Skeptics of Christianity and atheists often characterize faith as a fairy tale. Even many Christians frequently confuse the real with the imaginary, adore false gods and reject real truth, as presented in the Gospel. As unbelievable as it may sound, religion is a fairy tale in many ways; Father Dwight Longenecker argues in The Romance of Religion: Fighting for Goodness, Truth and Beauty (February 4, 2014, Thomas Nelson) that religion and our relationship with God bridge the gap between faith and fantasy.
As Longenecker notes, the story of Christ is filled with conflict and romance. He calls for the return of the romantic hero — the hero who knows his own frailty and can fight the good fight with panache, humor and humility. Conflict and romance are everywhere in the story of Christ, and our response not only guides our souls to salvation but our lives to joy, whimsy, wonder and even battle.
The Romance of Religion describes how the Christian faith is an adventure like no other, and the romance of religion is the romance of inner transformation. The plot line in the invisible world — the choices we make, the beliefs we choose, the person we marry, the children we have, the job we do, the god we worship — all of these mundane and quotidian decisions are simply the means through which we grow as human beings. We set out on the great adventure to accomplish some great task, but the really great task is not to do heroic things but to become a hero.
The Romance of Religion is about making a total transformation, reaching our full potential and becoming all that God created us to be.
Highly acclaimed writer and scholar Thomas Howard remarks Fr Longenecker’s writing, “Here is orthodoxy as heavy as the universe, made to dance like the universe. Reading this is like coming upon old Augustine dressed up like St Francis.”