No I don't mean the Lutheran Church of Small Town killed by their own cliques and refusal to change. I don't lose sleep over those deaths.
I'm almost done reading The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia--and How It Died by John Philip Jenkins and this is a hard read because it is SO depressing. And disturbing. It's disturbing not just for the loss of the rich diversity of ancient Christian traditions but also because IT IS STILL GOING ON TODAY with Christians in the Middle East. There is a very good analysis of the situation by Robert Hunt in A New Year of Violence against Christians.
We were all raised on stories of the Western church growing despite persecution. You know, the "blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church" kind of stuff. But the truth is, a church can be killed through persecution. And it seems that the Roman church really only survived because it had stronger armies and more political clout. That's really enough to shake your faith.
In "Lost History" Jenkins does a very good job of breaking the "Oh Islam was a peaceful tolerant religion in the middle ages" myth while also recognizing this was a time when WHOMEVER was in power thought it was perfectly acceptable to annihilate anyone who did not conform. It's not that Islam is particularly violent. Or that Christianity is violent. It's that PEOPLE are violent and power hungry and if they can use religion to further their goals, they will.
It's very dark and depressing and I don't know what else to say other than
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,* and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.2345