I quite agree. However--
Sticky point 1: Asceticism seems to be pursued (or at least exhorted) professionally in the monastery. Asceticism, like love, is an amateur's game; no one should ever love professionally.
I think you are creating a false dichotomy between amateur and professional, and I am unsure about your apparent dismissal of the monastic experience as "professional" and something that should never be done professionally. Is that what you are really saying or did I misunderstand you?
Sticky point 2: Monastic professionalism in asceticism has quarrel with what we read in the Bible, OT or NT and in the early fathers.
I don't buy that for a minute.
Is there a reason why the prophets kept saying that God abhors fasts and feasts? Why in his last discourses Our Lord inveighed so heavily against the prfoessionalism of the Pharisees?
That has nothing to do with monasticism.
Why St. Paul railed against man-made rules and pointed out the limited value of bodily asceticism? (My guess: given a choice between a scary life of love and a safe life of religious routines, most people opt for the routines.)
You are forcing a dichotomy where none needs to exist. And St Paul is the one that talks of beating his body into submission. Have you ever read the Apothegmata by the way? Specifically the chapters on Hospitality, Humility, Patience, and Charity? The Desert Fathers were very concerned with the spirit of love.
Sticky point 3: Professional asceticism seems to overshadow other facets of the faith. E.g., one hears from priests, not just monastics, that it is more important to keep a fast than to eat what a non-Orthodox puts on the table. Let God's command always take precedence over man's!
I've never had a priest tell me that. I have seen in writing one priest who recommended that but he was in a minority. Still, we should not use that as an excuse to break the fast. We can explain beforehand that we have dietary restrictions and no one in polite society would be insulted. If we find ourselves in a situation of hospitality, then accept the hospitality and mention it in confession. This is really not a big issue.
I do not think that these points can be hammered out by posts or even by candid discussion, as they are really answered individually by everyone every day. To the extent that they can be discussed, they should probably be discussed in a different forum.
How do you reconcile your theory of professional asceticism with the received Orthodox tradition which highly praises monasticism?