By David Crabb
ATHENS, Greece — The spirit of Athens today lies at the crossroads between old and new. Everywhere you look are reminders of the epic grandeur this city once enjoyed. Even if you were to overlook the many monuments and ruins scattered throughout the city, the Acropolis looms large on the horizon, serving as a constant reminder that the world once revolved around this city.
The modern Athens, however, bears little resemblance to its ancient self. While teeming with life and energy, it sags under the burden of economic stagnation and wrestles with its current and most pressing crisis: what to do with the massive influx of refugees from the Middle East that are daily streaming into the city.
Greece is unofficially a “Christian” country. Some estimate that nearly 97% of the population identifies with the Orthodox church. And yet for most Greeks, this is merely a cultural identification, not a religious one. The church is linked closely with the state, and most Greeks ignore the church at best, or (in a difficult economic time) resent it at worst. The tired cathedrals throughout the city serve as an appropriate metaphor for the “Christianity” of the city — ubiquitous, but lifeless.
And yet the kingdom of God is growing in Athens.
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