Michael J. Kruger explains how reading The Lord of the Rings can have real world significance. Tolkien's purpose was much more than just telling a good story:
More today [10/16] about Tolkien's Middle Earth from Charlie Starr, at the C.S. Lewis Blog reviewing The Christian World of The Hobbit
Tolkien explained that one of the reasons for writing Lord of the Rings was “the elucidation of truth and the encouragement of good morals in this real world, by the ancient device of exemplifying them in unfamiliar embodiments, that may tend to ‘bring them home.’” He understood that there is something edifying and encouraging and uplifting about seeing others follow truth. This, of course, is the whole point of Hebrews 11, to look back to the saints of old and see how they faithfully trusted the Lord. Why? So that we can say, “Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” (Heb 12:1).
But, as edifying as Tolkien’s works are, we should not have to look only to fictional stories to find heroes. We also ought to be able to find them in the modern day. Sometimes what keeps us running the Christian race is when we look at others around us who are running it well. ....
Tolkien then has offered us a compelling vision for the importance of moral examples in the Christian life. His work reminds us that how we live really does matter. .... [more]
What Devin Brown does best in his new book, The Christian World of The Hobbit (Abingdon Press, 2012), is give his readers access. There is a subtly to Tolkien’s Middle-earth tales which makes them an enigma from the beginning. Brown offers several keys to The Hobbit’s mysteries, keys which open doors and give us entry into Tolkien’s hidden world, a world which is unabashedly Christian at its deepest foundations.Where Have All the Heroes Gone? The Refreshing Moral Vision of Lord of the Rings | Canon Fodder, C. S. Lewis Blog: The Christian World of The Hobbit
The Hobbit is not an allegory of Christian truth, but a vision of the world. Christian themes nevertheless flow beneath Tolkien’s Middle-earth, and Brown focuses on three of them: providence, purpose and morality.
As in the books of Ruth and Esther, a divine hand is not overtly present in Middle-earth, yet Bilbo’s journey is filled with a strange luck, a providence which “seems to help Bilbo when he needs help but not always when he wants it” (Brown 52). A mysterious power works behind all things in The Hobbit, echoing the mysterious ways in which God works in the world. .... [more]