Mad Men

Carlos Overstreet's picture
Recently the Supreme Court was debating a ruling on the legality of Gay Marriage in the United States; we saw the CEO of Starbucks declare that anyone who upholds traditional marriage should take their business elsewhere. Have we come to the point where Marriage will no longer be Christian affair, but something to be appropriated by the secular world as well? Will it become as soiled as healthcare with the insidious provisions to take public funds to support abortion procedures? The Fathers of the Church suggest the world at large is mad-Insane-out of it's mind. Yet, the Christian is called to be in the world to be Christ's hands and feet. So what are we to do?   

When considering our proper resposne to the mad men of the world, we should consider one of the most frequent prayers said by the congregation in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy is "Lord have Mercy." In the Gospels, the Caananite woman (whom the Jews considered unclean) who came begging to Christ for help said "Son of David, have mercy on me." There is also the usurious tax collector in the temple who humbling himself called upon God saying "Lord have mercy on me a sinner."

These two figures represent for us the mindset of the Christian life. When we no longer surrender ourselves to God, we become distracted, ambivalent and in the words of the Fathers: insane. The Fathers point out that opulent living as opposed to simplicity produced wastefulness and anxiousness. Comfort seeking produced sloth and gluttony instead of temperance and toil. And I'm sure they would have been shocked at how sex crazed our culture is and how it taints all our relationships we have with one another today. To the Fathers, this is insanity. How could Christians compromise with all these temptations and call themselves sons of the Living God? The people must have lost their wits to think they could fit through the narrow door while living as the world does, said one Monk.

Listen to what Saint John Chrysostom has to say on thinking anyone can seek truth outside of the Gospel:

"If we should describe doctrines according to the judgment of madmen, there is nothing to hinder us from being mad ourselves with most a grievous insanity. No one will assert, looking to those who have weak or impaired vision, that the sun is injurious to the eyes, but he will say that it was made to give light, drawing his judgments from persons in health. And no one will call honey bitter, because it tastes bitter to the sick. Nor will any, from the imaginations of men diseased in mind decide that God is good,or evil; or that He sometimes indeed exerts His Providence, and sometimes does not at all. Who can say that such men are of soundmind,or deny that they are utterly mad?"

- John Chrysostom; Eighth Homily on the Gospel of John

Don't worry about what starbucks is going to do. Worry about what you are going to do. Pray, fast, yes, but don't get caught up in fuming over mad men. You Christian, should strive to live soberly and kindly seeking God in all things. 



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