After a brief sojourn away from blogging, Dr. Mike has returned with The Lord of the Kingdom, where he digs out the richness of J.R.R. Tolkien's famed books.
I've worked on several posts in hopes of interacting with Mike's posts, but they have fallen far short of illuminating, so they've been set aside indefinitely. Instead, I offer this post as a single note of appreciation for a wonderful new blog.
Mike deftly grasps the vast depth of Tolkien's communities and characters, where existence demands heroism and honor of men born into weakness, and there is no forum for the innate talents of truly fictional, infallible creatures. Every creature has a purpose in those books. Not a word is wasted. In Tolkien's universe, mortality in this realm is a gift, and men broil with selfish passion. His message is Biblically compatible: It is our own abstract self-interest -- wrongful assumptions about our own humility and good nature -- that will be our downfall. Otherworldly evil seems little but a red herring, a distraction from our own evil nature.
Lord of the Rings is not a static equivalent of the Christian story, like Chronicles of Narnia. It aims much higher, actually, as a dynamic demonstration of man's total depravity. Mike excels in highlighting this element of Tolkien's mythology. Whereas C.S. Lewis wished to create a Gospel fervor in his text, perhaps Tolkien wanted to convince his readers of their need to hear the Gospel.
It is very rare when I am compelled to read long posts, and I freely admit my own vice in this matter: I write more than I need to. It is typically self-serving when brevity is almost always required for the vast majority of weak writers in all of the blogiverse. However, Lord of the Kingdom throws its weight around with the authority of Tolkien himself, and I strongly recommend this compelling site for your blog rolls and RSS readers.