Monday, March 05, 2007


Friday was a good day. I have not taken time out in a long while to simply "BE" in solitude. I could really feel myself needing to take the time out to have some quiet, contemplation and conversation with God.

So after a half day at work I headed somewhere pretty close to home- Shelby Park's "Bottoms" area.

The East Bank Greenway, known to locals as Shelby Bottoms is a wonderful gem right in the middle of the East Nashville area. This one-half mile trail adjacent to the football stadium provides great views of the Cumberland river and downtown Nashville. It also features interesting artworks reflecting the industrial history of Nashville on the Cumberland.

After arriving I sat on a bench and started the time with midday prayer from Divine Hours. Then as I walked the greenway trail I stopped every so often and reflected on 2 of the 7 last words of Christ, along with readings from Stanley Hauerwas' book Cross Shattered Christ.

One of the cool features of the park are the native american circles that one finds at different locations on the trail. One of the signs that tells about the circles shares that these circles represent sacred spaces where humans intermingle with the divine. So as I approached one of these circles I found myself walking around in the circle praying one of the phrases from my scripture reading.

We had quite a bit of rain in recently so the river was up and the creek areas of the trail were pretty swampy. The sound of frogs filled the entire trail- it was pretty crazy loud.

As I came to the end of the walk and the end of prayer I ended as I began- with the Divine Hours- saying the Lords Prayer as I walked a prayer circle and then the closing prayer for that day.

Thinking back to Friday I realize how badly I need days like that on a regular basis.

Monday, October 17, 2005

the UpperRoom

Img_4094i spent last tuesday morning at the upperroom. it wasn't planned, i had met with jonathon for our weekly tuesday clowns meeting, but adam or sally couldn't make & jonathon had to leave early. so, after doing morning prayers at alektor i walked over to the upperroom and spent a good hour and half in the chapel & museum.i've been to the ur a number of times, but every time the museum and chapel have been closed for varied reasons. i'm glad this was my first time successfully stopping by. i was all by myself in the chapel staring at this huge wooden picture of last supper. it's a replica of the picture painted by davinci, i am sure many have seen it. one thing i noticed is that there wasn't a chalice and bread.. not sure i've ever cared to notice before, but i suppose i assumed it would be there, guess that is all part of that davinci code junk.
as i sat in silence, i spent time going through the upperroom devotional for the day.

Let Tears Flow
Read Psalm 39

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

A high wall outside of an English village was the first place I saw "weep holes." In various places, small holes were made in the mortar between the stones. Were it not for these holes, the water that collects behind the mortar could build up such pressure that eventually the wall would burst.

I can relate to the need for such holes -- and not just in walls. When family problems began to cause tremendous turmoil, I tried to be strong and control my emotions. As time went on, what I was holding inside only increased my anxiety. Eventually, as I cried out to God in prayer, seeking help and answers, the tears flowed. What a great relief to release the pressure built up inside of me!

In chaotic circumstances, I don't have to be anxious. Even when I can't put my needs and feelings into words, God hears my prayers -- or just the cry of my heart -- and knows what I need. God is willing to meet that need in the right way, at the right time. I can thank and trust God, who guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Carolyn Schemahorn (Missouri, U.S.A.)

Dear God of peace, our trust is in you. Help us to wait patiently for you to answer us in your time and your way. Help us show peace and hope to others. Amen.

i remember being a teen trying to use the upperroom devotionals to keep that daily habit. i saw it as a habit though and i kicked the habit sometime soon after starting. i still, however, have a wonderful appreciation for the devotions. they are timeless.

Img_4113the museum was cool. it was strange mix of cherished pieces of art and Christian artifact mixed in with some things that i could probably buy at a flee market. one of the big deals there are the many nativity sets. i really liked two, the celtic & wooden puzzle ones, probably because of their simplicity.

i checked out the bookstore and picked up some more of the 'classics' and then headed off to the office. no great epiphanies, no solving the worlds problems, but it was a great morning office.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I try and have at least one day of renewal a month. Those who know me well know that I take time out A LOT (shut up Gavin). But I really like a true "day apart" every now and then. So this Friday I had an early meeting with my friend and staff parish liason, Jody, and then I took off West of Nashville.

I ended up at the Narrows of the Harpeth for a time of hiking and prayer. What did I take with me? I packed nothing but my gray hoodie (it was a bit chilly), a northface waist pack (I promise it's cooler than a fannypack), the book of common prayer (my guide for the day) and the book, Living Faithfully: as a prayer book people by John H. Westerhoff (a guide to the book of common prayer).

I had never been to the trails at the Narrows and I was in for a treat.

I began the hike with a short prayer prayer from bcp:
"O give thanks unto the Lord, and call upon his Name; tell the people what things he hath done. Psalm 105:1"; "I was glad when they said unto me, "We will go into the
house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1". I was in awe as I realized that I HAD come to the house of the Lord and it was so beautiful. I was sitting on a picnic table by the Harpeth River realizing that for the first time that week- it was SO quiet.

I hiked for about a mile, a fairly steep hike up onto bluffs overlooking the river. It was gorgeous with an incredible overlook. I found a bluff with the most incredible rock formation. It was perfect as an altar. So I put my prayer book on it and asked God to bless it and the day for me. I then spent the better part of a couple of hours reading and enjoying the sounds of nature around.

It was absolutely amazing.

As I was reading I was greeted by fellow pilgrims on the trail- a mom and her 3 year old daughter out for an afternoon hike. Meagan, the 3 year old plopped down on a rock beside me and began to tell me all about the lunch she and mom were going to have in a few minutes and then about how cool the river was. I listened and secretly thanked God for such wonderful company. After a few moments I left the two for their lunch as I headed back down the bluff.

Next I hiked a different trail and ended up at a very cool waterfall. It was actually a kind of cavern where fresh spring water flowed out of the cavern and then into a large pool. It was pretty incredible. I sat in utter enjoyment watching the water.

Opening the bcp I read the following prayer that seemed so perfect for the moment:
"O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all
things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters,
and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go
forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy
loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and
save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and
women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ
our Lord. Amen." bcp, prayer 40

After that, I headed back towards my car. But before I left I once again sat on the picnic table where I started. I sat and watched a couple fish in the river. They were having so much fun. I asked God to bless their time together and time apart from the hustle and bustle.

I ended my time with this:
"Almighty God, in giving us dominion over things on earth,
you made us fellow workers in your creation: Give us wisdom
and reverence so to use the resources of nature, that no one
may suffer from our abuse of them, and that generations yet
to come may continue to praise you for your bounty; through
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen." bcp, prayer 41

All in all, my pilgrimage was exactly what I had hoped for. I highly recommend The Narrows of the Harpeth as a place to get away for a day.


From exit 188, on I-40 west of Nashville, take TN 249 and follow it 2.3 miles to a T intersection with US 70. Turn left, heading west on US 70 for 2.3 miles to Cedar Hill Road. Turn Right on Cedar Hill Road and follow it 3 miles to the Harris-Street Bridge, which will be on your right. Turn right just before the bridge to a parking area. The trail starts down by the Harpeth River beyond some vehicle barrier boulders.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Stillpoint- a place of hospitality and prayer

A wonderful and peaceful sacred place that I frequent on Thursday afternoons is- Stillpoint. Stillpoint is an ecumenical "house of prayer" and retreat center run by Sister Kathleen Flood, a carmelite nun.

On Thursdays from 12pm-12:30 (or so) Sis. Kathleen holds midday prayer in the carmelite tradition. It is open to anyone, and usually there are about 5 or so us who show up.

There's nothing charismatic, or supernatural about the way we pray together- I can only sum it up by saying that it is peaceful, simple and beautiful.

We read the psalms together, we pray for one another and those we want to remember, we say ancient liturgy and simply hang out together and catch up with what's going on in life. Sometimes Sister Katleen has prepared her amazingly yummy soup, or sometimes we go over to the Alektor for lunch.

If you're in the area on a Thursday- you should definitely drop in and experience monastic hospitality in an urban setting.

"Prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him whom we know loves us." - St Teresa

jonathon norman

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cafe 7:37

i spent some time this weekend @ brentwood united methodist church. they renovated a new youth area in their church last fall and one of the things that came out of that is cafe 7:37. it's part coffee house, part game room, part computer lounge, part lounge lounge. it's really well done, i like the colors and the furnishings they used. best part, as always, they have wireless throughout the whole bottom floor. i would say that this is the best coffee house in brentwood.
cafe 7:37 Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Christ Cathedral Nashville

Christ Cathedral Nashville
Originally uploaded by gavoweb.
if you are into checking out churches then a stop by Christ Church Cathedral is a must. it's got a kicking new organ, regular worship services (i suggest their first friday services), and just some neat architecture. you must check out the book store. it's not about the flash, it's all about content. they have some jems of books and authors that you don't find at your lifeway, family Christian, or cokesbury bookstores. one of the best parts for me is that they have my monastic authors i enjoy, a full henri nouwen collection, and a solid celtic spirituality selection. if you find something you like just take it to the receptionist, she'll ring you up.

the cathedral is seated on broadway across the street from the federal courthouse, just before gaylord entertainment center or the convention center.

ps: if you run into matthew, one of the rectors, pick on him for me and tell him i told you too.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Sacred Place: The Mac Authority

Nashville is still a few months away from having an Apple retail store, but there is a great store for all the Mac lovers out there. The Mac Authority has all the bells and whistles and quick fixes one would need while visiting Music City. They are even good enough to supply many local coffee bars and bagel shops with free wifi for customers. You gotta love that.