Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: chicago

The Corner of Fourth and Walnut

Our reading this Sunday came to us from the book, “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystanders,” by the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, concerning his revelation at the corner of Fourth and Walnut in Louisville, KY.

There is something fantastic and yet mundane at the same time about the spiritual life. People have long thought about the depth of our inner world and how it relates to the grand scheme of life and all existence.

And yet, the greatest pieces of spiritual wisdom, in my opinion, are not the stories of saviors, creation, or Armageddon – but the simpler moments of routine living. Whether we ultimately identify those moments as spiritual or practical, I’ll leave that to the linguists.

But for me, as a minister, they are in the very least transcendent – teaching moments – unexpected – and harbingers of wisdom. I suspect we all long for those moments. We know what they are. Those unexpected glimpses of wonder with each passing day.

They come to us when we are stirring cream into our coffee, meet eyes with a stranger, or pause to behold the beauty of, yes, the world, but also the single moment we find ourselves in. I remember one such moment for myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Owning the Story – Gathering of the Waters

There is a moment, no matter where I am, that brings me great joy.  It’s something that causes me to sigh in familiarity, proclaim with joy, point at it frantically if I am with other people, sometimes scaring them, sometimes making them wonder what on earth is wrong with me.

It’s one of those simple spiritual moments in a life, nothing extravagant, nothing earth shattering.  But every time I see a decal on someone’s car or hat or clothing for the Chicago White Sox – there is this “Aha!” – a piece of home moment.

That baseball team is so much a part of my personal and familial story.  It goes bone deep…and not just because they are the best baseball team to ever exist.  But you know what I mean – there are things, images, and moments that remind you of where you’ve come from, where you’re going, and what part of your story is still with you and always will be. Read the rest of this entry »

Way Too Many Choices For The Story

Upon moving to any new place – specifically a new state – I’m sure the first impulse of anyone is to run and get their license plates changed.  It certainly isn’t my motivation, but last year it had a little bit of excitement as I was eager to be branded as a resident of Kentucky and lose my New England license plates – and all of the weird questions that came with them every time someone saw them.

The joys of moving to a new place and taking up a small piece of that new identity awaiting you – it can be exhilarating, even if it involves bureaucracy.  There is something fascinating about any county clerk or department of motor vehicles office where you stand in line and wait, wait, perhaps get yelled at, and wait some more.

Sometimes there might be awkward chatter with the people near you, all of you agreeing that this is indeed the longest you’ve ever had to wait.  My own experience has been the same.  Every time in Chicago, I felt like if only I slid an extra 20 dollar bill across the desk, I’d be taken care of immediately. Read the rest of this entry »