Have you ever heard the phrase, Christianity is a relationship, not a religion? I, for one, have heard this all too often and was intrigued by the provocative title of Dwight Longnecker’s work “The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.” Longnecker’s work was well worth the whimsical investment, for this is a remarkably refreshing book.
Longnecker takes the objections to religion by both the modernists and postmodernists alike, embracing their charges and flipping them on their proverbial heads. Arguing that we need to learn from the great stories that transcend cultures and centuries, acting as romantic warriors on the road for Truth. For Longnecker, these tales all possess a kernel of truth that is ultimately bound up in the one who is the source of all that is True.
“The Romance of Religion” connects the stories of culture and unashamedly claims them for the Christian faith. Much in the vein of Chesterton and Lewis, Longnecker draws on the myths and legends of humanity and aptly points them to the source of all Truth. For Longnecker, good stories incarnate truth on many levels.
I found the strengths of this book is Longnecker’s powerful command of the English language and the effective use of the Western (and at times the non-Western) cannon. He calls out the battle between good and evil in the world and the necessity for those who are romantics (those who seek after God and after this truth) to confront this evil. For Longnecker, the romantic is someone who is neither a Stoic (someone who merely muscles through the tough aspects of life, keeping a stiff upper lip) nor an Epicurean (someone who drowns out life through the pursuit of pleasure alone), but they see rescue beyond the horizon and goes out after it.
To be a romantic, they head out for adventure, knowing full well the dangers it could bring. They head out in pursuit of all this beautiful, good, and true, ultimately finding it in the source of all beauty, goodness, and truth— Jesus the Messiah.
If you are tired or bored with the Christian religion, maybe this book will do you some good and help rekindle the romance with religion.