<blows the dust off this old thread>
I would like to discuss stylites a bit more. I have a few concerns with such practices, and I hope that we can address them.
First of all, the public manner in which these people displayed themselves seems to me, in my ignorance, very similar to what Christ was condemning when he told us to pray, fast, give alms, etc in secret. Does lifting these people up on these poles so that the public can witness their ascetical feats somehow diminish the humility and secrecy intended to be presented during such efforts?
Secondly, did Christ intend for us to fabricate our own crosses for ourselves, or to rely on God to provide us with such to bear? If we are to fabricate our own crosses, then why shouldn't we be using other forms of self-mortification, (flagellation, etc)? This is my second concern regarding these practice.
Any other discussion regarding stylites in general is welcome.