Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Blog Classic . . . I wrote this last summer before Matt and Wade held my hand and walked me through the technology of adding comments. Now that we have a sort of blog community forming . . . well, please, jump in here and tell us about your sacred places. Last night in "Peak of the Week," Randy Halstead spoke about "sacred places." That resonated with me, especially since I'd written about one sacred place in Monday's journal. But I got to thinking about other sacred places in my life: Green Valley Bible Camp (where I went every year as a kid), Glen Eyrie (a retreat center in Colorado Springs), Serra Retreat Center in Malibu (where I like to go pray and walk the stations of the cross), Megan's grave, Highland's sanctuary, and the dining room at Darryl and Anne Tippens's old house. Now our covenant group rotates homes, but for a few years, we always met there since their kids were raised. It was/is a place of joy, of prayer, of hope, of grief, and of connecting. Now I'm wondering . . . What sacred places do you have in your life?


  • I love thinking about this. My sacred places include:
    --the glassed in back porch at my parents' former home in Abilene
    --my father's grave (it's a far away from here and I don't get to visit as often as I want)
    --Jeannette Lipford's old office at ACU
    --The Otter Creek sanctuary
    --Camp Bluehaven in New Mexico
    --Gethsemane--a silent monestary in Kentucky
    --sitting at the piano

    By Blogger Brandon Scott, at 7/01/2004 09:04:00 AM  

  • The bluff at Crowley's Ridge Youth Camp -- and my 5:00 a.m. hike to it.

    Camp in general; it's a holy week for me, seeing the work of God in the lives of the campers week to week and year to year.

    Sycamore View

    The flat rail of the farthest balcony of Pattie Cobb.

    Long drives. (I don't see well; driving has really increased my prayer life...)

    My reading corner.

    The woods behind my mother's house.

    I know that "where two are more are gathered," God's in the midst of them. But most of my sacred places are solitary spots -- places where I can have some "alone time" with God. The verses that talk about Jesus going out early in the morning or withdrawing to a solitary place to pray resonate deeply with me.

    Some of them I probably won't see again apart from memory; some I visit as often as possible. Some (like camp) are calendrically restricted, which makes me appreciate them all the more while they're available.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 09:21:00 AM  

  • the church library at the church outside Chicago where I grew up was the kind of place C.S. Lewis' wardrobe would fit nicely. that was always a magical and sacred place.

    the chapel at the Sunset Ridge church where I did my first work in ministry has the most in tact Tiffany stained glass of anywhere in the U.S. when the sun rises and hits the glass waterfall, it starts to move. amazing sight.

    the family room of every house my family has ever lived in. a place to pray and share and challenge and encourage.

    the dining room of our family friends, the gripshovers. the place my brother and i sat and reconciled after a decade of not speaking.

    Cullen Auditorium at ACU. the place where i first met my wife. the place where i proposed.

    By Blogger chrismith, at 7/01/2004 09:53:00 AM  

  • the bluff that overlooks the ocean where I sit and read every morning

    the living room of our old house in which we solidified the friendships that will remain even though we just moved 2000 miles away

    By Blogger Joe Cook, at 7/01/2004 10:09:00 AM  

  • The church parking lot on the (only) hill in San Angelo that overlooks the neighborhood where I grew up..

    The river shore of Camp Bandina where I went to church camp all my growing up years...

    The cemetery in Abilene where the bodies my paternal grandparents, my friend Deanne, and my little charge/friend Meagan lie ...I know they are not there, but I talk to all of them when I am there...

    The backyard of my parents last house in Angelo where under a star filled sky the guy I am now married to first kissed me ….

    My grandparents pecan tree canopied back yard in Coleman…

    The Quiet rooms in the ACU Business and Bible buildings where I cried thousands of tears, prayed countless prayers, and let God figure out my life…

    The library at the Eastliegh church in Kenya that looks out over a slum …

    The Live Oak tree that over hears my prayers, praises, sobs, and laughter almost weekly …

    ….And in some small way, these blogs, where I see the hearts and minds of Christian men and women laid out as a witness to our Father God.

    By Blogger SG, at 7/01/2004 10:41:00 AM  

  • From latest working backwards;

    Highland sanctuary during Oasis service

    Watching the West Texas sky as a storm approaches, comes upon us, then blows on by, reminding me of the power of Almighty God, as well as His gentle grace and love.

    Scott Memorial Church's sanctuary as our small prayer group met, some prostrate face down, others kneeling, and hobblers like me with head bowed in mutual verbal prayer- knowing with certainty the presence of God's Spirit.

    The quiet beauty around my husband's grave at Ft. Rosecrans Military Cemetary overlooking the San Diego Bay, thanking God that Mitchell and my beloved mother-in-law are with Him.

    Big Sur on the northern California coastline. Walking among the silent, peaceful tall pines that seem to lift hands to the heavens.

    National Cathedral in Mexico City with centuries-worn tiles and leaning columns - a quiet haven for meditation in the midst of the hub-bub of a city of 23 million residents where prayers for those that don't know God seem even more poignant and urgent.

    At home in the hugs of dear friends, listening to their prayers, when the world's pressures seem to push me too far.

    Anywhere my kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/01/2004 11:05:00 AM  

  • Combining Q's and SG's thoughts... Crowley's Ridge Youth Camp, where I met and kissed the woman to whom I'm happily married. (Q, are you old-school, pre-air-conditioning CRYC, or are you one of those who've never slept in the ol' green cabins? Your salvation may hinge on your answer.)

    The old, outdoor baptistry at Pine Knot(t) Church of Christ. The cemetery there also qualifies.

    My grandparents' farm, now owned by a friend of the family.

    My parents' house, where my son's discoveries open a door to memories of my own childhood.

    The Tulsa fairgrounds.

    The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.

    And, for an entirely different definition of sacred, Busch Stadium.

    By Blogger Terry Austin, at 7/01/2004 11:14:00 AM  

  • *The big open field in the middle of Camp Wiregrass in deep south Alabama. It's one dumpy place, but boy howdy, does God ever live there!

    *A cabin in the mountains somewhere between Pine and Conifer, Colorado. My wife & I attended the most moving worship service I've ever experienced on its back deck. We were the only two in attendance, I might add. We sang loudly, cried and prayed for two hours as we looked down the mountainside.

    *My maternal grandmother's house out in the country near Wildwood, Florida. That giant live oak tree in the front yard reminds me of everything I loved about my family and my childhood. Ditto for the tiny house on 207 Wood Street in Summerville, Georgia -- the home of my paternal grandmother.

    *The I-75 exit at Locust Grove, Georgia. (You know, the one with the big outlet mall!) We met a four week little boy near there that we adopted as our son about two weeks later back in 1998. I never drive pass that exit without thanking God!

    *The backstreets of Cozumel, Mexico (not the tourist section); the drive between San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico; Rancho el Paraiso near San Esteban, Honduras; the streets of Brno, Czech Republic. Each of these mission points have been used by God to transform me in ways I could never measure or empirically verify.

    *My children's bedrooms.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/01/2004 11:22:00 AM  

  • Are you kidding me? I was a proud resident and later counselor of girls' cabin 6: the Swamp. (I think it probably still floods spontaneously.)

    The new "cabins" kind of bum me out. And I have to laugh when the girls complain. Personally, I think they're missing out. They don't seem to see it that way, though.

    Seriously, some of my fondest memories of CRYC are attached to those green cabins. And I absolutely deny writing on the bottom of the top bunk closest to the front door on the left.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 11:26:00 AM  

  • First thought - the pavillion at Tulsa Workshop, hands down. Next, the Texas Hill country, the old, open pavillion at Camp Bandina, a tiny cabin in Estes Park, Colorado, and my mamaw's house in Alice, Texas. Thanks, Mike, for bringing these to my mind. Amy

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/01/2004 11:45:00 AM  

  • The sanctuary of the Woodmont Hills Church during Zoe Conferences.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/01/2004 11:50:00 AM  

  • Fry Bible Camp on the Frio River.

    Pecos River Encampment

    Abilene State Park where my husband proposed to me.

    My hammock underlooking our fruitless mulberry tree in the back yard.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/01/2004 11:54:00 AM  

  • I know this may be hard to believe, but my most sacred place, that I have to escape to from time to time, is by myself in my car. I love to crank up some praise and worship music and sing my heart out. If the weather is right, I'll open the sun-roof (now that I have one) and enjoy the breeze.

    It's not the specific vehicle that I own now, but rather has always been in my car.

    I've cried, I've laughed, I've prayed, I've sung. It's a holy place of worship for me, even in Atlanta traffic. I love to be with people, but some times of frustration have been when I was planning on a road trip by myself, in my sacred place, and then somone needed a ride.

    I also have camp, playground, house sacred places back in AL. I'm also in the market for a new "sacred place" here in ATL. But in my brief 30 years, no place has ever brought peace to me more than my car, riding with the Lord.

    By Blogger Jon, at 7/01/2004 11:57:00 AM  

  • Sacred places...
    Drving down a country road as the sun is setting and watching where I'm going and where I've been, the colors in the rear view mirror and knowing that it's ok to stop and just thank God for that moment.
    The smell of my old red suitcase full of pictures, letters, cards, drawings, and memories of my childhood. Forget baby books w/ four children, we had suitcases!
    Sitting in a rocking chair on the deck at Short Mountain Bible Camp in Woodbury, TN and just feeling.
    The sound of my nieces and nephew playing, running, laughing and even crying.
    My Mema's kitchen. My Gran's bedroom.
    Sitting with my husband and having a good laugh.
    Memories of my dear mother before she got sick and passed (almost 15 years now).
    Dreams of future children running around, laughing, screaming and even crying...

    By Blogger Mae, at 7/01/2004 12:02:00 PM  

  • I amused by how many of us share the same "sacred places." Maybe that's because so many of us, in essence, grew up in the same family. :) I'll add a few more of my own:

    Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains, TN (one of the neatest memories I have as a small kid was our congregation's yearly bicycle ride around the cove one Saturday morning each October)

    "B" Rock, Camp Wyldewood, Searcy, AR (too many devos there to count!)

    North Central Church of Christ sanctuary, Bloomington, Indiana

    Heroes Garden, Drescher Graduate campus, Pepperdine U.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/01/2004 12:11:00 PM  

  • I just thought I'd say that this post has inspired a wonderful conversation with some friends of mine. Thanks, Mike.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 01:02:00 PM  

  • The Riverview Cemetary outside Buffalo, MO where part of my heritage is honored and memroies are recalled.

    The old chapel at Camp Blue Haven outside Las Vegas where I first laid eyes on my bride.

    The homes of the Stumpff and McBride families wherein I felt safe surrounded by surrogate families after the death of my mom.

    The Durrington farm outside Buffalo, MO where I went to live during the summers and where a piece of me will always stay.

    The Safe Place at the Bowen Ranch near Blackwell, TX where the generosity of a great guy and a great God are honored every Good Friday with an outdoor worship service.

    Camp Skyridge, which after wildfires in the Lincoln National Forest exists only in the hearts of those who enjoyed family camps there like I did as a young-un enjoying communion with God and time with family and yielding still-present memories of my mom and sister.

    Mayberry. Enough said.

    While it is obvious that people and events made these places special, solitary time spent there allows the memories to return so we can visit those places again. I don't know who said it, but I like this quote.

    "A young boy on a farm looks up at a passing plane and dreams of faraway places. A passenger on the plane looks down on the farm and dreams of home." I'm not sure how, but I think it somehow relates.

    By Blogger Val, at 7/01/2004 01:38:00 PM  

  • Sacred places...

    Riding my bike on hwy 380. (Jon, if I lived in Atlanta, it might be my car instead of my bike)

    The backyard of the house where I lived in Virginia.

    Yosemite, Ocean City, MD, Mustang Island

    My dad's grave

    Any place with my kids or grandkids (Yes, Kathy, aren't they grand!)

    The glassed in porch at the house where I stay in Abilene (Brandon, could it be the same house? Probably not.)

    My piano (Sorry Brandon, I really didn't steal this one from you, too)

    Hallmark channel at 7 pm -- I really love those "Touched By An Angel" reruns.

    Lying on my trampoline on a star-studded night.

    And yes, Kathy, I too love those West Texas thunderstorms.

    A Thomas Kinkaide art gallery at the Galleria in Houston.

    My school office in the early moments of the day.

    The first house that my husband ever built.

    The Highland auditorium on Sunday mornings.

    Any place I go with my dearest friend and mentor, whom I wish I could see more often.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 02:38:00 PM  

  • A Certain piece of drift wood on the beach at Ft.Morgan

    My deck overlooking the lake on a windy, stormy day.

    The middle of the lake during sunset.

    Any place with my "prayer" group, praying. This is where and when I feel the Spirit moving me the most.

    By Blogger DJG, at 7/01/2004 03:21:00 PM  

  • A grey rock, large enough for me to stretch out on, in the middle of a babbling, bubbling creek on the edge of the property at my grandparents' old house. I used to sit there and read when I'd visit with them in the summers.

    The sewer manhole cover in the frontyard of the house where I grew up. I used to stand on it and sing at the top of my lungs, usually "The Sound of Music". It was a hilly yard.

    The late-night bonfire at Valley View Camp (Tennessee) every year when I was a kid.

    The piano, definitely the piano, any piano that's in reasonably good tune. When I'd had a bad day, my parents would banish me to the piano until I felt better. And it always worked.

    My childrens' rooms, when my husband and I silently, lovingly watch them breathe as they sleep.

    BST's office. He doesn't know that I hide there when I need to, like last Father's Day I went in there to play the piano during church -- first Father's Day since my dad died, had to play to deal with the emotion. And I've hidden there several other times as well -- silence is elusive in my life, and I can find it there during church services.

    By Blogger Clarissa, at 7/01/2004 05:43:00 PM  

  • I mentioned the woods in the back yard at my mother's house where I sometimes go alone to think and pray. But the front yard is far more sacred. It's holy ground.

    My younger brother and I became allies and best friends when our parents divorced. Midnight, to escape the tension, I went outside. He'd had the same idea. We walked at a furious pace, side by side and silent under the stars. When we stopped, the simple front yard became a place of covenant. Secrets had destroyed our parents' marriage and the friendship between them. Over the next hours, we spilled every secret we'd kept and swore there'd be no more. There isn't a pillar or an altar erected to commemorate it. But we remember.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/01/2004 07:14:00 PM  

  • Quiara,

    My eyes are raining tears so that I can barely see to type. My parents also divorced. What you and your brother did together was very touching.

    I wonder how many relationships could be saved if secrets were disolved.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 08:00:00 PM  

  • Wow, this is amazing! We are truly family...we have shared the same house...
    So many sacred places for so many different reasons...
    Camp WaMaVa:the kitchen surrounded by friends while we prepare food and sing and tell stories, the chapel in the woods alone and wrestling with God, the girls bathroom between girls cabins A and B(in the old barrack cabins with all the mice), the deck of Paradise singing with my husband, in the living room of Paradise singing with lots of friends...if you have been to any of these places you will understand.
    The auditorium of the Woodmont Hills church during Zoe...the faces of Zoe leading us in worship, old friendships renewed, the whole process of seeking God honestly with our hearts and with our intellect...powerful.
    Annapolis and Ellicott City...just wandering alone or with a close friend.

    By Blogger julie, at 7/01/2004 08:21:00 PM  

  • Of course, WaMaVa opens up a whole list all by itself. There's the initial tree where Jim carved our initials; the kitchen where I helped cook every summer I was on junior staff; yes, the chapel in the woods is a big one for me, too. The horse barn; The jogging trails around the camp, the streams, the lake and the boat (I can recall many a time I got in the boat and rowed to the middle of the lake when I was on junior staff and off-duty); the hill with the 3 crosses; the Shenandoah River which we hiked to 5 miles away; Julie, I am glad there is someone else on this blog who can share WaMaVa.

    By Blogger Serena Voss, at 7/01/2004 08:52:00 PM  

  • The overlook at the base of the theme tower at Pepperdine in Malibu. I prayed there many times when I was a student, and have gone back there just about every year when I'm at the Lectures.

    The kitchen table at my grandparents' house in San Deigo. Lots of meals shared, crosswords worked, games played, and wisdom offered there over the years.

    Any beach with relatively few people and crashing waves. God speaks to me at the beach. (He doesn't have a surfer dude accent, just so you know.)

    By Blogger Tim Castle, at 7/01/2004 10:19:00 PM  

  • Sacred Places for me are:
    -Vacation with my family
    -Shannon Clark

    By Blogger Robyn, at 7/02/2004 06:55:00 AM  

  • Mike, would this material not be wonderful to publish to share with everybody?!?! Just trying to think of a way for others to be blessed by these wonderful memories, thoughts, and deep truths. Be sure to send everybody their royalty check when you get compensated!

    Some of my sacred places are dittos ("Hoyts" for you Searcy folks) of places mentioned above. I met Jan at Camp Wyldewood in the fourth grade. I baptized one of my best friends, Mike Mitchell, there in the "New" pool when we were in the 6th grade. The front porch of Dr. Tom and Anita Drinnen's house up-country in Liberia.
    The front porch swing at our house in Monrovia where you could see the ocean in the distance and hear it at night when the tide was coming in. The upstaris auditorium in the old Germantown c of C there on Poplar. Salido Creek at Camp Tahkodah where both of my most precious possessions were baptized. The upstairs family room at Phil and Judy Hoggard's house where our "Men's Accountability" group met for so many years. We shared plenty of laughs, prayers, tears, and encouraging words up in that blessed place. Any playing field where my boys played ball. Yes, many prayers have been lifted up in those locations.....not for victories, but for them to be light and salt and to stay away from injury. My mom's kitchen. The living room in my Mom and Dad's house while he and I are watching Alabama play football. Grandaddy and Grandmomma Lawyer's fireplace. Smothers Theatre at Pepperdine. The bell tower at Harding where I first mentioned to Jan that I wanted her for my soul mate for the rest of my life. Sitting in any fishing boat catching Crappie. My bedroom in Nigeria at night while I listened to the young men who were in the preacher training school sing at their nightly devotionals. Any place where there is a group of Africans singing. Any place I am if Craig Jones is there. My car when I am traveling listening to tapes or CDs of my favorite speakers or preachers. Any place where I can be with Basenji dogs. And the MOST SACRED place I cherish is ANY place where I am with my family, knowing the Father has blessed me WAY beyond my wildest imagination!

    By Blogger David U, at 7/02/2004 06:58:00 AM  

  • My dear friends, Julie is right. We have, to some extent, shared the same house. I'm reminded that God built us for relationship--with himself and with others. Our sacred places are those spots where those relationships have been fed and nourished. May our gracious God continue to provide you (us) with sacred places of joy and intimacy.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/02/2004 06:58:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Tim! As a recent transplant from San Diego to Abilene, I was beginning to feel a bit left out with noone to share my memories with re. California. The San Luis Obispo mission with its almost imbeded aroma of incense after nearly three centuries of use; Ocean Beach cliffs and rocks extending into the surf where I have spent many an hour in prayer, including hours of crying with God during my younger years; traveling highway One from Morro Bay to Carmel being overwhelmed with the beauty of God's gifts to us. So many wonderful sacred places in memory.

    Bless you, Mike for prodding us into 'count your blessings' memories wshere God has been praised and worshipped.

    By Blogger Kathy, at 7/02/2004 07:01:00 AM  

  • Sorry my VBS list got stuck on my comments:

    My Sacred Places are:
    -Vacation with my family
    -The Highland Nursery
    -The dinner table with friends
    -The Outer Banks
    -Long fellowships with my Life Team
    -Cafe Provencal with my husband
    -The snuggle time right before my kids' bedtimes
    -A meal at Grandma's
    -Coffee with Clem or Karene
    -Swimming with mom and dad
    -Late night singing at the Pepperdine Lectures
    -Lunch with Linda, Susan, Betty and the Other Susan
    -Breakfast when Paul cooks
    -Psalms and prayer time at FaithWorks

    By Blogger Robyn, at 7/02/2004 07:03:00 AM  

  • My list (in no particular order):
    - Camp Wiregrass (As Matt said, it's a dump, but a blessed dump.
    - The dinning room table at Glen and Phyliss Hill's house in Nashville.
    - The Chapel on the Hill, ACU.
    - The Quiet Place, ACU.
    - The parking lot of Woodmont Hills, where I first kissed my wife (then Girlfriend) and we first said "I love you." Awwww.
    - The roof of the Central Church of Christ in Downtown Nashville.
    - The sanctuary of Vaughn Park Church of Christ, Montgomery, AL.
    - The beach in Destin, FL.
    - The offices of Mark Black, John York, Rubel Shelly, Chris Seidman, and Fred Aquino.
    - Lunch with Jerry Taylor.
    - And my most sacred space of all, the Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY.

    By Blogger Travis, at 7/02/2004 11:59:00 AM  

  • Another 'sacred place' is on the second floor of the American Studies building at Harding. Kayla Haynie's office. Pink plastic flamingos, x-files action figures and everything the "I Love Lucy" marketing department ever created crowing the shelves alongside her books and he purple ("grape") iMac made it interesting. Mrs. Haynie made it special.

    By Blogger Q, at 7/02/2004 12:36:00 PM  

  • I think I'm one of the rare ones here who didn't mention some place at my college. Of course, I attended Freed-Hardeman...


    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/02/2004 01:19:00 PM  

  • Sacred places:

    solitude at WCYC/Fallhall Glenn, WI,
    Midwest Bible Camp in Iowa,
    the corner cafe in Tomobe, Japan,
    The Cloisters in NYC,
    Auditorium at the Stamford C/C in CT,
    the living room of Randy and Jackie Halstead,
    Chapel on the Hill at ACU.

    By Blogger TKP, at 7/02/2004 03:07:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Terry, at 7/02/2004 09:24:00 PM  

  • Matt,

    What's wrong with Freed-Hardeman?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/03/2004 08:05:00 AM  

  • To the anonymous person who responded to my comment -- see my blog entry from APRIL 11:


    You'll have to scroll down to the 4/11 entry.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/03/2004 11:56:00 AM  

  • It is interesting so many people mention "camp". Next Sunday begins week 5 at Sardis Lake Christian Camp, www.sl-cc.com Some how God has brought me to direct this week for several years. Please Pray that God will be Glorified as we study Galatians this year.
    in no particular order, my sacred places:
    The point at Sardis Lake,
    Laying in bed with my boys and telling them "mr. britches stories" (he is our clothed monkey hero)
    Sitting on our porch swing with my wife when we work through differences.
    a particular spot on a particular hill at Mid-South Youth camp, where I first realized I was lost.
    The Roman Forum, reading Romans 16 and thinking of seeing those mentioned again someday.
    A crummy pavillion where (dare I say it) I think I saw a glimpse of God's glory) maybe this should be anonymous!
    Eating BBQ at Jacks Creek in Tennessee
    The seat of a riding mower.
    Old Faithful Inn
    The Middleton High School Football field (such as it is in my memory)
    my favorite lake
    The bench I proposed on.
    The Christmas Tree farm we go to every year

    By Blogger TCS, at 7/05/2004 08:17:00 AM  

  • Dear TCS:

    I stand corrected. I made a joke about not being able to mention holy places associated with my tenure as a student at Freed-Hardeman.

    But I had completely forgotten about the Jack's Creek Barbecue. Finally, a holy place to mention from those four years! There is no barbecue like that stuff. Twenty years later, I still scoff at mainstream barbecue restaurants. Truly, Jack's Creek is "set apart" from all others.

    Man, I'm hungry.

    By Blogger Matt Elliott, at 7/05/2004 10:59:00 AM  

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