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Recently named the number-one piece of twentieth century literature, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is more than a great story. It's a much-needed reminder that, like J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbits, we Christians are all on an epic quest. In examining the Christian themes in the trilogy, authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware find that truth and fiction are not as far apart as they sRecently named the number-one piece of twentieth century literature, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is more than a great story. It's a much-needed reminder that, like J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbits, we Christians are all on an epic quest. In examining the Christian themes in the trilogy, authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware find that truth and fiction are not as far apart as they seem. And that although Tolkien never intended for these books to present the gospel, when read in the light of Scripture they offer a rich tapestry of redemption, values, and faith against all odds from which we may learn much....

Title : Finding God in the Lord of the Rings
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ISBN : 9780842355711
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Finding God in the Lord of the Rings Reviews

  • David Sarkies
    2018-10-27 17:30

    A Christian's endorsement of The Lord of the Rings20 August 2014 Isn't it funny the type of books that Christian writers will write. I have read one book called 'Harry Potter and the Bible' that spent 275 pages completely trashing the series and explaining why nobody should actually read it. However, when it comes to Tolkien, some of the Christians take a complete about face and make the statement 'oh, but Tolkien was a Christian, so his writings are actually okay', and then produce a 144 page book explaining why, despite the Lord of the Rings being a fantasy novel, it is okay for Christians to read it. Okay, maybe I should be using this time to explain why, or why not, one should consider reading this book, but I am currently sitting on the XPT travelling between Sydney and Melbourne, and I felt that I might bring up this rather interesting aspect with regards to some Christian sects. Oh, I also felt that I should actually write a commentary on something, and since I do not have internet (due to me being in the middle of the Australian bush, and the coverage not being all that wonderful) writing a commentary on Practical Planetology is not feasible, so I decided to write down my thoughts on this book instead. Anyway, I could talk about how this book shows us that the Lord of the Rings is about sticking by one's friends, helping one carry their burden, the idea that even the smallest of us can end up performing the greatest of tasks, but don't we know that all anyway because, well, we have all seen the movie (or I assume that we have all seen the movie). What I think this book does is that he tries to help those Christians who are wondering whether they should read Lord of the Rings because it is, well, set in a fantasy world and there are magic and monsters in it, and doesn't the church tell us to stay well away from that? In response to that idea I would put through a couple of thoughts. First of all by reading this book as opposed to reading Lord of the Rings would be pointless because, well, even if you didn't know the story (and I assume you do because you've all seen the movies, haven't you?) there are so many spoilers in this book such as (view spoiler)[Frodo succeeds in throwing the ring into the Cracks of Doom (hide spoiler)] and (view spoiler)[Gollum dies at the end (hide spoiler)] that it would spoil your reading of the actual story, and if you didn't know the story you might end up being a little confused and not really understand the points that are being made. Then there is the argument that similar books have been written for other shows, such as The Gospel According to the Simpsons. I used to love the Simpsons, but I would hardly say that that show espouses what one would call 'Christian values'. The faithful neighbour (Ned Flanders) is mocked and ridiculed and the local pastor makes a mockery of everything that a pastor should be doing. In fact the town seem to all go to church simply because that is the thing to do. Also I would hardly call Homer the model of a good husband (though I must admit that he does have his noble side at times). Further, in my exploration of book shops I have also discovered a number of books such as Star Wars and Philosophy and Lord and the Rings and Philosophy which seems to bring out a secular treatment of these particular stories, which simply goes to show that if you read into something deep enough you can get anything out of it (such as discovering ancestor worship in Jane Eyre).

  • Laura
    2018-11-06 10:16

    This is a collection of short devotionals written by a guy from Focus, where every chapter can be, and is, neatly summarized in one sentence. If I had realized that before I picked up the book, I would have adjusted my expectations accordingly. As it was, I expected something more theologically nuanced and was disappointed. So far as the take-home points go, they're not bad, but they're so simplistic. The writing is clumsy, too; I spotted word-choice problems, perhaps malapropisms, in a couple of places (like referring to the post-War Shire as an "illicit province"). If the authors had taken each of the four-to-six-page chapters and expanded each into a really thoughtful and textured exploration of the theological and textual issue, five times the length, I would have loved to read that. But that would be a different book.

  • Kris
    2018-10-30 17:12

    Over-simplified. Filled with rhetorical questions and repetitive statements. More devotional than analytical.With vague summaries at the end of each short chapter -- things like "We were made to be heroic" -- there's not much point to this book. It's wishy-washy modern evangelicalism. And even though Bruner's premise seems to have been marketed as intellectual and academic, the tone feels geared for a very young audience. Only the last chapter has any redeeming qualities, bringing up some good ideas associated specifically with Tolkien and Lewis.What audience is this meant for anyway? Are some Christians so scared of fantasy that they need a watered-down version of the plot, stuck alongside vague Christianese principles, in order to get anything out of Tolkien's writing? After this disappointment, I'm not sure I want to even look into Finding God in the Land of Narnia.This review makes some other good points: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  • Dominick
    2018-11-05 13:09

    I considered giving this book one star, but that ultimately seemed too harsh, since I can't really say I DISliked it. But it's just so ... banal. Basic formula: each short chapter begins with a several-paragraph summary of an important point in the novel, then follows it with associations to Christian belief, notably through scripture citation, and ends with a reflection ("An evil heart is mystified by the ways of good," "Our hearts yearn for the good that God is," that sort of thing). The result is probably accurate enough in a very basic way but superficial, reductive and frankly dull.

  • Nicole Pramik
    2018-10-20 12:29

    I got this book when it was first released, which (I think) corresponded to the initial release of Peter Jackson's epic The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. It was the first book I got that discussed the Christian themes in Tolkien's work and, for that, I'm grateful as it led me to further study Tolkien's expansive bibliography, its connections to Christian theology, and the inspirations for his own stories.I confess, I'm a bit surprised by all of the low-star ratings for this book as, content-wise, it isn't that bad nor is it grossly erroneous in its theology (and simply rating a book low because one discovers that it's Christian in its content or approach isn't a sufficient reason, in my opinion). Granted, it's important to note that this book is intended to deliver just a basic overview of the Christian themes in The Lord of the Rings. Thus, this serves as a good introduction to the topic at large but isn't intended to serve as the only source. With all due respect to my fellow reviewers here, I disagree that this text is "shallow" as perhaps the better term, I believe, would be "basic," which, to me, carries different connotations. A shallow book is fluff with no substance; but a basic work is one that simply touches the surface of a deeper, larger topic. Just because a book is basic doesn't mean it has nothing to offer. By way of example (and this will be an odd example but it's what came to mind): "Sesame Street" can teach children how to count and read, but it can't teach (nor is it designed to teach) children how to formulate an argument using the Toulmin model or perform algebraic equations. In the same way, Finding God in The Lord of the Rings introduces readers to a primer of Christian theology in the novel, but it can't teach (nor is it design to teach) the more complex symbolism and deeper theological underpinnings of Tolkien's works as a whole.That being said, some of the themes Finding God in The Lord of the Rings covers is the seductive influence of evil, the innate desire for good to overcome evil, the power of courage, and the dangers of spiritual complacency. These themes are generally discussed as such: a scene from the novel is isolated and summarized, followed by a brief discussion of the scene in light of the given theme, and ending with a single-sentence summary of the takeaway lesson. So, in a sense, this does read more like a devotional in terms of format, but given the book's intent and scope, I think that's okay. I will point out though that this does cover the entire story of The Lord of the Rings, so if you've not read beyond the chapters contained in The Fellowship of the Ring, be prepared for spoilers. For a fan of The Lord of the Rings who also would like an introductory primer on the various Christian themes present in the novel, I'd recommend this with the understanding that this is not a work of in-depth, detailed scholarship. (For that, I'd recommend, off the top of my head, The Gospel According to Tolkien by Ralph C. Wood.) Overall, while I don't doubt that this was published thanks to the films' releases, I still have fond sentiments towards this book for the way it encouraged me to dive deeper into Tolkien's Christianity.

  • Ariel Paiement
    2018-11-03 10:07

    This devotional book made many good arguments and applications to everyday life using the Lord of the Rings. It was easy to understand and intriguing as well as well-grounded doctrinally and scripturally. I enjoyed the book and I found the lessons taught through Tolkien's Lord of the Rings helpful and meaningful. I would say, however, that the one sentence applications were a little bit simplified and watered down. The authors could have taken it deeper. But apart from that, since I had no real expectations before hand, I did like the book. It is not something that someone not already familiar with Lord of the Rings will easily understand. If you have not read the books, you will want to read them first if you intend to read this book. I highly recommend doing this even if you've watched the movie based off of The Lord of the Rings because there are significant differences as is the case with nearly every movie based on a book.

  • Dave Jones
    2018-11-05 15:14

    I originally experienced this book via audio-book. However, this was destroyed and I received this in book form as a Christmas gift.Good summary of the plot and major themes. The authors do a good job comparing these to Biblical principles and doctrines. In its book form it serves as a decent devotional.

  • Neil McCrea
    2018-11-16 11:28

    It's about what one would expect from the title. It was given to me by well meaning family members attempting to keep me on the straight and narrow.

  • Miranda
    2018-11-10 15:23

    This book was OK. It's so short, it's worth a read if you can spare the time, but keep your expectations low, and maybe you'll be more satisfied that I was. I was expecting to read something on par with Looking for God in Harry Potter by John Granger, and I was disappointed. In short, it was over-simplified and vague. And I'm left with the impression that many of the LOTR summaries were longer than the "analysis." I'll end with one more complaint: why tell readers in the introduction that you expect us to have read the books, yet you spend so much of your word count on dictating plot?!

  • Rebekah Schrepfer
    2018-10-21 10:20

    This book was reviewed at MostlySensible.comThe Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of my favorite works of fiction! J.R.R. Tolkien left us a masterful story that has captured the imagination of yet another generation since its first publication. However, I must disagree with these authors’ premise that one can “find God” therein. Even though the authors carefully avoid calling the trilogy a “covert allegory of the Gospel,” I do not think it “can open the heart’s back door when the front door is locked.”The trilogy does give us wonderful lessons of bravery, friendship, sacrifice, love, the nature of evil, and even the concept of Providence, all done with an incredible amount of imagination. The story does start with a Christian world-view, as opposed to Dualism (Star Wars) or outright Occultism (Harry Potter). The story does have an “ultimate Creator-Being” who vaguely controls the direction of Middle Earth, and there are some Christian themes (the King returning, ultimate defeat of Evil, etc.). But we ought not to equate these good morals with some sort of new method of spreading the Gospel. The good lessons are not specific enough to give us a complete lesson in Christianity, much less to give us the whole Gospel. I fear that we are going overboard in our pre-evangelism when a work of mere fiction is used in witnessing. Let us remember that Tolkien was a Catholic with a works-based view of salvation.Even C.S. Lewis said, “I do not think the resemblance between the Christian and the merely imaginative experience is accidental. I think that all things, in their way, reflect heavenly truth, the imagination not least. ‘Reflect’ is the important word. This lower life of the imagination is not a beginning of, nor a step toward, the higher life of the spirit, merely an image.” (C.S. Lewis, Surprised By Joy.)

  • Tommy Grooms
    2018-11-14 12:24

    This book is basically a series of devotionals tied to events, characters, and themes in The Lord of the Rings.The problem I had with it is that I've been thinking about Tolkien's world in a Christian context for so long (Tolkien was a big step on my path to becoming a follower of Christ) that I anticipated most all of the connections before they were explained, or at the very least had heard them elsewhere. This isn't exactly higher-level thinking. I also didn't much like the paraphrasing of parts of Tolkien's story to set the stage before each point was made. I've read LOTR before, thank you, and it was written better.Between anticipating the connections before they happened and my familiarity with all of the paraphrased events, this short book actually became pretty tedious.I suspect that, Christian and obsessed Tolkien fan that I am, this book wasn't meant for me exactly, but for someone less initiated in either Christianity or LOTR, or who had never thought to make any connection between the two. For that audience this may be a very interesting book, but there was little new here for me.

  • Elizabeth Zimmerman
    2018-11-10 14:23

    To be honest, I encountered this same subject in another book I was using for a paper for my FYS last fall. I read this because I love the subject, but the rhetoric was too simplistic for me. I felt like I was being lectured. I didn't like how they divided the plot up into neat little sections with the correct sprinklings of Bible verses and apropos real-life examples. It felt too tidy. The Lord of the Rings is much more complicated than this book makes it out to be. However, I enjoyed the subject enough to give it a generous 3 stars. On another note, a Quaker hymn they mention towards the end book just might end up in ink on my body.

  • Ledys
    2018-10-25 16:20

    Interesting book about different elements of The Lord of the Rings, analyzed from a Christian perspective. Clearly, there is no way to know wether Tolkien had any of that in mind when he wrote the book, but I enjoyed reading about the authors' perspective of why Tolkien's work is so relevant for people today.

  • Ron
    2018-10-27 09:13

    An excellent series of essays exploring the deeeper truths of Tolkien's famous books.

  • Andy Hickman
    2018-10-28 12:16

    Bruner, Kurt, and Jim Ware. Finding God in The Lord of the Rings. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2001."Just as a word is an invention about an object or an idea, so a story can be an invention about Truth..." (J.R.R. Tolkien) This book is probably more about delving into Tolkien's intent than it is about 'God'.Worth reading.Below is an article that precipitated Jim Ware's involvement in this project- - - “Finding God in The Lord of the Rings” by Jim Ware It was a dark and stormy night. Well, windy, at any rate. On the grounds of Magdalen College, Oxford, two tweed-jacketed, pipe-puffing professors go crunching down the gravel path known as Addison's Walk, under the deeper shadows of a grove of trees. "Look!" says one of them, a tall, long-faced fellow with the furrowed brow and twinkling eyes of a sage . . . or wizard. He points to a large oak. "There it stands," he says, "its feet in the earth, its head among the stars. A majestic miracle of creation! And what do we call it? A tree." He laughs. "The word falls absurdly short of expressing the thing itself." "Exactly," says the first man. "And here's my point: Just as a word is an invention about an object or an idea, so a story can be an invention about Truth." The other rubs his chin. "I've loved stories since I was a boy," he muses. "You know that, Tollers! Especially stories about heroism and sacrifice, death and resurrection-like the Norse myth of Balder. But when it comes to Christianity . . . well, that's another matter. I simply don't understand how the life and death of Someone Else (whoever He was) 2,000 years ago can help me here and now." "But don't you see, Jack?" persists his friend. "The Christian story is the greatest story of them all. Because it's the Real Story. The historical event that fulfills the tales and shows us what they mean. The tree itself-not just a verbal invention." Jack stops and turns. "Are you trying to tell me that in the story of Christ . . . all the other stories have somehow come true?" A week and a half later, Jack-better known to most of us as C.S. Lewis, teacher, author, defender of the Christian faith, and creator of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia-writes to his friend Arthur Greeves: "I have just passed on from believing in God to definitely believing in Christ-in Christianity. My long night talk with Tolkien had a great deal to do with it." June, 2001 A muggy, dusty afternoon at the local Renaissance Festival. I'm taking a break in the shade with my fellow festival musicians. Around us swirls a crowd of armored knights, brown-robed friars, gauzy-winged fairies, and white-whiskered wizards. It's the closest thing to the Middle Ages-or Middle-earth-that you're likely to find here at the beginning of the 21st century. Tom, a fiddler in a feathered cap, asks what I've been up to. I tell him about the writing project I've taken on with my friend and collaborator, Kurt Bruner: a book of Christian reflections on The Lord of the Rings. "The Lord of the Rings!" laughs Tom (who does not consider himself a believer). "Isn't that a pretty pagan book?" December, 2001 New Line Cinema's big-screen version of The Fellowship of the Ring-part one of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and one of the most anticipated film events of the past several decades-hits the theaters after more than a year of hobbit-hype. Since January, fans have been visiting movie-related Web sites and waiting in line overnight just to see the trailer. So forget about Star Wars and Space Odyssey. In 2001, the place to be is Middle-earth. And yet, hype or no hype, there are a few filmgoers who are still wondering what it's all about. Especially serious-minded Christians. Elves, dwarves, wizards, goblins, magic rings-haven't we been through this kind of thing before-recently? Isn't The Lord of the Rings just another romp through the occultic world of Harry Potter? For answers, let's go back to Jack and "Tollers." Background "Tollers" (a nickname used by some of his closest friends) was, of course, J. R. R. Tolkien himself: creator of Middle-earth and author of The Lord of the Rings, the fantasy trilogy hailed by some as "the book of the 20th century." And yes: It was Tolkien who helped Lewis take that final decisive step toward faith in Christ. Their long night talk about symbols and verbal inventions was just the beginning. Through the years, Lewis and Tolkien were to spend long hours refining their ideas and incorporating them into their literary art. In part, they did this with the help of a group of like-minded Christian friends: The Inklings. Tuesday mornings at the Eagle and Child (an Oxford pub); Thursday evenings in Lewis' rooms at Magdalen; year in and year out, the Inklings met, talked, sipped tea, and critiqued one another's manuscripts-in-progress: books like Lewis' That Hideous Strength, Williams' The Place of the Lion, and, of course, The Lord of the Rings. Their goal? To find ways of pouring the steaming, bubbling, heady stuff of the Real Story into the molds of their own invented stories. Intentions Just how serious were these writers about the Christian purpose of their "verbal inventions"? Let's ask them. Lewis made no secret of his intentions. "Supposing," he once asked himself, reflecting on the nature of God, the sufferings of Christ, and other fundamental Christian truths, "that by casting all these things into an imaginary world, stripping them of their stained-glass and Sunday school associations, one could make them for the first time appear in their real potency. . . ." This, he said, is exactly what he was trying to do in The Chronicles of Narnia. As for Tolkien, he would have been shocked and angered to hear Tom refer to his work as pagan. "The Lord of the Rings," he wrote in a letter to a friend, "is of course a fundamentally religious and Christian work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision." Humphrey Carpenter, author of Tolkien's authorized biography, takes this claim seriously. Tolkien's writings, he says, are "the work of a profoundly religious man." According to Carpenter, God is essential to everything that happens in The Lord of the Rings. Without Him, Middle-earth couldn't exist. But be forewarned: Evidences of God's presence are not as obvious in Tolkien's work as in Lewis' more allegorical style of writing. They are there, however-firmly embedded in the tales he insisted on calling "inventions about Truth." In fact, if you know what to look for, you may find them popping up everywhere. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you set out on the quest. "The Story" First, stay alert to the importance of story. The Lord of the Rings is actually a story of stories-a vast web of histories, legends, tales, and songs in which every character has a crucial role to play. "What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven't we?" reflects Sam after a harrowing encounter with their enemies. As a Christian, Tolkien understood that we've been in a tale, too. Like the adventure of his hobbits, he saw the adventure of our lives as part of a story that begins "once upon a time" and moves toward its eventual "ever after"-a tale full of meaning and purpose, composed by the grandest Author of all. The Power of Sin You'll also want to keep an eye on Gollum, the pitiful, wretched creature who discovered the great Ring-his "Precious"-and kept it for many years in dark places under the earth. So long did he possess and cherish the sinister talisman that he has become the possessed. That's because Tolkien's Ring is an image of the unwholesome, perverting power of evil and self-serving sin-a progressive, growing, encroaching power that starts small and ends big. The apostle James described it like this: "Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:14-15). Good out of Evil Notice, too, that Middle-earth is full of battles and conflicts-images of the spiritual war in which we are engaged as Christians: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world" (Ephesians 6:12). We're not talking generic good vs. evil here. The evil in Tolkien's universe is personal. It takes shape as an Enemy who relentlessly hounds and pursues his prey with ill intent: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). That's not the end of the story, of course. Because at its deepest level, The Lord of the Rings is also a tale about the sovereignty of God. The God whose love and power are so great that He is able to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28). The God who uses even the Enemy's wicked designs to bring about the ultimate fulfillment of His perfect plan. Within that plan, even Gollum has an indispensable part to play in the saving of Middle-earth. As Tolkien wrote in The Silmarillion, "Evil may yet be good to have been . . . and yet remain evil."2 This is a great mystery and a profound Christian truth. Small Hands Can Do Great Things... Finally, take a close look at the members of the Fellowship of the Ring as they go trekking across the movie screen. Ask yourself which one looks the most like an epic hero. Is it the handsome, mysterious, swashbuckling Aragorn? Keen-sighted, swift-footed Legolas? Hard-fisted Gimli? Strong, dauntless Boromir? Wise and aged Gandalf? Each is a hero in his own way, of course. And yet not one of them is chosen to carry the perilous Ring into the heart of Mordor. Instead, it's a hobbit-a boyish-looking halfling-who bears the burden of the world to its final destination. This idea-that God uses small hands to accomplish great deeds-could almost be called the heart and soul of The Lord of the Rings. It's Moses and Pharaoh, David and Goliath, Gideon and the Midianites all over again. But the mission of Frodo and Sam isn't just your typical underdog story. It's something much more. In a way, it's a desperately needed reminder that God's ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8)-that when the power of evil confronts us with overwhelming odds on its side, the answer is not to fight fire with fire, but to look for deliverance in unexpected places. Hope and salvation, Tolkien seems to say, often arise in small, unnoticed corners. Like a hobbit-hole in the Shire. Or a manger in a Palestinian stable...

  • Grace
    2018-10-16 11:19

    "'My tongue is the pen of a skillful writer,' writes the psalmist in Psalm 45:1, beautifully expressing a reality Bilbo learned and we should do well to recover. Bilbo knew he was not the author but the instrument. The pen does not become arrogant or proud over what is written on the page. It is honored to have played any part at all in the creative act. It is when we struggle to take control and resist the author's intentions that we mar the story being told. [skip a few lines] So, for hobbit and human alike, recognizing that our small stories serve a much larger purpose can turn ordinary details of the daily grind into scenes of an extraordinary adventure!"There were many lines that were as thought provoking as that one in this book! I have loved the Lord of the Rings since I read them at the age of nine...and thereafter saw the fantastic movies. I have heard that Tolkien threw in some biblical aspects into his writings, and have often wondered how even the lesser-known parts were crafted in such a way to illustrate this. This was a good book. Though, like previous reviewers said, this only scratched the surface of subjects that could be explored much deeper. It definitely makes me more interested to do some research, and maybe find more books on the topic.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-17 11:05

    After reading Finding God in the Land of Narnia, I wanted to read this book, but unfortunately, no library had it, so I figured I'd only be able to read it if I bought it. Then my brother came down from the upstairs at the library and said, "I found this book called Finding God in the Lord of the Rings." I about jumped out of my chair and enthusiastically asked (as loudly, yet quietly as I could. I was in a library), "What?! Where? Show me!" My poor brother had no idea why I was so excited, but showed me as I attempted to explain why this was such exciting news. I didn't like this as much as the Narnia one, but the again, I don't like LOTR as much as Narnia either. I think that Narnia lends itself better to this kind of scrutiny, if you will, as it is intentionally an allegory, meant to reflect Christian teachings and things from the Bible. LOTR was not written that way, so while it does have Christian truths, they are almost accidental; a result of the worldview of the writer, rather than an intentional evangelism. In this way, some of the chapters seem maybe a little far fetched, but all in all, this was a good book and I'm very glad I was able to read it!

  • Mel Foster
    2018-10-28 09:02

    If you are looking for a literary or critical interpretation of Lord of the Rings, this is not the book for you. There are lots of other books out there.If you don't want spoilers regarding LotRs, this is not the book for you. A good chunk of every chapter(too much in fact for so little a book) is composed of the authors summarizing the action of Tolkien's novel.If you would like a Daily Bread-style devotional in casual prose centered around the contents of LotRs, then this is the book for you. I think it could be valuable and enjoyable as such, especially in a family setting. Since that was not what I had expected, I was rather put off by this book at first. There are parts that could function as good conversation starters. But the authors don't seem to be working in the context or knowledge of the literary criticism available on Tolkien, so there is a lack of depth in topics.

  • Paul Gaschen
    2018-10-17 11:18

    6/10 - There were parts of this book that I enjoyed reading. The authors took a novel approach to understanding Tolkein's work, and I appreciate the simplicity they used in their analysis. That being said, each chapter lacked the "deeper" level of analysis I was hoping to gain from approaching The Lord of the Rings from a Christian perspective. (I also wish they would have tied in the greater body of Tolkein's Middle Earth mythology, but I understand that might have been complicated). Overall, I would recommend this book to those who are just beginning their walk in the Christian faith and are looking for a way to engage and analyze culture.

  • Laura Chartier
    2018-11-07 15:13

    This was more of a devotional instead of an analyzation, which is what I was expecting.

  • Harriette
    2018-10-25 12:30

    These reflections find parallels between the biblical narrative and the world of Tolkien's imagination. They do so in a way that respects both sources and does not turn Lord of the Rings into an allegory.

  • Nathan Albright
    2018-10-29 11:20

    Like its companion volume on Finding God In The Hobbit, this volume is short and seeks to demonstrate the moral intent and worldview behind Tolkien's classic fantasy novel. Although The Lord Of The Rings is a much larger work of literature than The Hobbit, this book is somewhat shorter than its companion volume, coming in at around 120 or 130 pages worth of material including the introduction, but the text is somewhat smaller as well so it gets more writing on each page. Be that as it may, this book also is full of thoughtful analysis, scriptural exegesis, stories about Tolkien and about the book's authors and their fondness for this novel, and also contains thoughtful literary analysis. The book presupposes among its reading audience a familiarity with the novel, and so the book does not explain its citations, which would have required more length.In terms of its contents, this book contains about twenty chapters about material spread out over the six books of The Lord Of The Rings that average around five pages apiece or so. Among the massive amount of material to choose from, the authors select a blend of references that are familiar, like the eucatastrophe of Gollum helping to finish the quest of the ring, albeit unwittingly, along with more obscure matters such as the importance of being reminded of life in the face of death, the fact that what is good does not always appear so from outside appearance, and vice versa, the importance of wise counsel, the danger of seeking power for selfish benefit, and the need for redemption. The authors mix quotations from Tolkien's novel with scriptural citation and personal reflection, to make a book that is appealing and easy to read for those who are very familiar with The Lord Of The Rings as a novel. Since one of the stories mentioned is about Tom Bombadil, those who are only familiar with the movies will likely not understand this reference.As is the case with its companion volume, this book is full of thought-provoking material. For example, the authors have this to say about bulling: "Schoolyard bullies start by picking on the small, unpopular kids. Others watch from afar, glad that it's someone else being victimized. What they fail to realize is that their cowardly reluctance to defend the weakest kids will eventually bring about their own jeopardy,. Total playground intimidation is inevitable once the bully learns that he faces no opposition. Before you know it, every child will be terrorized." Although the book only discusses World War II a little, the authors of this book write in such a way that it is impossible not to think of the Lord of the Rings being connected with World War II and with the problem of fighting against evil without becoming evil. When one looks at strategic bombing and the nuclear bomb, perhaps the Allies did not succeed very well in that aim. Be that as it may, this book is a worthwhile companion in a series that demonstrates that God can be found even in fantasy books about dark times, demonstrating that to the extent that a belief in God motivates someone, that belief will be present in whatever they happen to create, something we would do well to realize and appreciate if we are creative people ourselves.

  • Chad Warner
    2018-11-01 12:05

    This is so shallow and reveals so little about the Christianity Tolkien wrote into The Lord of the Rings that it’s not worth reading. It reads like a short devotional to which the authors later added brief summaries from LotR. It barely references Tolkien’s own thoughts. It’s much less than I expected for the title and description.Each chapter is 2-3 pages of summary of part of LotR (in chronological order), then 2-3 pages of shallow application/devotion.I was hoping for something deeper, like Bilbo's Journey: Discovering the Hidden Meaning in The Hobbit.QuoteMany Christian believers at the beginning of the third millenium feel as if they have a great deal in common with the Elves at the end of Middle-earth’s Third Age. Our world is changing for the worse. Many fair things are passing away; indeed, many are already gone. The pall of evil is spreading, growing, engulfing everything. The post-Christian era has arrived and established permanent residency. A few islands of sanity and goodness remain, of course, a Rivendell here, a Lothlórien there, but soon they too will be swept away. We kept up a brave front as long as we could, but the eve of our departure is at hand. … The end is near. It’s at moments like these that … a small voice from behind says, ‘Sam Gamgee’s old Gaffer was right: where there’s life, there’s hope.’ … Suddenly remember we remember: Christ lives. And because he lives, the enemy’s defeat is certain. It's just a matter of time.

  • Vivian
    2018-10-29 13:05

    The nicest part of this quick-to-read slim volume was revisiting moments in "The Lord of the Rings". The primary use for this work would be for a daily devotional message. There are 21 chapter messages, each ending with a capsule "reflection". Stories from the Bible are infused into each topic explored and fleshed out with passages of scripture from a modern layman's translation. (I so much prefer the language in the King James' translation of the Bible that I could hardly bear to read these excerpts).I appreciated the author's thoughts on fantasy in the epilogue. He asks, "What was Tolkien's purpose in writing books of fantasy?" He tells us that Tolkien's definition of fantasy is "sub-creative art", the goal of which is to make a "secondary world" which is marked by "the inner consistency of reality." He goes on to say that "fantasy is a natural human activity." These thoughts are followed by several pages of examples and quotes which I will not include in this summary.Examples of the format:Chapter "Shutting Out Night" Rings story excerpt: the Old Forest, Tom Bombadil, and Goldberry. Reflection: "Fear is conquered and strength renewed as we celebrate the goodness of God's creation and luxuriate in His love."Chapter "Hidden Courage". Rings story excerpt: The Barrow-wight. Bible story: David and Goliath. Reflection: "We were made to be heroic."Chapter "The Last Homely House". Rings story excerpt: the pause at Rivendell. Bible story: Peter, John and James with Jesus on the Mount (Luke 9:28-33). Reflection: "Way stations are important, but they should never be mistaken for the journey's end."

  • Brent King
    2018-10-19 17:16

    Finding God in the Lord of the Rings is a book my children and I have enjoyed over the years. It is written by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware, who apply their considerable wisdom to the world of Hobbits, Wizards, Elves, and Men. They have coauthored other similar books, a book on Narnia and His Dark Materials among them.In the early years, while we were still reading The Lord of the Rings, this book especially interested my kids. It gave all of us a clearer understanding of the Christian world view behind The Lord of the Rings. Just as we have read Tolkien’s tale repeatedly, so we have read through this book again and again.It is divided up into short sections, each spotlighting a theme illustrated by part of the story. Each contains some of the drama in The Lord of the Rings and a lesson to be learned from it. Some of our favorites chapters are Mysterious Light (on how goodness blindsides evil), A Crown of Flowers (on how evil cannot prevail), and Singing in the Dark (on how a song can brighten the darkness). All of the reflections are clear and uplifting.This is an encouraging book with Christian themes that many lovers of The Lord of the Rings will enjoy. I highly recommend it.Age Range: 6 and upGenre: fantasyPages: 120Publisher: Tyndale House PublishersReleased: 2001

  • Jenny
    2018-10-18 16:23

    Really enjoyed this. A series of Christian reflections on LOTR. It's not about what Tolkein was thinking as he wrote (though this comes up, because he was writing from a Christian perspective), but more a drawing of parallels between aspects of the story, the Bible and our own faith walk. The chapters are short enough to read one each day, and each chapter ends with a short reflective sentence.

  • Sarah
    2018-10-20 17:17

    The authors aptly refer to this work as a collection of "Christian reflections" (p. 109) - they include key events throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy and connect these events to essential tenets of Christianity. This is not a difficult read and may not be too profound, but it is perfect for any Christian who loves Tolkien's work. I love the idea of seeing Christ anywhere and everywhere. Regardless of whether Tolkien ever actually espoused these connections or not (although his Christian perspective cannot be denied in his writings) is not of grave importance to me. I love that I can now read and watch The Lord of the Rings with a new, Christian perspective to better understand and appreciate what Christ and God have done for me through yet another medium.

  • Adam Townsend
    2018-11-05 15:23

    I found this book to be much more enjoyable and thought provoking than my initial thoughts when I first picked it up. I saw it not so much as trying to find God in Lord of the Rings, but instead a great book of sermon illustrations found in Lord of the Rings. There are many great truths that are drawn out, and while Tolkien may not have written the classic with these Christian truths in mind, they are nevertheless there. I would also consider this book to be a great devotional for an individual to experience. The reading of this book would be well worth any Christians time; however, I do not believe many non-Christians will find this book as good as I did.

  • Hannah
    2018-11-05 14:06

    Very simplistic, but it does establish some very interesting connections.I would have liked to see more detailed illustrations of the connection between Middle Earth and Tolkien's Christian faith, as I initially expected this to be a somewhat in-depth analysis of major connections. A thesis, if you will.This, in reality, was a devotion. The chapters were extremely, extremely short with very little analysis/descriptions. Each chapter did reveal a certain truth, which I did enjoy, but it was just not what I was expecting.

  • Laura Mejia
    2018-11-15 15:25

    It is a good book. It has breve reflections about events that happen in the book. I liked this reflections, most of them were about little details I had not realize to be as important and deep. But in some of this reflections the authors discuss more that the main idea, leaving at times some arguments or reflections without a satisfying ending. I would have like more development in these. Personally, I didn't like the epilogue, I think the authors talk about a lot of topics very briefly and superficially leaving me a little confused and not in total agreement with their arguments.