Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: discernment

Get Outside of the Box

After a busy April led into a May full of surprises, I am finally able to catch up in posting.  Thank you for your patience. -Rev. Brian

Our reading for this Sunday came to us from the poet Noel Coward, titled, “Nothing is Lost.”  The sermon also began with a retelling of a fable by Edwin Friedman, titled, “The Power of Belief.”

When have you been the man insisting he was dead when all evidence was to the contrary?  When have you thought one thing so assuredly in your life despite what those around you were saying, what the world was showing you, and what life was presenting to you no matter where you turned?

I know many of us have been there.  So sure of one thing, so sure of what our reality must be, that we have shackled our thoughts and buried the longings of our heart.  I’ve been there.  I’ve been there for the big moments of my life and I’ve been there for the smaller unnoticeable ones.  My journey to ministry is one of the prime examples.

It’s such a standard experience for us ministers, we learn to tell it over and over again.  But my own journey was primarily one of resistance.  Again and again the call came and again and again I fled.

But unlike many of my colleagues, I did not flee for a lifetime, only a small portion of one.  How about you?  What callings, what beliefs, what states of being have you either fled or clung to?  What are the ones you can think of this very moment? Read the rest of this entry »

Journey Into Darkness

Our reading this Sunday was titled, “Potbound” by the poet Diana Chapman Walsh.

It was the usual atmosphere you’d expect from a conference.  A large room with too much air conditioning, bright fluorescent lights, and people easing in to their seats – a few people scurrying across the room to say hello to people they know, but most sitting and looking around, wondering what they got themselves into.

In this instance, it was a room of about 90 clergy, 8 religious educators, a radical Mormon mother, and a secular Dutch teacher that mistranslated the information about the workshop and was probably wondering what the heck she was doing in a room with mostly clergy.

The lights dimmed, soft music began to be played, some people started singing some sort of song, and once that was all done, the lead presenter jumped up to the front and center enthusiastically.  With a massive grin and a very gentle but resonate voice, he welcomed us.  He again welcomed us.  He welcomed us again and again, looking at as many of us as possible.

A colleague of mine turned to me and said, “This is going to be one of those self-improvement things, isn’t it?”  I nodded.  She sighed.  Indeed it was.  One presenter after another that morning glowed about what awaited us, they enunciated their syllables with frightening clarity, and spoke in a gentle lulling tone with a pace that let each word stand out. Anyone that has ever attended a corporate team building seminar, a workshop on empowerment, or anything that even has a hint of being what some call “new age” knows what this looks like. Read the rest of this entry »