This might be John Chrysostom week here on the blog, but if I have to read a whole book about him, I may as well take you along for the ride.
Chrysostom was by no means a liberal, at least not as defined by our modern context. He frequently called his Antioch congregation to forsake the customs of the secular culture and embrace a separation that recalled more the radical teachings of Jesus and Paul than the compromising practicality that arose in subsequent centuries. Consider his description of dancing:
For where there is dancing, the devil is also there. For God did not give us feet for this purpose, but for us to walk with discipline: not for us to disgrace ourselves, not for us to leap like camels. 
Any quotes from or summaries of Chrysostom’s sermons come from Jaclyn Maxwell’s Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity: John Chrysostom and His Congregation in Antioch.
Even more entertaining, Chrysostom’s decision to go after fancy shoes. As Maxwell notes,
Chrysostom promotes a very puritanical Christian aesthetic in this section, condemning paintings and decorations, and especially the gaudy shoes some of the sandal-makers were producing. Weaving was fine, but not when it was too fancy, because shoes decorated so elaborately caused men to become irresponsible and effeminate. The audience’s reaction to this condemnation was evident in Chrysostom’s defense of himself:
“I know that to many I seem to be concerned with petty matters, meddling in other people’s affairs. I shall not stop on account of this. For the cause of all evil is this: that these sins seem to be petty and because of this they are ignored. And you say, ‘What sin can be more worthless than this, of having a decorated and shining sandal fitted on one’s foot, if it even seems right to call it a sin?'”
Either Chrysostom had heard his audience’s opinions, or he merely expected that the average Christian considered fancy shoes to be a very negligible sin, or maybe not a sin at all. The preacher even expected the congregation to be angry at him for denouncing these shoes. He later explained that their refusal to acknowledge that wearing fancy shoes was immoral had forced him to expound upon the subject. The possession of such shoes was cruel, not only because unnecessary luxury was sinful, but also because they were wasting money that could have been given as alms to the poor. [153-54]
So that’s a long way of saying Chrysostom was not particularly liberal. Yet he was ahead of his time, at least in a couple of key areas, where he remains a voice the church could use today.
One of those areas, as discussed previously and glimpsed above, is his overriding concern with the poor and how Christians should sacrifice much to help them. The other is rather surprising, given the excerpts quoted above.
John Chrysostom was rather liberal when it comes to sex.
Continue reading John Chrysostom: Ahead of His Time – and Ours