and The Bible
3. A Fascination with Mortality.
The Romantics were intrigued by death and the
transience of human achievements. Of course,
people died younger then. Of the younger
generation of Romantic poets, Keats died of
consumption at 26; Shelley drowned at 30, and
Byron died from being bled at the ripe old age
of 36. But there was also a romantic
fascination with sitting in graveyards and
Scripture, as well, warns us to live with an
awareness of our mortality. This isn't merely
the "pie in the sky by and by" that many accuse
us of. This is a clear-headed awareness that
none of us lives forever, that we should live the
life we've been given in a way that does good
for others and glorifies God.
When I was younger, I never really expected to
live as long as I have. It seemed important to
live well all the time, because I had no idea
which birthday would be my last. As I grow
older, surprisingly, death seems less interesting.
But, at the same time, it doesn't seem
threatening. I am God's child, and I trust God
in death as I have in life to do with me as he
That's a concept scripture seems to encourage.
Paul determined that "for me to live is Christ
and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21). He
emphasizes continuing to live in Christ
(Colossians 2:6), and points to the victory we
have in Christ over sin and death (1 Corinthians
I am a romantic. And in many ways, so are all Christians. Of course, the
same thing might be said about various other historical ideas and
approaches to living. There is little that is new and much that is good in
most philosophical approaches to life that have been considered and
worked out and continued through history. But it never hurts to check the
claims we make about ourselves in light of God's eternal will.
I’m a democrat. As much as I am
able, I try to appreciate the worth
of every individual, and I look for
things to appreciate about each
person I meet.
In the pages of scripture, it
appears that God agrees. God
created each of us in his own
image (Genesis 1:27). We are
told that God is “no respecter of
people,” (Acts 10:34). He values
each of us, being aware of the
very hairs of our heads (Matthew
10:30). This concept, though it
seems obvious, is under constant
attack from people who would
have their own way over the
desires of the rest of us.
2. The Lessons of the Past. The Romantics valued the past. They
looked for principles of goodness and beauty in people and their
creations in past ages. While they appreciated the classical Greeks
and Romans, they had a special love for the medieval past of their own
lands, a raw time of conflict and wars when power was first wrested
from the hands of kings.
As you may have noticed from
this website, I love the past and
try to learn from its lessons--
the history of our nation, the
history of God’s people, and
my own individual history.
God wants us to learn from the
past as well. Over and over,
he tells us to remember.
“Remember that you were
slaves in Egypt,” he told the
Israelites, “and that the Lord
your God brought you out of
there with a mighty hand and an
outstretched arm.” That
became the basis for observing
the Sabbath (Deut. 5:15), for
freeing slaves (15:12-15), for
1. The Value of Common People. The Romantic movement placed
great emphasis on the common man. After generations of rule by
nobility, people began to see the nobility in common people--workers,
minorities, foreigners, people who had been powerless before that time.
This theme was closely associated with that of democracy and
freedom. If common people were important, than their views were as
important as anyone else’s.
celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles (16:12), and for leaving the
remnants of the harvest for the poor (24:19-22).
In the New Testament, he calls us to learn from the multiplied loaves
(Matthew 16:8-10), Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32), Jesus’ words (Acts 20:
35), and Paul’s bonds (Colossians 4:18). He also challenges us to
remember our own spiritual fathers: “Remember your leaders, who
spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of
life and imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7). As we consider the past,
we can live better now and improve the future.