The Truth pervades culture. All things were made in Him, through Him, and for Him. So you can anticipate finding His fingerprints woven through the stories of our lives, woven in our culture, woven even in the movies we see. Especially in movies like the Hobbit, which are based on stories written by Christians.
Many things stood out to me in the Hobbit, but these made distinct impressions:
- The Dwarf King “did not forgive what he did not forget.” Ouch. We hear the axiom “I forgive, but I don’t forget” often in our individualistic, revenge-centric culture. How many times have I gone through the motions of forgiving only to nurse the memory of the offense? What hit me in this simple statement is that you can’t really forgive what you choose not to forget. It’s not that you will forget the offense, but when you go through the effort of keeping the memory of the offense alive, you are, de facto, refusing to forgive it.
- Bilbo Baggins became terribly comfortable in his complacency, despite the invitation to partner with Gandalf and the dwarfs in a great adventure. “When did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?” Gandalf challenged him. Ouch again! You could replace “doilies” and “mother’s dishes” for a whole host of things that are objects (idols?) of complacency for us: “free time,” “weekends,” “television,” “electronics,” “sleep,” “nice cars,” “clothes,” and even “job.” It’s not too hard to imagine Jesus asking us one day, “why didn’t you tell your neighbor about Me and my love for him?”, or “why didn’t you take in an orphan?”, or “why didn’t you shepherd my people?” How hollow it would sound to respond, “I needed my free time, Lord.”
- Finally, I *loved* when Gandalf rebuked the dwarfs who were doubting Baggins’ value to the team (or body of Christ, as the analogy was intended): “[Baggins] has a great deal more to offer than any of you know, including himself!” Bam! That’s it! That’s how a discipler thinks about those s/he is discipling — they see more in the disciple than the disciple sees in himself. And they are persistent in their love, hope and efforts to direct the disciple towards that vision. Baggins refused to join the adventure and stayed behind, but when he changed his mind and joined the team/body, Gandalf says “I never doubted you.” Love that. Disciplers love their disciples: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”