10 Nov 2015

Was Tolkien Manichaean?

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15,19)1 Perhaps I am being a smidgen anachronistic, but I am starting to wonder if Paul, in composing those famous lines in his letter to the Christians in Rome,

Chris Casberg 4
11 Sep 2015

Wanderlust

All those golden autumn days the sky was full of wings. . . The wings and the golden weather and the tang of frost in the mornings made Laura want to go somewhere. She did not know where. She wanted only to go. “Let’s go West,” she said one night after supper. “Pa, can’t we go West when Uncle Henry does?” . . . “I know, little Half-pint,” said Pa, and his voice was very

Johanna Byrkett 6
26 Sep 2014

Tending the Tree of Friendship

Think for a moment of the most famous friendships in history and literature. What names come to mind? For me it is always King David and Jonathan; Frodo and Samwise; and Anne and Diana. In my own life there are nearly a dozen soul-knit friends, kindred spirits, whom God has seen fit to bring into the dark places when all other lights go out. Usually they come singly, but sometimes in pairs. Always they bring

Johanna Byrkett 0
23 Sep 2014

Speaking Through Stories

A friend of mine recently commented that he sees too many references to C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien in the blogging world. As someone who tries to stay connected to the conversations of the interwebs, I can confirm that there are indeed a plethora of perspectives penned on these great 20th century authors. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without seeing an article evaluating what Lewis would have thought about this, or

Jacob Prahlow 2
25 Aug 2014

My Spiritual Guide, Tolkien

I was a fan of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit years before I discovered the beautiful example of faith in the life and writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read the Lord of the Rings as a middle schooler and frequently watched Peter Jackson’s screen interpretations, but I did not learn about Tolkien’s Catholic faith, his Eucharistic devotion, and the Christian truth driving the myth of his sub-creation of Middle Earth until my

Laura Norris 1
11 Aug 2014

The Virgin Mary in “The Lord of the Rings”

Author’s Note: This post falls as part of a series on female saints, but since there is so much that can be said about the greatest of all saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary, I chose to focus on her as represented in the literature and movies of the Lord of the Rings, which provides a familiar common ground for many of us. The Lord of the Rings books and movies depict some of the strongest

Laura Norris 5
02 Jul 2014

Inquisitive Gardeners

I never imagined myself writing the following sentence: I am a bit like Gollum. No, I don’t mean that I have a funny cough, proclivity to use the word “precious”, or frequently talk to myself (though, some might disagree on that last point). Nor am I trying to draw an abstract analogy about wrestling with sin nature. No, Gollum and I have similar passions, which Tolkien superbly describes: The most inquisitive and curious-minded of that

Jeff Reid 5
18 Jun 2014

Fidelity in the Dark

I am constantly amazed by the poets’ ability to capture facets of human experience. Recently, Emily Dickinson caught my attention with her poem “The Duel”: I took my power in my hand And went against the world; ‘T was not so much as David had, But I was twice as bold. I aimed my pebble, but myself Was all the one that fell. Was it Goliath was too large, Or only I too small?1 Two

Jeff Reid 3