Monday, September 18, 2017

"Finding God in the Lord of the Rings" by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware

This is a fantastic little book.  It goes through the whole trilogy in chronological order, pulling out events and examining them in the light of Christianity to see what they contain.  Faith, hope, love, sacrifice, redemption, grace, desire, fear, death, weakness, danger -- there are so many wonderful topics packed into this book!

While it's set up so you could use it as a devotional, reading one section a day, I didn't read it that way -- I gobbled it up as fast as I could, underlining and scribbling madly in the margins.  I'm teaching my niece high school lit again this year, and we're reading The Lord of the Rings together as our first project.  Delightful!  I'm drawing on this book for a lot of the themes we're discussing.

Particularly Good Bits:

Tolkien understood that our lives are part of a grand drama that both transcends and explains our experiences.  The drama's narrative infuses meaning into scenes and events that would otherwise seem arbitrary and meaningless.  Tolkien saw the adventure of our lives, like the adventure of his hobbits, as part of a story that began "once upon a time" and is moving toward its eventual "ever after" (p. xi).

C. S. Lewis believed that our desire for something better is a gift, a way of reminding us of what it is we lost and what it is we hope to regain (p. 2).

Tolkien saw our world as neither completely right nor completely wrong, but rather as a good that has been violated, a beauty marred.  He realized that the only way we can understand that which occurs within time is to view it within the context of that which occurred before and beyond time (p. 4).

The true forces of evil in our world are rarely haphazard or indiscriminate.  The occasional mad gunman notwithstanding, the history of mankind shows that the most destructive wickedness is devious and determined.  Violent insanity is far less trouble than diabolical brilliance (p. 18).

It is only when we humble ourselves by acknowledging that we don't know everything that we are able to learn from others (p. 22).

Middle-earth, in other words, is a hauntingly luminous mirror image of our world.  For we know that the world in which we live is a perilous place, a place where good and bad, light and dark, innocence and horror, glory and depravity march side by side and sleep back-to-back.  We forget this at times, of course.  In the course of our dull daily routines we often grow numbly accustomed to it all.  But there are those moments when we wake suddenly in the middle of the night and remember that we are, after all, surrounded by terrors (p. 33).

It is our human destiny to participate with God in the ongoing work of creation (p. 112).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Absolutely clean and God-pleasing.



I wrote this review specifically for this year's Tolkien Blog Party.  If you haven't yet, check out the blog tag and enter the giveaway.  There will be more posts coming this week, including games and another Tolkien-related book review.



This is also my 7th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017.

16 comments:

  1. Another cool little book to add to my wishlist. Someday I will do a LOTR study.
    : )

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    1. Ruth, I'm kind of doing a LOTR study this year, just reading a whole bunch of books about it that I've acquired over the years and not read yet. Plus re-reading LOTR. It's lovely fun!

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  2. This sounds super interesting and I added it on goodreads. :D

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    1. Natalie, I hope you can find it, because it is a gem.

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  3. Hey, I have this book! I haven't read it yet, but I picked it up at a thrift store a while back and it looked promising. :) And I really liked this review! You're teaching your niece high school lit and reading LotR?!?! That is awesome. :D

    And those quotes are fantastic. I especially love the ones from pg. 2, 4, and 33. :) And the one from pg. 22 is so true. Ouch.

    Great review! I'm glad to know you have a good opinion of it; that makes me more eager to read it. :)

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    1. Olivia, so cool you found this at a thrift store! I am not even sure anymore where I got it -- I've had it on my TBR shelves for quite a while.

      And yeah, I taught my niece last year too, but we studied various books and short stories. This year, we're reading about 3 chapters a week of LOTR, and if we finish it before the end of the school year, we'll do something else. She lives halfway across the country, so we do it all online, and have some really cool discussions.

      I hope you find time for this book soon!

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  4. I'm not religious, but I appreciate how Lewis's religion informed his work. And on the light side, "The Screwtape Letters"--what a hoot!

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    1. John Smith, The Screwtape Letters has been on my to-read list for over a decade now. I bought a copy this summer, so hoping I'll find time to read it soon!

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  5. I really enjoyed this review! I love the Lord of the Rings and when it ties into Christianity it's just the most beautiful thing. All those quotes are really good; I particularly like the ones from p. xi, p. 2, and p. 33. And I love how you are reading Lord of the Rings for your literature class with your niece. I recently became an aunt so this gives me a really good idea for the future :)
    Thank you!
    -Lydia

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    1. Lydia, I'm glad you liked it! This book was so, so good.

      Being an aunt just keeps getting more fun!

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    2. Thanks! I can't wait to read it one day.
      That's great :)
      -Lydia

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  6. I loved this book!!! XD It was so good. :-D

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    1. M.E.M. -- how cool you've read it too! I was just talking to a friend at church about it, and she said she'd gotten it for her daughters when they were in their teens. It's definitely a gem!

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  7. How wonderful! This book looks extremely good! I will have to get it. I love being able to get closer to God through books!!

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    1. MC, I love that too! I hope you can get it, because it's really great.

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