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Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
by Kurt Bruner, Jim Ware
ISBN 0842355715 / 9780842355711 / 0-8423-5571-5
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There's more to Middle-earth than meets the eye, argue Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien, a devout Christian, helped bring C.S. Lewis into the faith and met weekly with Lewis and Charles Williams at an Oxford pub for heated religious and literary discussions that informed The Lord of the Rings. Although Bruner and Ware avoid any simplistic claim that Tolkien's saga is "a covert allegory of the Gospel," the authors assert that the books have evangelistic power because they "can open the heart's back door when the front door is locked." Twenty-one short chapters describe various scenes and themes from Tolkien's work in order to illustrate truths of Christian life. For instance, Frodo and Sam's awareness that their adventures are part of a larger story "reflects the Christian understanding of providence, that we are all part of a story being written by the creator of all that is." Finding God successfully clarifies the ways that Tolkien's Christian worldview influenced the creation of his fantasy world, while respecting the artistic integrity of his achievement. --Michael Joseph Gross [via]