Saturday, October 25, 2008

Are Monks Selfish?

At last night's meeting we got into a discussion on the importance of witnessing to the Gospel.

One guy asked, "Then, aren't monks selfish?" (A question my own mom posed to me rhetorically 15 years ago when she feared I'd go down that road)?

Surely, in a narrow discussion of outward witnessing and preaching, they appear "selfish." But in an overall discussion of the life in Christ, we see can them in a much better and clearer light.

When they entered the desert, they learned *and wrote about* the nuances of cultivating many virtues we desperately need in the post- modern world (e.g. love of prayer, humility, patience, simplicity, work ethic and directness). Preachers and, ehem, bloggers, are only so valuable on these points.

They teach us by example that there is a strong correlation between the amount of things we have and our level of inner peace, and that the correlation is decidedly negative.

I think, then, to ask if they are selfish is to ask the wrong question. Think of it this way: do people who choose *not* to be monks choose this because they want to be unselfish? Isn't more likely that they feel being married or hanging at shisha bars or whatever is more their cup of tea or can of red bull?

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