Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: Democracy

To Be Hopeless Would Seem So Strange

Our reading from this Sunday was the poem, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” by the Polish poet, Adam Zagajewski.

Where were you when you found out?  Seems like an odd thing to be asking today.  I was sitting at home, well into the evening, watching a channel I’ve watched nearly every day since the primary season began – it was becoming a problem.

My partner and I were watching and suddenly one of the more unabashedly liberal anchors, Chris Matthews, looked at the camera and his face sunk.  Completely sunk.  And then the camera cut away and cut back and he was gone.
The other anchors filled in the space.  I asked my partner how he was doing and he said, “I’m getting scared.”  Me, too.  It was a fear that many people were feeling for their own reasons.  It was a fear that is still very real.

Where were you when you learned the news that a reality TV star – amongst many other things – would become our next president?  Were you watching TV as well, at an election party, or blissfully asleep with the news waiting for you the next day?

Wherever you were, this is indeed turning into one of those moments in our history – at least for progressives.  We will all know where we were years from now when it sunk in.  We will likely remember the week that followed, not for any additional shock to our system, but it’ll be remembered as a week of crying, anger, denial, or – if you were like me, walking around feeling empty. Read the rest of this entry »

The Unpopular Principle

Our reading this Sunday was an excerpt from the book, “Healing the Heart of Democracy,” by Parker Palmer.

This is how the story always goes.  Unitarian Universalist congregations often hold Intro to UU classes for newcomers, visitors, and those wanting to know more about us.  They cover everything you’d expect about our peculiar faith tradition.

Some of our long history, our love of committees and discussions, our self-deprecating humor, and, of course, our seven principles and six sources of faith.  There will be ice breakers, members of the membership team present, usually the minister, and whoever just wants to know more.

As someone that has served two churches before this one as a minister-in-formation, I was usually tasked with leading these introductory courses.  Almost every time, no matter what we did, after the evaluation forms were handed back in, there would always be one person that said we had way too much history in our presentation and another, in the same group, that said there wasn’t enough. Read the rest of this entry »