Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: diwali

That Which Inspires

Our reading for this Sunday was the poem, “One Song,” by Rumi.

The city of Konya, in Turkey, sits just outside of the center of the vast country. It’s not easy to get to, and it is closer to Aleppo, Syria than it is to Istanbul. The latter, of course, is a massive sprawling metropolis sitting on two continents.

It is a perfect mix of old and new – ancient temples with new structures built right on top of them. The bosphorous river cuts through the city, marking the official beginning and end of the European and Asian continents in that region.

It is something to take in the enormity that is Istanbul – the culture, the history, the religions, and the people moving like waves every single hour of the day. Konya is a whole different story altogether. After flying in a small plane over the great emptiness that is central Turkey, and surviving the landing of a Turkish plane, you drive for what feels like days.

Days through the Anatolian steppes, which feel and look like deserts but most certainly are not. Days through ancient monasteries carved into mountainsides and days with a massive black cloud of smog coming closer and closer in to view as Konya approaches. The ride is probably just a few hours, but the landscape and peculiarities of the place make it stretch and stretch.

As you enter the city of Konya hiding behind the smog, you are immediately struck with just how different a place it is than Istanbul. It feels…suburban. It feels small but large at the same time. It feels like the Lexington, Kentucky of Turkey. Though we don’t have a giant smog cloud hanging overhead. Read the rest of this entry »

A Promising Fire

One of the first books I ever bought on religion as a child was not a Bible, not a picture book, it was this book. The Bhagavad Gita. Perhaps the colorful cover lured me in, perhaps there was a calling to its poetry and words that I did not know yet — sometimes life tells us who we are before we even know it fully.

This book did not sit and collect dust, it was not forgotten, it was a serious investment. I read it cover to cover. Then I read it cover to cover again, jotting down passages and putting brackets around phrases to go back to. I poured over this epic story, which was quite challenging for me to read at the time, and was enchanted by its words.

From that point on I was hooked on Hinduism. The imagery, the stories, the music, the language, the many gods and goddesses, and the celebrations — I couldn’t get enough. I suspect I drove my Hindu friends at school nuts then. I was this little scrawny red head asking constantly about their culture and religion. But that enchantment continues to this day. Read the rest of this entry »