One of the main takeaways was that since the beginning of the church, Christians have had a meaningful presence in the East. This history challenges common conceptions that suggest Christianity has always been a “Western” faith. Another primary takeway was the importance of Western Christians engaging and learning from Eastern Christian traditions. It’s important for me to remember that the Church is much larger than my experience of it in the West and that Eastern Christians not only exist, they have a long and rich history that has much to enrich my Christian faith.
Finally, while Christian presence in the East has diminished significantly over the centuries, there is still a meaningful presence that deserves our attention and there are good reasons to hope for the future of those communities. I have taken a Seminary course on the making of global christianity so while I wasn’t too ‘surprised” by the content, it did instill a deeper appreciation for my Near Eastern Christian siblings and Christ and a desire to learn more about their faith.