Boinkie's Blog


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hobbits hobbits hobbits

CWN film review of the hobbit film.

After watching The Hobbit a second time (yes, a second time), I realized that this story calls its characters to poverty and humility—which in the end prove to be greater than power or glory. This seems most apparent not only in Bilbo’s character, but also in Thorin. The dwarves have already lost their home and their wealth, and Bilbo must learn to abandon his own home and everything and everyone he loves. His apparent lack of stature and power also prove to be more useful than Thorin or any of the dwarves originally thought. As Gandalf explains to Galadriel, it is not great power that will conquer evil, but the small and ordinary things

Some (presumably protestant) A--H--- in the comments asked how the film could lead people to Jesus, as if Tolkien was like CSLewis, pushing religion down your kids' throats...Actually, Tolkien made up stories for his kids, and the hobbit was only written down after Christopher caught him mixing up the color of Thorin's cloak when he retold the story...

Catholics see good in anything: a good play or film or a beautiful sunset is a sign, a "sacrament" showing god's love.

as Andrew Greeley points out:

Catholics live in an enchanted world: a world of statues and holy water, stained glass and votive candles, saints and religious medals, rosary beads and holy pictures. But these Catholic paraphernalia are merely hints of a deeper and more pervasive religious sensibility that inclines Catholics to see the Holy lurking in creation. The world of the Catholic is haunted by a sense that the objects, events, and persons of daily life are revelations of Grace.
The snobbier Catholics hate Greeley's sex filled romances and mystery stories, but they miss the point that he may be a "b" writer, but sociologically he is the best writer on what it means for a middle class American to be Catholic.

No, we don't go around "preaching". God is part of our lives and part of reality.

Which is why, when someone asks me if I "know" Jesus, I usually answer: Know him? I almost got my ass shot off because of him. (which is another story for another time, but never mind; it's true).

That usually shuts them up.

Holly Ordway at Heiropraxis suggests giving Tolkien's letters and Flannery O'Connor's letters as a gift.

 I was impressed at what I learned from Tolkien's huge: Not just about the LOTR etc. He was supposed to be a bit stubborn and prickly by reputation, and I have yet to hear a good biography that interviewed some of the students (mainly women) who he tutored...

We may have a view of what Tolkien was like via CSLewis' books..( Ransom in Out of the Silent Planet, is supposed to be based on Tolkien, and the picture of his playing with the Hrossa children resembles another writer's story of Tolkien playing Thomas the Tank Engine with his children during a visit.... and one wonders if Jane's professor and his wife in That Hideous Strength based on Tolkien and his wife, who reportedly befriended many of his female tutorial students?).

The pdf of his letters are here, if you want to read them.

In his letters, he comes across as kind and humble, but not timid as such...sort of like the Bilbo Baggins in the film. Loving his breakfast, but also strong in his willingness to fight for his friends, not as an aggressive lover of fighting, but as one who has to do it to save others.

True, Tolkien was a veteran of World War I, but he wasn't infantry, but a communications specialist ...Later in Oxford, he also fought for language to stay in the curriculum against the modern trends that insist only modern thinking is worth knowing, and he fought long and hard to get CSLewis a professorship even though a lot of people at the university hated Lewis for being popular and writing about Christianity.... And if you don't think opposing the "old sticks" takes  courage, you don't know academia...

Tolkien was also a practicing Catholic in a college at a time when few were believers of any sort, and it was considered stupid to believe in any god, let alone a papist one.

As for Flannery O'Connor: I'd love a book on her letters. I have her short stories, and they are devestating. An ordinary person would see them as anti religion, but like Walker Percy, she is part of the Southern Catholics (who the fundamentalists all said were going to hell and following the antichrist pope).

 I'll have to keep an eye on our used book kiosk here: I've managed to replace a couple books that I didn't bring alone, including the Inklings and a biography of CS Lewis from there.

IFFlanneryHadABlog posts this excerpt of her writings (concerning the story A Good Man is hard to find)

Grace to the Catholic way of thinking, can and does use as its medium the imperfect, purely human, and even hypocritical. Cutting yourself off from Grace is a very decided matter, requiring a real choice, act of will, and affecting the very ground of the soul.

The Misfit is touched by the Grace that comes through the old lady when she recognizes him as her child, as she has been touched by the Grace that comes through him in his particular suffering. His shooting her is a recoil, a horror at her humanness, but after he has done it and cleaned his glasses, the Grace has worked in him and he pronounces his judgment: she would have been a good woman if he had been there every moment of her life. True enough.

In the Protestant view, I think Grace and nature don’t have much to do with each other. The old lady, because of her hypocrisy and humanness and banality couldn’t be a medium for Grace.

In the sense that I see things the other way, I’m a Catholic writer. [Found here.]

Yes, grace for us geeks and misfits. Sounds good to me.



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