The West’s Darkness – The East’s Reawakening

Greg Strand – January 29, 2014 2 Comments

In a recent article, “Eastern Europe’s Christian Reawakening” Filip Mazurczak illustrates that there is a shift in thought and morals among those in Eastern Europe. He writes,

In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring. While few in the American media have noticed, this trend should challenge those who simply lament Europe’s moral malaise. Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized west, religion’s public role has been growing in the east since the collapse of communism.

The interesting thing is that this is happening while the West becomes more secular. While the West slides further away from their Christian roots (I am reminded of the poignant statement by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his Templeton Prize Lecture, May 10, 1983: “Men have forgotten God.”), the East is experiencing a “reawakening” to their Christian past.

While many academics speak of Europe as a uniform secularized continent, two decades after the collapse of Communism it is more accurate, if still too simple, to speak of two Europes: a West that has largely abandoned its religious roots, and an East that is rediscovering its heritage.

Mazurczak does not desire to paint with a brush that is too broad in that he acknowledges Eastern Europe still shares many of the similar problems of Western Europe. But he recognizes something that few are acknowledging. The key question: can they rediscover their heritage and use that to build today for the future?

Too often when there is a rediscovery of a heritage there is an attempt to return to the “good old days.” It is important to remember that often for those who lived then the days were not so “good” and it is simply impossible to return because it is “old” and cannot be reconstituted. It is important to learn what we can and must from the past so that we can live faithfully and fruitfully today, and thus, by God’s grace, make a difference for the tomorrows.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

2 responses to The West’s Darkness – The East’s Reawakening

  1. Reading a good book that takes an interesting “new” bent on why the demise of the church. You might like to add it to your pile (all pastor’s have a pile of books, right?)
    Title: “How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization” by Mary Eberstadt.

    By the way, love your karaoke impersonation picture on your blog. :o)

    • Randal, if only you could see my piles (plural) of books! Thanks for the recommendation. I have heard and read those who interact with Eberstadt’s book. Thanks, also, for the thumbs up (though I guess that assumes you like karaoke!) on the picture!

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