Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: diversity

Their Lives Still Matter

Our reading today comes to us from the poet, Audette Fulbright Fulson, titled “We Are Not Done.

I’m often considered a rather aggressive driver.  It comes as a shock to many, outside of my general sarcastic nature, and sometimes boisterousness, most people assume I’m rather quiet, reserved, and calm.

This is not true when I’m in a car, though I assure you I’ve calmed down significantly in the past two years.  But know this bit about me, it wouldn’t surprise you that I’ve received traffic tickets a couple times in the past.  Until my dying day, I will dispute all of them.

Sadly no one cares about such protests, and honestly it doesn’t really matter to me much anyway.  Except for one.  There is one instance of me getting a ticket that I will never forget.

It was in college sometime, back when I drove a temperamental Ford Focus – it was an awful shade of beige because that model was the cheapest, I think they called it Burnt Nevada or something like that.  Anyway, a carful of theology students were driving back to campus after visiting a Mennonite church on Sunday.

This is how theology students had a good time in college – we went to church.  We were talking about god-knows-what, and sitting in traffic, barely moving, and suddenly a song popped on the radio that caused my friend Jessica to shout out, “Oh my god!  It’s my song!” Read the rest of this entry »

The Work Continues

I come from a family of lifelong South Side Chicagoans — it’s something I’ve mentioned before and sort of a point of pride. It is a culture I adore. I love the neighborhoods, I love the accent — though mine has long since faded, I love the rough around the edges demeanor of the people.

There is a harshness to them that is still approachable and you know where you stand with them even when you’re not asking for their feedback. They are a people that speak volumes with just their facial expressions. There is also a deep territorial streak to South Side culture. You speculate about strangers, you wonder what they want, why they are bothering you, and what are they doing in your neighborhood?

As is the case with any neighborhood there were great pilgrimages to other parts of Chicago where these South Side families picked up their livelihoods and culture and plopped them down in the places to which they journeyed — in my case, my family settled in the western suburbs of Chicago.

I grew up confused by people that liked the Chicago Cubs, had a deep appreciation for Mayor Daley, and yes, I was taught that the name of our ballpark was always going to be Comiskey no matter what the sign said. But also, too, I grew up with that insular nature — that hostility toward outsiders. Read the rest of this entry »