Vigen Guroian, in his book, Ethics After Christendom: Toward an Ecclesial Christian Ethic, writes “The Christian family . . . is an arena of ascetic combat with the demons of personal and public life, This askesis not only perfects individuals but deepens community.” He is saying that character development is primary, and that social function follows. As St. John Chrysostom says, “When we teach our children to be gentle, to be forgiving, to love . . . we reveal the image of God in them.”
Guroian (pictured on the left) sees the Christian family as embattled and under attack from modern cultural “privatism, narcissism, and consumerism,” and cannot, in its own power, effect change in society. Only by means of the character development gained by ascetic struggle, in which its members are conformed to the likeness of Christ, can the Christian family be a light to the world.
Once Kingdom values have been established in the family, the divine value it places on its members with disabilities serves as a witness to a world that devalues them for their lack of apparent utility. Love lays aside “utility” as the ultimate measuring tool.
from “St. John Chrysostom and the Socialization of Persons with Developmental Disability: Patristic Inspiration for Contemporary Application,” pp. 25-26, by Willam Gall. To access: st1johnchrysostomandthesocializationof