I always find it a lonely space to occupy as a considerate Tolkien fan and follower. There remains an inevitable divide between those who miss his ability to critique his Christian worldview and allegiances while also very intentionally writing stories and creating treaties steeped in what he saw as the “true myth” of Christ which could make sense of all the worlds stories.
My deep and abiding love for the recent Tolkien biopic contrasts with criticisms from the Christian world saying it betrayed his Christian convictions, missing the ways it captures his critique of the Tradition he holds dear, while my deep and abiding love for LOTR and related stories contrasts with those who remain critical of christianity and/or those who do not believe in christ who write disertations and think pieces meant to distance LOTR from anything Christ-centered, missing how his stories also operated as a critique of the world at large that he occupied in time and space from within his Christian worldview.
The Inklings remain the product of the perfect confluence of time, space, culture, circumstance, and opportunity. Something unlikely to be replicated but which remain an inspiration, and for me Tolkien remains one of its most captivating voices, a timeless critique that slices through the center of our divisions with something more hopeful. This article captures some of that with the recent Amazonj limited series.
“Why does America need to remember Tolkien again? Because we’re mired in Westeros, playing the game of thrones. When you hear words like “fight fire with fire,” or “make them play by their own rules,” or “punch back twice as hard,” or “wield power to reward friends and punish enemies,” you’re hearing an ethos that declares, “win or die.”
“Tolkien wasn’t naive. He knew that world. He’d confronted it directly. That’s why characters like Boromir or Fëanor resonate so strongly. In the quest to confront the enemy, you become the enemy. Yet faithful people understand, in Faramir’s words, that they “do not wish for such triumphs.” Instead, they fix their eyes on the “high beauty” that is forever beyond the shadow’s reach.”