Well I mean I think I touched on that several times in the thread. Monastics can make very real and valuable contributions to the Western dharma community- in translation, management, teaching, chaplaincy and meditation roles. If they are serving a community then actually they are less of a burden on that community than a layperson with similar roles- because, we don't have a wife/husband, kids, car payments and mortgages.
I do think that if monasticism survives in the West it will be a service oriented monasticism.
Its the only way a non-aristocrat who is not a tulku can rise up in Tibetan society, apart from being merchant.
I would argue though that it doesn't work for Westerners. Those who are in the institutions in Asia due to their being from "away" are only very rarely placed in positions of actual authority. If one wants influence at a dharma centre and close proximity to the lama, an easier route would probably be as a lay person with some money to donate to various projects (sorry if that sounds cynical but I have seen it time and time again).
While it is easy to understand why ethnic Buddhists such as Cambodians and so on have an interest in having a Vihara in their neighborhood, my experience tells me that second and third generation Asias in the USA are not really that interested in the religion of their forbears.
This is an area where Western monastics can serve. Not Western in the racial sense necessarily, but Western born. Several Viet Namese temples have invited Ven. Kusala from LA to teach, for example, because 2nd and 3rd generation kids might not speak Viet Namese fluently and connect better culturally with someone who grew up in America. Kusala is very involved in his community and I think is a great example of the kind of engaged monastic that will work in the West: http://www.urbandharma.org/kusalainfo/
The monastic sangha is facing a crisis of relevance in western countries. We are already, many of us, just as well educated as any Geshe (with different skill sets of course), and often more so.
Yes just as well educated, but not as well studied in Buddhism. I think if one were to look at Tibetan scholastic qualifications alone (not taking into account practice, charisma and adaptability) you need a well-trained Geshe lharampa to teach Westerners who are doing deep studies. The Lharampas have proven their worth, not just put in the time (ie 18 years of study), but they have excelled in their field. Very few Westerners have that level of immersion in Buddhism. We are still at a stage where for philosophical topics we are better off relying on Tibetan Geshes (or Western Geshes, but we produce so few).
Lama Tzongkhapa Institute in Italy has seen through experience it takes a well learned Geshe to teach the difficult topics on the Master's Program, for example. But for the slightly less intensive but still very challenging basic program, a mixture of Western scholars like Gavin Kilty and Tibetan Geshes is used. This creates a dynamic approach where students are exposed to raw Tibetan scholasticism as well as the digested approach of Westerners with a similar cultural background.
I don't think my BA, even though it is from a good university, takes me even close to the level of scholarship required of a Geshe lharampa. A PhD might.
The botton line too is that many of the Geshes are not just scholars, but true practitioners and well-cultivated. Because they started their formation earlier in life when it works out, the result is a well cultivated and inspiring teacher. Because studying Buddhism in Tibetan culture doesn't make you a Mr. Special Pants, there is often a little more humility than you get with Western scholars (though of course there are exceptions on both sides).
Western Buddhists (who are generally yogis)?"
This term yogi has always confused me. If Yogi indicates some sort of level of attainment, I would say only a few would be worthy of that title. If it just means a lay practitioner, I guess it makes sense.