For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: — Romans 1:20
My wife is the best. Last night she surprised me with a date night. She took me out for supper and then to the early release of “Tolkien.” The feature film appears officially in theaters today. Tolkien absorbed and reported on the “invisible things” that Paul mentions above. Someone I read called him the most influential Christian evangelist of the 20th century.
You’re thinking, “Say whhhaaat?! Everybody knows that was Billy Graham.” Were JRR Tolkien alive he would agree with you. He didn’t aspire to be a Christian evangelist. He loved God, language and myth. He created the twentieth centuries most potent myth … probably in more languages than he could have imagined.
I suspect the original movie trilogy of “Lord of the Rings” has touched hearts and souls in many languages. I’m sure the books have been translated into many languages as well. Tolkien rarely talked or wrote about Jesus Christ or the Bible. He was a cradle Catholic who remained faithful to his mother’s religion until he died in 1973. In fact … one of his regrets was not persuading his good friend, C.S. Lewis, to cross the Tiber.
These two men have done more than most Christians in the past century to fortify the faith worldwide. They did so by focusing their incredible minds on writing about Paul’s invisible things. To further illustrate Paul’s idea above from his letter to the Romans Tolkien and Lewis acted as little creators and made worlds for our imaginations that did no violence to the Faith. In fact, their worlds … their narrative (to use a modern construct) … made Christianity MORE — not less — believable and necessary.
Their stories are classics because their stories make no demand on the will. Tolkien more than Lewis succeeded at this.
Tolkien hated allegory while Lewis wrote it. Narnia is an allegory. Lord of the Rings is a myth. Both succeeded in being persuasive without using coercion — without asking you to change your mind about anything. Your thinking is changed by these stories magically. Their stories appeal to every human persons longing to know more about the invisible things.
We all love romantic quests. We must slay dragons. We are born to save the distressed maiden. Honor, virtue and
courage demand it.
These invisible qualities of the soul must be nourished by stories. Jesus did it with parables.
Tolkien created the parable of the 20th century. The stories move us to action. My quest for today and tomorrow is a full frontal assault on the baby murder mill in Louisville Kentucky. You can’t be there in body. You can be there in spirit. Get saved by living your calling in Jesus.