Reading history lately has made me feel so very very tiny. My life and work is just a very small blip. This is a good thing though. I think it’s a proper humility. I guess all sweeping history must do this to it’s readers. Probably anyway. Nothing in memory has so indirectly encouraged me to look at the big picture!
Churches often make the mistake of imitating what seems at the time to be the natural and inevitable shape of secular society, and allocate resources accordingly. In the sixth century, it was difficult to contemplate a future world that might not always be based on a flourishing Mediterranean trade and the cities it sustained, just as later generations of Christians believed that society would always be founded on agriculture and village life. Matters do, of course, change, in ways that can leave once-great churches struggling badly.
-Philip Jenkins, The Lost History of Christianity, p.243