Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We Believe So Well

As our conversation swells

And our patience somehow lingers

And accusing fingers shout about

Don't we oscillate so well

Within our fundamental boundaries

While fiery foundries melt us down

And kill tranquility

But we believe so well

Don't we tell ourselves

Don't we take exclusive pride

That we abide so far from hell?

We might laugh together

But don't we cry alone

For the ashes and the dust

We've swept beneath the Holy throne

As our hidden candor dies

And our realism falters

And the altars of our hearts close up
in insecurity

We believe that all is well

We perceive ourselves as unshaken

While standing on the precipice

Of what will never be

But we believe so well

Don't we tell ourselves

Don't we take exclusive pride

That we abide so far from hell?

We might laugh together

But don't we cry alone

For the ashes and the dust

We've swept beneath the Holy throne

Written by Mark Heard © 1984 Kenwood Music


Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Waiting is a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be." Part 2 of Henri Nouwen Quotes

Some more of my favorite quotes from Henri Nouwen. Let me know which ones resonate with you.

The real "work" of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me. To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort.

Emit gratitude as though it was done.

We fail to see the place of suffering in the broader scheme of things. We fail to see that suffering is an inevitable dimension of life. Because we have lost perspective, we fail to see that unless one is willing to accept suffering properly, he or she is really refusing to continue in the quest for maturity. To refuse suffering is to refuse personal growth.

Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: 'May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country or relationship fulfill my deepest desire.' But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied. You know that this is the compulsiveness that keeps us going and busy, but at the same time makes us wonder whether we are getting anywhere in the long run. This is the way to spiritual exhaustion and burn-out. This is the way to spiritual death.

Praying is no easy matter. It demands a relationship in which you allow someone other than yourself to enter into the very center of your person, to see there what you would rather leave in darkness, and to touch there what you would rather leave untouched.

Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.

Peace is first of all the art of being.

Praying demands that you take to the road again and again, leaving your house and looking forward to a new land for yourself and your [fellow human]. This is why praying demands poverty, that is, the readiness to live a life in which you have nothing to lose so that you always begin afresh.

Somehwere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.

We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.

God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.

Theological formation is the gradual and often painful discovery of God's incomprehensibility. You can be competent in many things, but you cannot be competent in God.

A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.

In solitude we realize that nothing human is alien to us.

As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their "right" place.

It is tragic to see how the religious sentiment of the West has become so individualized that concepts such as "a contrite heart," have come to refer only to the personal experiences of guilt and willingness to do penance for it. The awareness of our impurity in thoughts, words and deeds can indeed put us in a remorseful mood and create in us the hope for a forgiving gesture. But if the catastrophical events of our days, the wars, mass murders, unbridled violence, crowded prisons, torture chambers, the hunger and the illness of millions of people and he unnamable misery of a major part of the human race is safely kept outside the solitude of our hearts, our contrition remains no more than a pious emotion.

Hope prevents us from clinging to what we have and frees us to move away from the safe place and enter unknown and fearful territory.

True hospitality is receiving the stranger on his terms, and asserts that it can be offered only by those who have found the center of their lives in their own hearts.

Waiting is a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be.

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair. Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

Dear God,

I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!

Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?

Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?

Please help me to gradually open my hands

and to discover that I am not what I own,

but what you want to give me.

And what you want to give me is love,

unconditional, everlasting love.


Thoughts on any of these?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My book, "Embracing the Gray," now available as FREE PDF download or 99 cent Kindle version

Video Trailer on Embracing the Gray:


For limited time Embracing the Gray is available as a FREE PDF download at:


99 cents Kindle download at:


"Utterly mesmerizing," "courageous," "staggering," and "vivid" have been used to describe the memoirs of Mark A. Hollingsworth's popular blog that are now transformed and expanded into Embracing the Gray. Through international as well as internal travel, he wrestles with and even celebrates the uncertainties of his still unfolding life. In turns both profound and profane, you'll experience the unforgettable characters and tales from his family, the music biz, and fellow pilgrims among the poor. As his fans have said, it "processes the what-ifs of life" where "demise and redemption walk hand in hand." A reader with serious doubts who seeks to avoid the path of bitter cynicism will inevitably find a voice in these pages that will resonate heart, mind, and soul.

Embracing the Gray: A Wing, A Prayer, and A Doubter's Resolve, has received 97% Five Star reviews on Amazon.com. The other 3% are Four Stars.

Described as a Renaissance man, Mark A. Hollingsworth considers himself a citizen of the world. He has traveled to fifty-one countries as a manager of rock bands and an advocate for the poor in developing nations. He has been published in two dozen magazines ranging from Billboard to National Lampoon, and his blog has had over 60,000 readers in the past five years. Mark resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Honored to be part of documentary, "Gold Record: Fifty Years of Hockey in Nashville"

I was honored to be interviewed for the terrific one hour documentary on the history of pro hockey in Nashville entitled, Gold Record: Fifty Years of Hockey History in Music City. The portions where I reminisce include the rowdy times at Nashville Knights games in the mid 90s, as well as reflections on the rabid fan base (including the crazed inmates of infamous Cellblock 303) at Predators’ games since 1998.

Here is info from the official press release:

Leading into Tuesday night’s Nashville Predators game vs. the Vancouver Canucks, the Preds flagship TV station, FOX Sports Tennessee, will debut the one-hour documentary “Nashville Predators Present: Gold Record – 50 Years of Hockey History in Music City,” at 6 PM Central Time.

This special takes a look back at the history of hockey in Nashville, beginning with the Dixie Flyers in 1962 all the way through to the present day Nashville Predators. The show features interviews with Dixie Flyers captain Ken “Red” Murphy, South Stars owner Larry Schmittou, Knights radio broadcaster Steve Carroll, current Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran and country legend and hockey aficionado Barbara Mandrell, among others. Fans will travel back in time to Municipal Auditorium, the original home of hockey in Nashville, by way of vintage footage and rare photos. This all encompassing look at hockey in Music City will air on Fox Sports Tennessee several times over the next 6-8 weeks.

Gold Record truly highlights the history and passion Nashville has had for hockey of the last half century,” Nashville Predators Executive Vice President Chris Parker said. “It is a tribute to all the teams, players and fans who came before the Predators and laid the foundation for the support we have received over the last 15 years. We are sure that hockey fans and all sports fans in general will enjoy the program!”

Here is the airing schedule so far. All times Central:

  • Tuesday, February 7--6 PM leading into Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks game.

  • Tuesday, February 7--10 PM following Predators post game show after Predators vs. Vancouver Canucks game.

  • Thursday, February 9--10 PM (following "Predators Snapshot" after Predators vs. Ottawa Senators game.

  • Saturday, February 11--10 PM
  • Tuesday, February 14--10 PM following post game show after Predators vs. Chicago Black Hawks game.
  • Sunday, February 19--9 PM following post game show after Predators vs. Dallas Stars game.
  • Saturday, February 25--11 AM
  • More airings to be announced for March and April.

I am grateful to director/producer Scott Osborne for seeking me out and other fellow Section 303 rowdies like Kurt Andress, Laurie Dishman, and Brian Binkley for our participation. I waxed nostalgic for over an hour, and I know that many others gave long testimonies to the long-sufferings and joys of being hockey fans here in Tennessee that were edited for running-time purposes.

Additionally, there is plenty more archival footage to be had of the various franchises that have graced the Municipal Auditorium ice sheet in the 60s, 80s, and 90s, as well as of the Preds at Bridgestone for the past 13 seasons….so, who knows? Maybe there will be a Volume Two and Three!

Should you get to watch it, or have seen it already (every Predators season ticket holder was sent a copy as a Christmas gift), let me know what you think. I’m sure those of you who are hockey fans will enjoy this fun skate down memory lane.