As it is Good Friday, Media outlets are predictably covering what is predictably happening in San Pedro Cutud, Philippines, where predictably a few men allowed themselves to be antiseptically nailed to crosses. Others merely beat themselves. Dog bites man, but the MSM needs a Good Friday story.
This bizarre spectacle, an annual event in the Philippines, reminds us of what matters in the crucifixion that inspires it. What made Jesus' death exceptional is not that he suffered but that he suffered for others. He didn't deserve the death, and they didn't deserve the gift.
We SWNIDishly assert that Christian ascetics suffer for themselves, for the attention they gain by their spectacle, not for others. Let's not talk about the marvelous example that ascetics provide. Real examples of take-up-your-cross-and-follow-me suffering emerge when people give their lives in service to others, even when those others don't deserve it.
Few will serve with reckless abandon because of these ascetics. Many others will because of the humble servants who have walked with them in the name of Jesus.