and the rest of the world in mind.

This was the beginning of the end of my addictions, self-destruction and the slop I had passed on to so many others due to my own ignorance and self-deification.

I had played god and that god had to go.

I had met the God Who IS God and the changes, some dramatic and immediate, some over time -were deep, drastic and amazing.

Over the next months my friends saw a life change in me none of them and certainly not I, thought possible.

I also lost friends because the real God became my First Love and Best Friend forever.

New friends of faith, hope and love helped me continue to grow spiritually and on this end of my life on earth I can say God’s grace, directly from Him and through my “forever family” continues to be Amazing.

Attending Gene’s funeral a few days later I had never experienced such a personal sense of peace and even joy -at a funeral. It was sadly easy to also notice the deep horror and dread in so many people in the room and then the contrast of my Aunt Jill who comforted them! I asked if I could accompany her to church that next Sunday. She said “I’d be delighted to take you!” and so we went.

I’ve now spent a lifetime giving thanks and doing my best to live and share Jesus’ love and truth around the world.

There is always a beginning and ending. Your journey, your beginning and end may be quite different from mine but this I know-

Regardless of what the Bible clearly calls “sin” we (I) have ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, God’s standard of righteousness and at times professing Christians have indeed been the worst examples of what love, truth and grace (un-earned favor, mercy) are about.

Christians are to FOLLOW Jesus and love even their enemies.

I, like plenty of us, have failed doing either well on many occasions.

Yet I know what my life was and would have been without Him, without a good number of truly godly, loving friends. It would have been a waste and would have ended in tragedy.

I know this: the same amount of blood was shed on His cross for ALL- for “whosoever will, let he or she come”!

May you pray (talk with and listen to Him), follow Jesus and experience the love of God! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. For there is no other name given under heaven among people by which they must be saved.” Acts 4.12

That word “saved” in biblical Greek (sozo) means “to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, be made whole”.

There is nothing more I could share, nothing more essential I could ever pass on to anyone on earth but what is truly without limit, the Ocean of His Love.

-Glenn Kaiser, Chicago, January 3, 2023

Both/And vs. The Sound of One Hand Clapping

From listening and reading various statements of others regarding both salvation and social justice/mercy for “the least of these” as Jesus used the phrase in Matthew chapter 25, I thought it good to share this as my first post for January 1, 2023. Of course we are always closer to standing before Him than ever.

There are those who would diminish the importance of their or other’s salvation who will one day realize such was a massive error in judgment.

There are those who ignore, neglect practical love as Jesus discusses it in Mt. 25 who will also be shocked at such a fulcrum in God’s own separation of sheep from goats.

I suggest we face His own words in that chapter and coming event as testimony of this:

Neither eternal life/salvation OR here-and-now love and kind treatment of our neighbor are irrelevant as He lays both out quite clearly. He states the importance, indeed essentiality of both.

To only focus on one or the other reminds me of the phrase “the sound of one hand clapping”.

Now to fully mix metaphors- may we use both eyes as we go about our day, year and life.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Out Loud – Complete Quiet

For the most part I can roll with both of these.

In my younger years I was continually listening to music. Later in life it was listening to news but I’d always read papers, magazines and such. Records gave way to tapes, then cd’s and now mostly Mp3s.

Playing in bands my entire life meant a fair bit of loud music-making and on rare occasion mellower stuff.

I began reading more than listening to news on radio as the internet kicked in and because I not only became used to quickly getting news, weather, sports and historical study info., Bible studying and commentaries via the web but also discovered I was really enjoying quiet spaces as the days progressed.

Living in intentional community most of my lifetime meant loudness a fair bit though there were always places and moments I found and now find quiet spots with little to distract.

Some folks get distracted easily and this does relate to me at least to a degree. I never liked to have media or conversations going on around me while I was trying to read -the more important the material the more essential to concentrate in order for actual comprehension.

In my school days I did almost zero homework (being lazy, focused on music and girls and hating what I believed to be irrelevant educational work -then…) so was never the typical kid with music playing while doing it.

A good part of my love for the outdoors, woods and waters is the typical quietness but for wind, rain, critters and the occasional airplane passing overhead. Peace- a real gift from God in Jesus and sometimes via a quiet space, a good cup of coffee or tea and a read or two or three, yup!

I’ve written in blog posts about this before, but it was simply on my mind today as I think some might want to consider their loudness consumption and get a bit deeper study/peace going in their life.

There are drives if I’m alone on the road when I blast a bit of music, sometimes news, but over the years quiet praying as I go is very much part of my chosen journey.

Wishing all who visit my site here a grace-filled (whether loud or quiet) and peace-filled 2023.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

His Will – My Opinion

I’ve been pondering the following once again:

Deut. 8.3 He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna, with which neither you nor your ancestors were acquainted, in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. -NRSV

Mt. 4.4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” -NRSV

The humility of faith, of trusting God to provide in/as/when we seek Him in accord with His Word which reveals His will. Of course this includes following Him in accord with what He has said to the best of our current understanding flawed as our understanding often is.

The ignoring or worse, discarding of His Word is not only arrogant but to our own undoing regardless of what we may state as our true faith. Unless and until we live out, walk in what we say we believe we are in effect living by our own thoughts/word, not His.

I ask you what I ask myself: do you think it best to live by His Word or your own opinion?

I suggest to you we ultimately worship and serve the true God on His throne or the false one we see in our bathroom mirror.

Note what Jesus quotes to the devil when tempted including the actual incident in which the temptation came when He (like the people of Israel in the desert) was tired and massively hungry. They grumbled and complained. He did the will of the Father’s Word.

Not a popular message but then a fair bit of what He says has never been that…

Things to consider as we seek to feed our hunger.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

CHRISTMAS 2022

And -always \o/ 🙂 Much Love, -Glenn

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9.6

What Christmas truly is. As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Good And Wise

I’ve a number of such friends. One is my bud down the hall Jon Trott. Another is David Bunker.

David is a thinker, scholar, sometimes professor and a poet who loves Jesus, people and words well. He recently pointed to a book where one of the authors included is Northrup Frye.

As you read this or other things I post, please know I don’t fully agree with anyone and yet regularly find what I and perhaps many if not most, brilliant positions, bits of truth and inspiration from people in all sectors of history and the present world.

I don’t always agree with myself having found change, learning, growth is accumulated via wise people, deeper study long considered, discussions with others, the experience of living for years and therefore time itself. All of these and more sometimes create an absolute bedrock I’ll not move from having been convinced and continually affirmed in my belief. The veracity and essentiality of the Bible is one of those.

Ok, on to Frye and a quote of his w. a bit of commentary from the peanut gallery (the admittedly not brilliant thinker/writer- me).

Unpacking his life and work I discovered quotes such as the following:

“The Bible is not interested in arguing, because if you state a thesis of belief you have already stated it’s opposite; if you say, I believe in God, you have already suggested the possibility of not believing in him. [p.250]” -Northrop Frye, “Biblical and Classical Myths: The Mythological Framework of Western Culture”

From my non-authoritative understanding of all things (including logic) I posit he’s right. And also wrong. Overall correct to my way of thinking. And rather binary at least in the sense of an either-or fulcrum if this is all he ever said about the matter he mentions. He said a great deal more, but Frye’s thinking at core places myth and imagination as the ground of pretty much all thought. He is in my view correct in the sense of us having to constantly imagine things in our own mind to construct an understanding of life, death, etc..

The Bible’s human writers indeed offer many lines that strongly connect to belief, that is, faith, salvation and which bring reason and logic in view of human life as well as revelation of God’s Person, His desires, commands and what scripture refers to as sin.

Where I think N.F. was wrong here (and I am admittedly only discussing this one quote out of a bazillion of his illustrious critical writings) is one could say the entirety of the Book is fully laced with an argument including the reality of God, His choosing people, His dealings which we judge loving and kind as well as harsh and even brutal.

It does seem to me myth formed by imagination often reflects truth or at least lower-case truths that are more than mere myth.

IS there analogy, parable and actual myth found in it’s pages? Of course. It is not in every/all it’s writing to be taken literal in that sense.

My point is that fiction, a term not entirely synonymous with “myth” also often reflects Truth or certainly truths… but is “made-up”, imagined and often tells a story which is not directly a mirror of reality and everyday life but rather a metaphor.

No metaphor came into our world, walked among humans on two feet which were later pierced along with His hands (perhaps actually, wrists) on a cross- and raised from the grave… for your sake and mine that we might inherit eternal life in relationship with Him.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

Peace Beyond the Usual Links

Voicemail, (Meta/Facebook)Messenger on my mobile phone? NOPE. Twitter? Nah. I don’t need any of these. Further, I regularly scroll past the zillion requests in Facebook seeking to get me to link w. groups or respond to general “if you really care you’ll respond and re-post this on your page” stuff.

Let me explain.

Stewardship of our time and life is in our hands -mostly. Sometimes we have to respond to emergencies or a right-now request for someone’s needs to be met. There are those things that are truly priorities, even time-certains on the calendar.

I use several different computers daily. All are older, even “boat anchors” where others wouldn’t bother but I use various Linux distributions that rock on ’em all.

Both on my machines as well as phone I leave Facebook “on” so look as if I’m online live which often I’m not. IF I want to link re. direct messages in FB I do so when at home or online via laptop but as most all if not everyone reading this I’ve plenty to do beside computing or phone chats/texts.

Due to all this I made cuts or never installed various programs to keep my own sense of organization and balance. And yep, well-being!

I won’t get into details of why I left Twitter behind but in the end it comes down to what I think was a tragic mess in it’s changes. I used it off and on daily for years but have found it’s one less time-eater not using it and don’t miss it whatsoever.

I was recently in a chat online w. a bro who was talking about the glut of adds in trying to read an article. Some of you may know most web browsers with a little study and toggling/changing in the setup of the browser itself have the ability to render most (not All) websites text-only with zero photos and adds.

I regularly (as in DAILY) use text-only browsers/browsing to quickly and simply read words… to get the actual content without all the rest. This is not only my practice on computers but on my phone.

If enough peeps ask I’ll post a bit of info. on what apps and sites may be of interest re. news and other info. on various platforms (computer, phone).

Alleluia for peace! Figuring how to remove distractions is so helpful to getting good work done, not to mention the grace of silence when corporations want to have acce$$ to your time, attention and wallet! Some of the free apps I use still track you and send info. to them but there are some that do not.

In the main, I like control over the sheer amount of spam and click-bait as well as distractions via my life.

Peace comes from Jesus -and a little education, thought and application regarding how you use tech!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Blue Christmas

I have joined others in prayer for many in deep need during this Christmas season.

Just this morning I learned of a pastor’s son who lost his wife last night in an unexpected medical emergency after they rushed her to hospital. She has died leaving her husband and two 3 year olds to a Christmas and beyond without her… Whew! What a sad, tragic, shocking Christmastime event. Praying.

The local church, other family and friends will surround that grieving family and do best they can to comfort and meet needs during this season and later -but not everyone has such support.

We know that those struggling in a wide range of ways often are hardest hit during holidays. Those losing loved ones or in other crisis often see such seasons as dark and not light.

Regardless of mental, emotional and other struggles, I think this is a truly important and immediate help for people rather than adding ever more tragic options: Dial 988 for help!

https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988/faqs

Prayer, seeking God is in my view essential yet the practical issues of denying self-or-other-induced stigma at one’s deep pain is no answer. Self-medicating is no real solution. Believe me, back in the day I tried and it was -not-.

There are many other online helps, and I found this one some years ago:

https://todaydevotional.com/devotions/blue-christmas

Not all our questions will be answered this side of heaven. Not all believe there IS God or heaven for that matter. What I know is that peace doesn’t come without seeking Him regardless of circumstances.

Consider Christmas in Ukraine, in an American slum with desperate, violent situations, injustices a daily matter. Suburban homes with people addicted to opiates, some to gambling, families ripped apart on many levels regardless of wealth or other details where the idea that “all is fine” cannot possibly be true because it flatly isn’t.

I remember sparks of joy but also holiday seasons of grief back in my lost/without Jesus days, when family was a thin concept rarely practiced.

For me the light of the Risen and REAL Jesus Christ has made all the difference.

Yet boots-on-ground needs are met in the practical as we reach out… and up.

God have mercy on those in suffering during these days meant to reveal the Love and Light of the world -Jesus.

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn