Sermons & Other Thoughts from Rev. Brian Chenowith

Tag: Martin Luther King Jr.

Easter People in A Good Friday World

Our reading for this Sunday came to us from the poet Jan Richardson, titled, “The Art of Enduring, for Holy Saturday.”  The opening story of this sermon was adapted from Rev. Michael McGee.

I’ve been told that once upon a time a group of friends of various religious denominations were seated in fellowship discussing the true meaning of Easter one Sunday.  Someone chimed in: “I believe we place too much emphasis on chocolate bunnies, colored rabbits and Easter eggs instead of the spiritual aspects, which is the real meaning of Easter. That’s what I believe,” said the Baptist.

“Me too,” said the Methodist. “Me too,” said the Lutheran. “Me too,” said the Catholic. “Me too,” said the Nazarene. –And the Unitarian Universalist was silent.

“I believe the real meaning of Easter is that Christ died on the Cross for our sins,” said the Methodist. “Me too,” said the Nazarene. “Me too,” said the Lutheran. “Me too,” said the Baptist. “Me too,” said the Lutheran. –And the Unitarian Universalist was silent.
“I believe the real meaning of Easter is the triumph of Jesus over the Grave,” said the Lutheran. “Me too,” said the Catholic. “Me too,” said the Nazarene. “Me too,” said the Baptist. “Me too,” said the Methodist. –And the Unitarian Universalist was silent. Read the rest of this entry »

The Silence of Injustice

Our reading today is titled, “The Spine” by Joseph G. Anthony

The masseuse can’t really find
the pressure point.
He runs his fingers up and down the spine
of Appalachia, but it’s all stressed.
Bony ribs and shoulders blades are grimy dark;
coal black though the man’s not black.
Just been underground a long, long time.
He tries lye soap to get him clean,
but it just peels the skin and leaves the stain unmarked.
Decades away from sun.
Some dirt is never done.
He scrubs away till finally pink blood seeps
through seams of gray.
He presses down, down, down,
on the poor white man whose backbone’s bent
beneath the weight of all that hate.
The man yells out in pain.
Oh, Jesus, sweet
Jesus, won’t nothing straighten
this spine
again?

In the late 1990s, a south side Chicago kid by the name of Christian Picciolini opened a record shop in the suburbs. The store offered the music you would expect — blues, rap, rock, heavy metal, folk, jazz, and so on and so forth. The combined sales of all this music only equaled 25 percent of his sales each year.

The other 75 percent was due to one of the largest collections of white power music in, not just the Midwest, but the country. By the time Mr. Picciolini opened his record store, he was already immersed in the world of the first and largest neo-Nazi skinhead gang in the Blue Island suburb of Chicago.

He was fourteen years old when he handed his life over to fear, hatred, and violence. Combined with his successful record store and his early involvement in the rebirth of this movement, there was a ruthlessness, a hatred that filled his eyes and passed through his lungs, that makes him a well-respected leader in the white power movement in our country. Read the rest of this entry »