Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: compassion

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 »

Mind the Light

Our reading this Sunday came from the book “Mind the Light” by J. Brent Bill.

There is this great story that comes to us from Loren Eiseley, a well-known anthropologist and natural science writer from the 1950s and 60s. Then again there are many great stories that come to us from him.

He was one of those great luminaries that spoke poetically of the natural world and the universe around us – he gave a mystic and spiritual element to the reality of science.

He was, one might argue, amongst the first religious naturalists – people that feel something they can only describe as being religious when faced with the grandeur of life the wonder of science. This story begins as many great stories begin:

Once upon a time, there was a man who used to go to the ocean to wander, wonder, write, and simply think about life. He was the philosophical type, always musing this or that quandary, and he thought of himself as being wise, well learned, and alone in his way of thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to the Resistance

Our reading from this Sunday was titled “Good Bones” from the poet Maggie Smith.

On Friday, January 20th, the year 2017, around noon, Eastern Standard Time, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America.  He had never held elected office once in his life.  He is known primarily as a reality television star and real estate mogul.

And he defied all odds and was elected on a platform of nationalist populism.  A nationalism that has been sweeping democracies from the Philippines to India, from France to the United Kingdom.  A nationalism we should be paying attention to here and abroad.

And for us, in this country, a nationalism that was unapologetically misogynistic, irrational, xenophobic, racist, isolationist, anti-fact, and downright nasty.  Should those words surprise you, I assure you my judgements of President Trump’s nationalism are taken directly from his own words, his own platform, and now his official Presidential agenda.  He is now here to stay.  For how long, we do not know.  He is our President.  And we are his employers. Read the rest of this entry »