Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: liberation

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 »

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 United States of Otherness

Our reading this Sunday came to us from the African American poet and Unitarian Universalist, Adam Lawrence Dyer, from his poem, “We are Jazz.”

I’m not much of a neighborly person. I know it’s a terrible thing to admit. You’ll see me about to step outside only to wait until people go away, keep my interactions to a short nod and smile, and assume the most suspicious plots when a neighbor strikes up a conversation.

I don’t think I have anyone to blame but myself for this behavior. But I did grow up in a rather gossipy neighborhood and I never liked that. On top of it I had a family that was always contrasting ourselves with people that were not “us” – people that were the other. I was reminded constantly of that belief and raised to be wary of anyone that was the other.

Set aside the racist subtext of this upbringing, it was a rather isolated view of the world. Fast forward to present day, we are now a year and a few months in our new home here in Lexington and I still carry some of that same attitude about neighbors – at least the part of being suspicious of them at all times. Read the rest of this entry »