- Pathfinder

Reply To: What were some of your primary takeaways after reading Christianity in the First 1000 Years? Did anything surprise you?

Hannah Straub

I’ve been most surprised after the reading (and the lectures) by the deep historical roots of Christianity in the East. While it was no surprise that there is a long lineage of faith in Israel, it surprised me about the role of Christianty in China, India, and Iraq. In the past I’ve struggled at times with how sometimes it seems like Western missions in the 19th and 20th century seemed to import an almost colonial religion and practices. So, I was astonished to discover the deep Christian roots already in these cultures prior to Western missionaries.

When I lived in an Arab-Israeli town this Spring, there was both a Baptist and a Orthodox church in the town. Visiting the Baptist church, it felt a little uncomfortable to think about how white Western American missionaries had come over to Israel to convert historic Christian minorities to a more Western way of practicing their faith. I think the Western church has a lot of listening to do. It would do well to connect to older Eastern communities of faith and figure out how to support them well.