"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." - Thomas Howard
Cynics suggest that religion is no more than a myth. They are right and they are wrong. Religion is indeed like a myth, but those who understand the Christian story know that religion is also more than a myth--in C. S. Lewis's words, "It's a myth that really happened." The Christian religion functions like all the great mythic stories in the world, calling us to embark on an adventure that promises both a terrifying risk and a magnificent reward.
In "The Romance of Religion," Dwight Longenecker calls for the return of the mythic hero--the hero who knows his own frailty and can fight the good fight with panache, humor, and humility. Conflict and the great quest are everywhere in the story of Christ, and our participation in this myth that really happened not only guides our souls but empowers us to live full of whimsy and wonder and to wade into battle as happy warriors.
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 not only 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 that you cannot get at the truth without telling the story.
Is Christianity a myth? Yes. It's a myth that really happened, and most disturbing of all--it's a myth that can happen to us as we embark on the romance of religion.