Saint Patrick's Church Schola

Lenten 2006 Class -- Classical Spiritual Disciplines

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Consumer Christianity?

A good article by my friend and colleague in North Carolina, Ben Sharpe. Ben is the Rector of Church of the Messiah in Durham, NC.

Overcoming Consumer Christianity
by Ben Sharpe

Each one of us has been infected by a virulent contagion that has crippled our ability to see the world as it truly is. This contagion effects every person in the Western World and has begun to spread to developing countries as well. None of us in the West is immune. Even as I write these words I am aware that my very thoughts may be distorted by this malady. As you read these words this infection is shaping the way you think and understand reality. This disease is not a virus, or a bacterial strain. It is a worldview: the worldview of consumerism. A worldview is like a set of spectacles through which we view reality. Everything about life, even our perception of Christian faith, is colored by the lenses of worldview. The worldview of consumerism dominates our lives whether we are Christians or non-Christians. It is the very air that we breathe and as a result we are not even conscious of it.

Read the rest here


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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Authentic Seeker Sensitive Worship

My friend Ben Sharpe, an Anglican Priest in Durham, NC (Church of the Messiah) wrote the following thought provoking article. Note that he penned while he was a United Methodist Clergyman.


Authentic Seeker Sensitive Worship
by Ben Sharpe
Several years ago, on Christmas Eve, my family and I accepted the invitation of a friend to worship at St. Michael the Archangel Maronite Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. As we arrived at the church, all of us felt a little anxious. We knew that the liturgy of this Eastern Rite Catholic Church would be profoundly different from anything we had previously experienced.

Indeed, much of the service turned out to be completely alien. A good portion of the very formal liturgy was sung in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke, but which is now virtually extinct. The vestments of the priests, the words of the hymns, the Middle Eastern melodies, the incense that wafted up around the altar, the physical gestures of the congregation and celebrants, were all unfamiliar to our Western, Protestant sensibilities.

Nevertheless, following the service, which moved my wife and me to tears of joy and reverence, the unanimous response of our family was that the experience made us want to return and worship with this congregation again. Our youngest daughter pleaded, “Can we come back here?” Our sixteen-year-old daughter exclaimed that she wanted to become a Maronite. My wife and I remarked that we felt like we had “come home.”

How did this happen? How could this ancient, mysterious expression of Christian worship have such an intense, positive impact on a very evangelical family? Pondering these questions I realized that we had, quite unexpectedly, encountered an authentic “seeker sensitive” worship service.

read it all here


Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Sunday we continued our series entitled 7 Character Traits of a Disciple. Sunday's topic was Patience.

Patience is really hard for many of us.
Patience is a central character quality in the life of a disciple.
In looking at patience we examined two points:

1. Patient people look like GodExodus 34:1-7
God's name -- slow to anger is part of his name
Slow to anger good definition of patience
We act like God when we are slow to anger/patient
ILLUS: Jesus and the Cross
Jesus was silent before his accusers
Jesus petitioned the Father to forgive those killing him
Patience points to the character of God most clearly revealed on the cross

2. Patient People Practice Thanksgiving
Patience is a developed character quality -- not simply infused in us
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Not thank God for everything BUT thank God in everything
Thank God for the irritant/frustration/injustice as a means to develop patience
Thank God that the irritant/frustration/injustice is ultimately in his hands
REMEMBER: We do this IN CHRIST! Through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit Christ’s patience can be shared with us

The sum total of many small gestures of patience will result in a resounding witness to the character of God! May we be people of patience! May we be people who look like God!