“Let your moderation be known unto all men.” Phil 4:5
The pious practices of moderation are best hidden, lest their publicity infests our souls with pride. This passage from Philippians, sprinkled among the proverbial exhortations of the last chapter of Paul’s letter, far too easily becomes a justification for sin for the immature believer. When we are insecure in our faith, we may find it alluring or even necessary to grasp onto any point (whether of doctrine or praxis) that seems to differentiate ourselves from Them. We seek out our preferred list of essentials in order to reinforce our own brand of religious chauvinism. It is precisely for this reason that we should be wary, even cynical, of public professions of piety, especially those that would bring the speaker increased influence.
“The only simplicity that matters is the simplicity of the heart. If that be gone, it can be brought back by no turnips or cellular clothing; but only by tears and terror and the fires that are not quenched.” Chesterton Orthodoxy