Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Romance Of Religion
Fighting For Goodness, Truth, And Beauty
By Dwight Longenecker
Published by Thomas Nelson, February 4th 2014
This is NOT a ghastly romance in the sense of "Jesus is my boyfriend", let me reassure you! It is a book about the romance of Christianity in the purest sense of the historical and romantic tradition of storytelling, where:
"A fine romance is a good story—a story, like all good stories everywhere and at every time, that reveals eternal truth within a gripping tale. We are entranced by a good story because the plot is slick and the storyteller skilled. We are captivated by a good story because it incarnates the truth. A good storyteller locks the truth so tightly into the story that you cannot get at the truth without telling the story. The romantic believes the truth in the story, but he also believes that he can make that story come true in his own life."
Christians and Christianity get a generally bad press in the modern world - seen as boring, outdated, out of touch with the modern world, irrelevant, judgmental - you name it, it's been applied to Christianity. But is this what Christianity is all about? Not at all, says Fr Longenecker, who sees Christianity as the biggest, boldest, most awesome and outrageous adventure quest that has ever existed.
Using examples from Cyrano de Bergerac, C S Lewis' Reepicheep, Darth Vader, Neo Anderson from "The Matrix", from Greek philosophers and metaphysical poets right through to Hollywood movies and material science, the subject of "reality" is explored, along with the concepts of good and evil, war and the dangers of political ideologies, truth, beauty, love and heroic self-sacrifice.
Christianity calls us to leave behind our old lives, to take on a quest for salvation which will require all our strength, determination, ingenuity, integrity and commitment, yet we will only accomplish our quest by having faith in God and trust in His abundant grace and love for us all, and by being prepared to sacrifice absolutely everything for Him. I cannot think of anything more compelling, exciting, terrifying and demanding than being called to be a Christian - can you ?