Tolkien's Ordinary Virtues: Exploring the Spiritual Themes of The Lord of the Rings
If you have read Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, you know of its incredible ability to draw us into its story, into the battle between right and wrong, good and evil. And you have likely been inspired by the portrayal of various characters and their heroic actions. Mark Eddy Smith is a reader who has been dramatically impacted by Tolkien and Tolkien's characters. Smith reminds us just how good Tolkien's heroes really were, as he looks at Tolkien's insightful portrayal of 30 biblical virtues.
Though The Lord of the Rings is, indeed, myth, it is a myth truer to life than the reality many people live in. Tolkien's characters are filled with heroic, even godly, virtues like simplicity, generosity, friendship, hospitality, and faith. Smith highlights passages of The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion which portray these virtues and many others. More a lesson on applicability than an allegory, Tolkien's portrayals are the best kind of sermon, the kind that tells a story.
Smith has been captivated by Tolkien's ability to tell a true and good story, and he shares that captivation as he looks at memorable characters like Frodo Baggins, Sam Gamgee, Aragorn, and Faramir, explaining why they are so memorable. They are memorable because they are virtuous, living out goodness, simplicity, love, trust, and trustworthiness as they undertake their quest. We have much to learn from the heroes of The Lord of the Rings, and they can point us toward those truths about character and virtue found in the Bible. Smith reminds us that Tolkien was indeed shaped by his Christian faith, and his books are ample evidence of that. Let yourself be swept away by the laudable and virtuous behavior of true heroes.
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