But now, when any one of our relatives dies, there are many who sit by and console us. Nay, we often raise up even an ass that has fallen; but when the souls of our brethren are falling, we overlook them and pass by, as if they were of less value than an ass. And if we see any one entering into a tavern indecently; nay, if we see him drunk, or guilty of any other unseemly action, we do not restrain him, we rather join him in it. . . .The greater part even form associations for the purposes of drunkenness. But do thou, O man, form associations to restrain the madness of inebriety.
Imagine for a moment what the world would be like today if the Christian community had taken Chrysostom’s advice seriously and started forming ‘associations’ to ‘restrain the madness of inebriety’ starting in the fourth century! It saddens me to think that such an opportunity was missed. But it excites me to think that we are finally getting around to the task of becoming the kind of faith communities that might actually help someone ‘restrain the madness’.
Source: John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on Second Timothy [Translated by Philip Schaff. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 13. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1889.)]