This book does exactly what it says on the cover. Through easy-to-read, short chapters which follow the story of the Hobbit, Ware picks out particular moments and draws out what he hopes was Tolkien’s underlying Christian faith shining through. The conclusions are easy to grasp, and for a lover of The Hobbit I’m confident this would be a great way to dig deeper into who God is.
Each chapter tells a part of the story, followed by a quick breakdown of what this means in light of Christianity, and a sentence for reflection at the end. It tells just enough of the story to make its points without going through every detail but contains big spoilers, so if you haven’t read The Hobbit already I’d definitely hold off until you have before digging into this.
The author acknowledges the problem with this book right at the beginning, then throughout when appropriate: Tolkien never wanted Middle Earth to be an allegory of the gospel (in contrast to C.S. Lewis’ Narnia). This means that at times the book feels a bit forced, such as when the usefulness of rope is compared with the grace of God (probably the weakest chapter), but this is a minor point.
On the whole I found this to be an enjoyable, informative, fun and gospel-focussed book. I’d heartily recommend it to Tolkien fans, whether Christian or not.
I got this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
Cover of Gladiator (Widescreen Edition)
My favourite film ever has to be Gladiator. Wonderful. A brief summary:
- We’re introduced to the best ever man at everything, mainly fighting.
- Everything goes wrong and suddenly everyone in the world is against him.
- He fixes his eyes on the goal and takes every necessary risk, making every necessary sacrifice to get there.
- He kills the bad guys and ends up saving the day, and ends up marrying the most beautiful woman ever.
Ok, perhaps the whole marrying bit doesn’t happen in Gladiator, but I think you’ll be able to spot from the above that the storyline is pretty much identical to every James Bond film, the Bourne series, Lord of the Rings, Taken, Indiana Jones, Superman, Spider Man…actually, every single MAN film is exactly the same when it comes down to it.
And every chick flick’s the same:
- We’re introduced to a cute girl with a better life than any girl you know (although perhaps with some quirky characteristic).
- She meets a guy who really, really annoys her.
- Some funny stuff happens, normally involving water at some stage, which keeps forcing them together.
- It turns out that they both really like each other, so they live happily ever after.
Now compare this to the way we tend to talk about Christianity:
- We’re introduced to Adam and Eve, who lived a lovely life in the Garden, but they ate that fruit.
- Man keeps disobeying God’s rules, and now we’re in real trouble.
- Jesus came to us because he really loves us and will do anything to be in a personal relationship with us.
- We simply believe, and will be with him forever.
True, yes? And like a chick flick, yes? No wonder almost every church around the world is over-populated with women!
How’s about we start talking about Christianity more like this:
- God is infinitely powerful.
- Satan messed everything up to the point that man rebelled as well.
- God went on a mission and ended up dying to save the world.
- He came back to life and through that conquered sin and death, and welcomes us to join him on his adventure!
Maybe that sounds more appealing to men. Just a thought.