When I am not involved in matters religious or scholarly, one of my favorite escapes is science fiction and fantasy literature or media. My favorite series is The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.
The series focuses on the actions of four friends, pushed by circumstances from their little village into the larger world. They discover along the way that they are meant to play central roles in the coming Last Battle of the Ages.
Scottish author J. K. Rowling has written a wildly popular series of children's books about Harry Potter. Harry discovers on his 11th birthday that he is the son of two legendary wizards murdered by an evil magician named Voldemort. Harry has been living with his loathsome aunt and uncle (who make him sleep in a cupboard) and their mean son, Dudley.
Five-year-old Andy is in the shower looking for ways to use an entire bottle of blue, no-tears Aussie shampoo (the kind with the kangaroo on the bottle) without washing his hair. “I’m getting clean for Easter!” he calls out.
My class on the Inklings (C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Charles Williams and their circle) met on Tuesdays and Thursdays last semester, just in time for elevenses. A master baker in the class provided Lembas, which we found remarkably sustaining. Turkish delight was selling out all over the country, but we managed to locate a supply and discovered we were immune to its sticky spell.
By the time I finished this book, I was convinced of Fleming Rutledge’s fundamental claim: that the view of reality conveyed in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings not only is biblical but is an “almost exact replica” of the apocalyptic worldview that informs many New Testament texts.
In these days of extraordinary terror and ordinary routine, the future seems at once darker and more open than we had expected. It may be that in the face of war or want, future generations will answer the call to Christian heroism with renewed vigor, and take refuge in Christian hope from failed utopias. It may be that such a change has already begun, though few observers mark it.
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