HOMELESS Freeze- Mt. 25

It’s cold in Chicago but about to drop FAR below zero fahrenheit. Grateful as I just saw a pic of yet another Cornerstone Community Outreach resident moving out and into his new apartment! Thinking about the many poor folks, mentally ill, veterans and such out in the streets. I’ve a number of prison dates on my calendar now, more coming.

Who do you consider “the least of these”? What are you actively doing to reflect God’s love toward them?

Here is a massively important text from Matthew 25 simplified by yours truly. Now THIS is scrawl-scratch on my part! I created these 3 a year or more ago and decided Jesus’ words might become visual- this is what came to me. Perhaps a bit more clarity for some who just don’t seem to get the realities He focuses on?

mt.25simplified_1  mt.25simplified_2  mt.25simplified_3

These aren’t nearly close to a major worry if one has plenty of loot. They are more an issue for middle or lower-class citizens. They are sometimes a literal matter of life and death for the very poor, marginalized, mentally ill, widows and orphans “in their affliction” as the scripture puts it.

That last insert above refers to the quality of legal representation anyone reading this would want for themselves or their loved ones -and finally, “safe, HUMANE jail or prison facilities, etc.” just in case my original note (to myself as I was about to speak to a group) isn’t clear enough to read.

Things to consider perhaps??!

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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Cultural Idolatry

This is directed to all and the Church in the world but specifically re. Americans who profess to love Jesus and others.

Before I mention more, a little update- I’ve been invited to participate in online radio, that I might offer a music and/music chat/talk show now and then or even weekly. At present I don’t believe that’s what I must do (family, 2 records and 2 books, jail and prison visits and other show/services on my schedule!) but there may be a day I say “Yes, let’s go for it” and if so, I’ll let you know.

There are of course many ways one can do online “broadcasting”, live, vid-casts, audio (podcasts) and the like. Again, at the moment I don’t think that’s a priority for me- but here is a podcast I believe important enough to publicize. I rarely have used podcasts as a communication avenue, but here is one. It runs appx. 13 1/2 minutes.

The specific podcast is titled “Culture or Christ” but it often truly does boil down to cultural idolatry if we are willing to face that reality.

http://gkaiser.podbean.com/

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

 

Bridges-Walls-Activism

On my 66th “trip around the sun”, also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday- the following looms large in my mind.

For years and long before any talk of a border wall I added the following two phrases to my personal email signature:

-Build bridges not walls

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

It was right at 50 years ago I became quite active in what the social justice issues of the day were. Sadly and without surprise many of the same continue to deserve comment and -action- now.

If you look at my lyrics from Resurrection (REZ) Band, Glenn Kaiser Band or my solo projects you really should begin to notice how often from the very earliest recordings, that justice issues were core.

Sometimes folks seem shocked at what I post in social media or in various lyrics or hearing me speak as though I have somehow “become radicalized” or have “drunk the koolaide” of this or that group. That would be a mistake, because simply reading a wide range of American and world history from somewhere around my 12th birthday I recognized the horrors of inhumane treatment of people (especially minorities), colonization and despotic leaders, leaders of ALL sorts who were laced with character issues to the extent power, control, winning and -their own- prosperity and position were of utmost importance to them.

As an independent voter most of my lifetime, as one who reads a wide range of theology as well as news from ten and more sources daily, and as a serious and needy, imperfect follower of Jesus Christ I am well aware there are times to speak and times to be silent.

Mistakes (I/we have made and will make ’em) or not, in agreement or not, all of us walk in “the light” we have. One of the deep truths of Dr. King’s quote here is of course, the option is to remain in darkness. Darkness is not simply “what THOSE people believe”. It is, foundationally (as is the meaning of “prejudice”) ignorance.

Education that comes from reading the major positions as well as other views on any topic or issue, and for me, prayer, a constant threading of views through my best understanding of the nature of God, the character, teachings, commandments and indeed, love, grace and compassion of Jesus is what motivates me to act -and sometimes remain silent or act in many non-public yet fruitful ways.

What I cannot be is a person of integrity who sits and watches the parade- and I mean on either side of specific issues that I have found in my lifetime are continual, major and often fully denied issues.

A core of those- far more than many wish to admit, is racism. Sexism and ageism are right up on my agenda as well. Treatment of “the other”, folks not like you, or me, not like “us” in whatever group “us” is for you or I, this is a massive and real issue.

Incarceration, in fact the U.S. justice system in it’s deep and systemic flaws, issues that directly affect widows, orphans, the poor and minorities -these I will never stop focusing on.

Treatment of people of color and in particular, by professing Christians is a matter I’ll never stop addressing.

The Good News of Jesus in our application of it ceases to be truly good if we are not first concerned with loving those we proclaim it to.

It’s one thing for unbelievers to purposefully ignore or deny Jesus and His truth, demons are involved (and they are) but it’s another when immature, control-freak believers jockey for “checkmate” in arguing, support political policies that effectively leave minorities in the dust while defending and reinforcing classic white anglo-saxon protestant control  whether directly or via government.

Straight-up, there is in my view ZERO JUSTIFICATION for the way most American governments as well as most white settlers dealt with Native Americans right through our history. Years of injustice leading to poverty and exclusion reap in others what our ancestors have sown and what we now support when injustice is the result of policies. There is ZERO JUSTIFICATION for our long history of same regarding African peoples and other people of color.

If my position disturbs you, or if you cease to respect or be a fan of Glenn Kaiser, Glenn wishes you grace and growth in Christ, because agreement or disagreement with me does not -bluntly put, matter all that much to me.

I’m blessed with a great many friends and of course, also those who consider me their enemy. It seems there are a lot of fans as well as those who never heard of or upon  listening/reading/meeting me could care less or are repulsed. No surprise to me at all!

A military phrase is “As you were.”

Truly, thankfully, Jesus has never left me that option!

My love for Him and passion for my nation and world goes far beyond many WASP norms, so two concluding points:

I do enjoy mentioning that a dear Catholic priest friend is one major reason I follow Jesus from the first of my walk with the Lord until today… and, the first word in protestant is protest. Actual reform starts with me, with you, with US.

I seek to both live as well as speak the truth in love, best as I understand it- even as I protest. This means discomfort for some and comfort to others.

So be it.

As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

SPEND SPEND SPEND

The following are the exact notes of a message I shared at a kind local church last year. As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

SPEND SPEND SPEND glenn kaiser

2 Cor. 12.15 I will gladly spend and be spent for you, for your souls -Paul the apostle

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

WHO? apostle Paul is writing
TO WHOM? the followers of Jesus in Corinth…
ABOUT WHAT IN THIS TEXT? attitudes, sharing financially, Christian maturity, side-notes on false judgment, accusations and Paul’s personal pain as a leader feeling the pain of the mess in a large group of otherwise very blessed people!

Economics, business paradigm: “return on investment”

We often think “sow – reap” period. Only I’d say often a comma or even a few dots are worth considering. Why? Consider with me please-

Jesus “Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over men shall pour it back into your lap” (KJV)

Prosperity gospel? I don’t think so!!

Jehovah Jireh- my Provider

Jesus- your heavenly Father knows your needs before you ask Him, Mt. 6.33 seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” -your needs, food, clothing, housing, etc..

Scripture teaches He gives so we must give, He gives so we can share with others in need, what have we got that God has not provided us? Paul even writes at the opening of this letter that they experienced extreme pains and miseries to the point they were going to be killed by them- and that it happened so in the future they could then help OTHERS make it through the same sort of persecutions and remain loving, faithful witnesses and servants of Jesus Christ! It ain’t about us!!

Ok, so I’m haunted by Matt. 25- food, water, clothing, shelter, then the last 2 things Jesus lists when separating His sheep from the goats: I was sick and you cared for me, in prison and you came to me. Hmmm? Where is this old born-again, Spirit-filled Chicago hippie going with all this?

Love. Serve. Give. GRACE means they didn’t EARN it. If you only love, serve, give of your time, effort, care, material and/or financial investment in people YOU THINK WORTHY… don’t talk about grace because you have taken the so-called “wise, righteous” position -at BEST… as “stewardship”. Perhaps you are thinking you’ve arrived at biblical, holy “stewardship”?

God’s idea of stewardship- even in the Old Testament where we often may think the LAW and judgment of God can seem a tad mean, maybe even harsh, tough… we find cities of Refuge, Years of Jubilee where the nation is COMMANDED BY GOD HIMSELF to give, share, release, be gracious (the poor did not EARN nor MERIT)… with safety in cities, food, and needs for life provided for the poor, for widows and orphans. A mark of Christ’s true sheep, His disciples, His followers is not “praying God will rain down fire” on His enemies but rather grace, mercy and giving, sharing- extending God’s love to enemies as well as the widows, orphans and so on.

See- our human sense is “give ’em what they deserve”. Never forget you and I only deserve hell, separation from God. If we as Christ-followers will not repent of small, fearful, angry, -contrary to the Good News of Jesus- attitudes and actions the “judgment that begins in the house of God” must surely come to weed out the Pharisees among us.

The “least of these” and our treatment of them is our treatment of Jesus.

So Paul is literally spending himself, his time, money, effort, loving concern for the welfare of the souls of one of the most blessed AND… AND… messed-up, immature, selfish and sinful churches… that of Corinth. And they are judging Paul because of their own small hearts and unwillingness to share. His very attitude, sharing, giving, loving nature no doubt causes them personal discomfort and conviction. Therefore if taken far enough, the man through whom most of the New Testament is written by God the Holy Spirit may be considered their enemy! Wow!! Think of it!

“I do not want yours… but YOU”. “I will gladly SPEND and BE SPENT” for you, for your sakes, for your souls!

Church, we can and do scream and howl about our own fears, outrage, politics and the nation is going to hell in a handbasket. When will we- in the practical- love our neighbor as ourselves? When and how shall we proceed in the light of Paul’s incredible heart and giving? Overcome evil with good? Love our enemies (a COMMAND of Jesus)? May you and I learn, truly grow- in the mature spiritual, wise and gracious life that says in both words and kind action toward others: “though poor yet making many rich”.

Jesus didn’t have a home, never owned but one outfit and sandals. He poured out His life, His very blood, He took upon Himself the form of a servant, a bond-slave willingly that we might be saved, inherit eternal life by faith in Him. Paul got it. Do we? May God the Holy Spirit speak to each of you as well as me, in how we must respond to the needs of those around us- with grace, not merely in terms of what they “deserve”! Thank you for listening!

Mid-Jan. 2019 Update

gkalaskacbgdogbroIn booking mode: Prison/Jail and recording dates, some of those are on my personal confirmed calendar and as per usual you can go to the Grrr Records Shows section (see below right on my blog here for links to that and my other related sites) or check here at glennkaiser.com where I always post ’em a month or so before the date. Book-editing going on for me (two of them actually) at the moment. I may facilitate a Christian Recovery meeting series. In process of finishing the ongoing record project, and just went through and further edited lyrics on the one I’ll begin immediately after tracking is done on the first one.

Inspired to build me a couple new d.i.y. 2 and 3 string slide guitars and perhaps a cigarbox uke whenever I can get time to do those.

Looking to get a day in the woods when there’s a bit of a weather break either this month yet or early February depending on Wendi’s needs and other scheduled stuff as per above.

So basically I’m just sittin’ around watching the parade 😉

Again, SUPER THANKS for prayers for Wendi and I, her knee replacement and now rehab progress are going SOOOOO well. Major pain that first month but she’s about to be able to do rehab in the pool starting this next week which she love and does amazing at. She’s walking so much better and little by little able to sleep and sleep in bed rather than recliner. Big breakthroughs, so grateful!

That’s all for now, and as always, thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

Orthodox OR ELSE?

After The Bible I typically go to A.W. Tozer, then to Fenelon (whom I learned about years ago via reading Tozer) and from there to a huge, vast and wide array of writers ancient and contemporary.

In this, one of my several morning devotionals came yet another amazing quote from Tozer I’ll riff on farther down. Interestingly enough, in my own personal study time last night I specifically read through the chapter he quotes… in this a.m.’s devo… hmmmm…

“Instant Christianity is twentieth century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not.” -A.W. Tozer

I so tire of what seem to me foolish, mostly testosterone-laden arguments in social media and elsewhere regarding orthodoxy. That term by the way, in itself is flawed to me due to thousands of years of fighting and in-fighting (sometimes to the blood and death) by people who are so focused on what -they- have determined IS orthodox or not. Of course the question is “Whose ‘orthodoxy’ are we talking about??” We can be so certain it is our own when I suspect Jesus Himself would disagree with us re. some of our deepest-held summations.

Love? Mercy? Justice? “The Golden Rule”? Nahhhh… ORTHODOXY is the claim as we climb up the parapet wall with our weapons, boiling oil and self-righteous assurances that others are heterodox indeed.

Paul writing to the church in Philippi, chapter three of Philippians gives an amazing bit of input to all this. He talks about who he was and what he trusted in prior to trusting in Jesus, and the context of the Christian life being FAR more than “instant” much less without mess!

Phil. 3
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

I am reminded that the term “perfect” in the New Testament typically means “mature, complete” rather than “flawless, absolute.”

That term “attitude” looms large when we talk of doctrine and orthodoxy as it well should!

Ohhh for humility, love, grace toward one another whether we agree or not!

Verse 16 seems to tell us that which we are presently assured of, at least the core and most essential, faith in Jesus Himself for our salvation, THAT is the “standard” and that relationship to Him is the rock upon which we must stand. There is plenty of sand around that rock… and some quicksand as well.

The “iron” must “sharpen the iron”, it is in the community of the saintS, churchES that we learn best. There is so much “bunker” mentality among believers and local churches in our time. We can do better. We must do better.

Depth takes will, commitment, effort and time, often more of these than many wish to give to the Lord and His Church. May we learn to slow down, be quicker to listen, slower to speak and a lot slower to anger! Cheap shots in social media do not work the righteousness of God.

Things to consider perhaps?

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn

Doctrine Vs. Experience Vs. Jesus

I wish to be clear from the start: “contending for the faith” and concern for “sound doctrine” is a clear command and call particularly in the New Testament. I want to be equally clear that “Now I have in part”, “At present WE have in part” means nobody you know, have heard or read including you and I HAS IT ALL FIGURED OUT CORRECTLY.

“We have the mind of Christ” does not fully and completely eliminate mystery and it is mystery that makes a great many Protestants (of which I am one at least in a hybrid sense) often protest!

That is, many of the “love God with all your mind” folk are often as uncomfortable with mystery as those who focus on loving Him with “heart, soul, might” are with hard doctrinal studies and coming to a solid place of position on at least, major teachings of Jesus and the rest of the Word of God.

All this means that there are two large pools of Christians among Protestants in this regard.

An extreme illustration of this might be, say, deeply charismatic/pentecostal believers and/or Catholic or Orthodox (Eastern Church) folk who at times engage in “mystical experience” and may seem to ignore the other pools’ approach, that being fundamentalist or Reform doctrine by which all else is measured as either kosher or bogus.

I’m repeating what I’ve said plenty, but I think the extremists at both ends of both spectrums of the Church need one another and need to grow up. One side fears and runs from “dead letter churchianity” while the other often harshly judges and criticizes all but a very few (typically independent or mega-isolationist) for their “false, [sometimes adding ‘damnable’] doctrines” nearly or actually un-christianizing a major portion of professing Christ-followers world-wide. In simple terms “they aren’t in full agreement with us or our group” and therefore are in league with Babylon, the devil, the world.

Such attitudes and outright neglect of love, grace, mercy and unity have been going on since Cain and Abel, none of this is new or for that matter ought to be surprising though many a fresh, young Christian is confused and struggles upon discovering such enmity in the body of Christ.

Then of course we have people taking sides with their favorite “Paul or Apollos”, lobbing verbal salvos across the divides.

Indeed the first word in Protestant is protest…

Jesus did not come, suffer, die and rise again for His Church to remain babes, neither in doctrine nor spiritual experience with Father/Son/Spirit, but certainly not for us to blow right past “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” -Colossians 3.14

The point of doctrine is love, that is, the relational LOVE of CHRIST: believed, experienced, shared.

The false idea that we are all going to agree with one another on every pinhead of doctrine or experience (be it actual/real or imagined) is itself foolish and immature.

Wisdom is to realize hopefully sooner rather than later, that we are often quite as flawed and petty as those we judge flawed and petty.

Self-righteousness can spill out of the hard, harsh doctrinaire and convinced pond just as it can the “deeper truth/higher light” experiential stream -and both regardless of age, knowledge or experience can and often do lack wisdom and actual love for others.

“Absolutely Correct belief” as well as “Correct experience” in the “WE GOT IT -DOWN-, THE REST OF YOU NEED TO GET WITH IT!!” misses the core element of Jesus’ life and teaching for imperfect but forgiven saints.

If loving God and others -including those you dislike or disagree with- isn’t what Jesus preached, commanded and modeled for His disciples, if this isn’t the very core of both doctrine and experience for the professing believer, I suppose you will have to be satisfied with the soon-to-be-passing-away shell -note shell, not ground- of spiritual correctness and spirituality you’ve planted your flag on.

Be certain of this- Jesus doesn’t share all your beliefs or preferences. I have no illusions He shares all mine either!

When you finally recognize the truth in that, you begin to understand the depth of our need for humility and spiritual growth in both doctrine and experience. You also recognize our continual need for repentance. May God help us mature in HIM!

As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn