I was talking to a family member about what "the end of Christendom" means and came up with an analogy I thought would be good to share.
After the burst of the housing bubble and the great recession, I think the whole "bubble" idea is pretty familiar to folks. You have something - like home prices - that has a normal, reasonable level but then gets super-inflated way beyond that point by other stuff. So when the "other stuff" gets removed, the bubble bursts and things drop back to where they would have been all along. What makes this tough is that the "inflating" process can go on for a long time and people get used to it, expecting it to go on, but the "burst" is sudden and wreaks havoc on things.
Similarly, the Christian church has been inflated - arguably for about 17 centuries - because the culture has "pumped people into it" in various ways. But now we are experiencing the burst of that bubble and while it's pretty traumatic and sudden (by historical standards) it's not really the case that the church is "dying" any more than the housing market died. Rather, it's simply returning to something more in line with what it would have been *without the cultural subsidy to inflate it.*