Christendom: A Spiritual Stockholm Syndrome?

stockholm syndrome - patty hearstAs a Christ-follower of Jewish origins (one not born within the culture of Christianity, but who came to the Church from the outside), I have always found the Church’s original attraction to the idea of Christendom (lit. Christen = Christianity + dom = kingdom: Christianity as a nation or Christian nationalism; fig. the use of power to achieve Christian unity by enforcing uniformity), and its pervasive residual nostalgia for it, intriguing. After all, there is no evidence in Jesus’ teaching or actions that he had any desire for such an outcome. And there is every evidence that Paul would have been dead-set against it. If anything, both of them saw the faith they were teaching as transcending not only religious nationalism, but religion itself. Not to mention the fact that both of them taught that God’s power was made manifest in the weakness, servanthood, and rejection of power by God’s people. Paradoxical, for sure, and certainly at odds with human nature and the wisdom of the world. Continue reading