Thanks for a reasonable and encouraging response. In return I should reassure you that I do know - and am grateful - that Ven Thanissaro is a good person and doing great work (as are most seriously practising Theravadins).
However, when you say, "The thing I see Ven Thanissaro warning about is developing a sense of self around this idea of sacrifice, becoming attached to it, and then doing things to satisfy that craving that sacrifice both worldly and spiritual welfare," I have to disagree somewhat. It is something I can agree with but I have to say that is not an obvious interpretation of his words quoted earlier in this thread. And it is still selfish, anyway, saying, "I
had better not get involved here or I
may wreck my
chances of attaining nibbana," OWTTE. (Did I make that obvious enough?
I still believe that compassionate action in the world, when undertaken with mindfulness and the right motivation
, is always consistent with the path and never an obstacle to practice - in fact, that some such engagement is essential to practice beyond the preliminary levels.
I suspect that for many members of the sangha, and almost certainly for Ven Thanissaro, that engagement takes the sole form of studying and passing on the dhamma - teaching, in fact. That's fine, but IMO it shouldn't be considered the only appropriate form of engagement.