Friday, June 02, 2006

Always Carry a Bit of Rope

This useful bit of wisdom was sent around the internet recently. Here are a few:

All I Ever Need to Know I learned from The Lord of the Rings
Developed by Steve Trombulak, in homage to J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Sometimes a hobbit knows more than even a wizard.
  • Sometimes a hobbit can do what a wizard cannot.
  • There is both good and evil in the world.
  • Never give up. You never know when the eagles are coming.

  • Never underestimate a woman.
  • Let folks reach decisions at their own pace. If the information you gave them is correct, they'll reach the correct conclusion.
  • All stories come to an end, but it may take several lifetimes. Don't assume that you are anything but a minor character.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to study the maps of where you're going.
  • Eat when you can. Drink when you can. You never know when you'll get another chance.
  • Always carry a bit of rope.
  • Don't throw rocks into dark places.
  • A little bravado never hurts....
  • It never hurts to sing and dance.
  • When all else fails, stall.
  • Know when it's time to say good-bye.
  • Good advice can come from unlikely sources.
  • Have mercy. No one knows what role any of us have to play in life.
  • Say kind things whenever you can.
It is well known that Tolkien along with CS Lewis, and Charles Williams and others used to tip a pint together from time to time. Williams, Lewis and Tolkien all wrote fantasies. Lewis' was the most popular and most allegorical. Williams' are perhaps the least known but the most modern, the most complex, and the most helpful in discussing the intersection of ancient truths and modern culture. Tolkien's work is by far the most majestic and most richly textured. Given the popularity of his work, I believe he succeeded in writing a "national" or "tribal" myth for our age, which was his intent.

He was a devout Roman Catholic. For the Christian, the spiritual depth of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is apparent and becomes more so with every reading. There is nothing allegorical to the Christian life in The Hobbit and the trilogy. He allows myth to do what only myth can do. The epic shows us how a person with a formed and informed consciense, faithfully lived, can overcome evil and build (even rescue) community. This happens even while the person is being formed by the very thing he is called to do.

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