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Finding God in the Lord of the Rings [Paperback]

By Kurt D. Bruner (Author) & Jim Ware (Author)
Our Price $ 5.94  
Retail Value $ 6.99  
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Item Number 6498  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   125
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.8" Width: 4.1" Height: 0.4"
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 5, 2003
Publisher   Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN  084238555X  
UPC  031809085554  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
It's been named the most popular book of the twentieth century, but J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is more than just a great story of adventure and triumph. In this book of reflections on Tolkien's trilogy, you'll discover deep connections between Earth and Middle-earth--and inspirational truths pointing to God's work in the world. you'll gain insights into the powerful faith that fueled Tolkien's imagination. Let yourself be newly inspired by a tale of hope, redemption, and faith against all odds. And feel your own faith against all odds. And feel your own faith grow as you cotenplate your role in another story--the greatest story of all.

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More About Kurt D. Bruner & Jim Ware

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bruner is cofounder of the Heritage Builders Association. Bruner is a vice president at Focus on the Family Resource Group in Colorado Springs and executive editor of the Heritage Builders Association. He is a graduate of Talbot School of Theology.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Wonderful book!  Mar 4, 2009
I would give this wonderful book 4 1/2 stars. It's the second time now that I've read it and it is chock-full of wisdom from the Red Book that can be applied to our own lives. Especially memorable is what is written of addiction for we all bear Rings of one kind or another. It is beautifully written in many passages. I will quote just one: "Great sacrifice was needed to defeat evil. Frodo had been chosen to carry a load none other could bear and fulfill a task none other could endure. Though Frodo was only one of many who had given up something for the greater good, none had suffered such direct confrontation with darkness or remained as faithful when tormented by the terrifying, possessing power of wickedness. Such was his role, to lose so that others might gain. And so, by completing his scene in the story, Frodo Baggins also performed its most heroic part." Each chapter is broken up into two sections: summarizing a particular part from the tale and then how to apply it to our life. The part that follows what I've quoted above speaks of the "ultimate hero of history, Jesus Christ": "He left the respect and comfort of [H]is rightful place for one reason: to redeem you and me from evil. He faced death to give life, endured sorrow to restore joy, confronted hate to show love. He humbled [H]imself to the point of death on a cross to pay for our redemption. He was chosen for a burden none other could bear and a task none other could endure." This brought to me more parallels between Frodo's Passion and that of Jesus. Frodo is not God, but he is a suffering servant and the suffering of hobbit and God-Man are very similar in parts. Highly recommmended with only a couple quibbles.
Interesting Applications to the Christian Faith  Jul 24, 2007
Authors Bruner and Ware find many parallels between the LORD OF THE RINGS and Biblical teachings. I will cite only a few examples.

God often chooses the most unlikely, lowly people (e. g. Abraham, David, Moses, the twelve apostles) to accomplish great things (pp. 51-54). And it is Frodo, the lowly Hobbit, who takes upon himself the responsibility to destroy the ring (and Sauron's evil powers behind it) the only way it can be destroyed--by being thrown into the cauldron of Mount Doom.

"Evil is not possessed, but possessing." (p. 69). Gollum (Smeagol) committed murder to acquire the ring, and then was forced to live a miserable life hiding in dark places. But God can even take evil, turn it around, and use it for His purposes. One is reminded of this when Gollum snatches the ring from Frodo in the last minute, only to fall with the ring into the cauldron of Mount Doom. Thus, the evil Gollum unwittingly becomes the agent of the destruction of the evil ring (p. 89).

I am amused at the fury directed against this innocuous book by some of the negative reviews. (Perhaps this reaction tells us more about the critics' thought processes than about those of the authors of this book). Bruner and Ware freely recognize the fact that members of all faiths have enjoyed Tolkien's works (p. x). They are not saying that the applications are unique to the Christian faith. Nor do they ever suggest that Tolkien wrote the LORD OF THE RINGS for the purpose of promoting Christian doctrines or morals as such (pp. 109-111).

This is undoubtedly a thought-provoking book.
Blatant misuse of Tolkien  Jun 27, 2007
With all the secondary literature trying to cash in on the Tolkien phenomenon it is probably worthwile to listen to the author himself for a change. In his foreword, Tolkien writes:

"I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old enough to detect its presence. I think that many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author."

Oh, the "applicators" are at it, Professor, they sure are! After the 70s' and 80s' mystics, esoterics and new-worlders the evangelical christians have discovered Tolkien. Not out of conviction or love for it, I guess, but because there is no way around LOTR's huge success. The christians' favorite, C.S.Lewis, never quite matched it, on paper as on the screen.

So, after he found god in C.S.Lewis Bruner is out to find HIM in Tolkien. And he's not alone. Ralph Wood or Peter Kreeft just published similar "analyses". I'm waiting for their homilies on Harry Potter - but as I understand the super-christians still consider that one black magic. Much as they did with Gandalf and Sauron until lately. I guess they'll come around after Joanne K. Rowling is dead and can't defend herself against the blatant misuse of her work - as J.R.R.Tolkien.

I still was quite religious when I first read The Hobbit and the LOTR at age 14. And you know what I liked most about it? That religion was no part of it at all. I didn't take Sauron for Satan, or Frodo for Jesus, or Gollum for Judas. It speaks volumes about the intellectual poverty of modern evangelical christianism that they keep reducing every single story they like to a distilled version of the four gospels and, say, the first three or four Mosaic books.

Tolkien himself was a devout catholic - so what? Of course, there are religious undertones in his work. Illuvatar is his name for god, of course. But the Valar are angels as well as "gods"; they're even called that way, at some point. Tolkien knew full well that there are just as many heathen undertones: he knew his nordic literature. Or ecological undertones, for that matter: When will Greenpeace come up with "Finding the Kyoto Protocol in the Lord of the Rings"? Or why not preach about Tolkien's mistrust for modern parliamentary democracy? "Finding monarchy in the Lord of the Rings". See? It's not that difficult.

I guess I wouldn't have liked much of Tolkien's politics. But he's not around anymore to be asked, of course. And considering all else I know about him, his literary work, his teaching, the few recordings we have, he was a great person. And even if he wasn't I will always love his books - long after this evangelicalism has ebbed away again.
Inconvenient Catholicism  Jun 11, 2006
Additional comment for reviewer of Jan. 31, 2004, from Tolkien's own words:
"The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work." (Tolkien, in a letter to Robert Murray)

And in response to this book's publication: For a book to call itself "Finding God in LotR", and then to blatently ignore the inconvenient fact that Tolkien was an unabashed Catholic in a time & place where it was professionally and socially unpopular to be so, removes this book from making any claims to factual or critical authenticity, and slides it into propaganda-land.
Pablum  Dec 28, 2004
This book is horribly superficial, and the writer shows a very clear failure to understand many of the themes in LOTR. This is not finding God in LOTR, but how to use LOTR as a blunt instrument in proselytizing for evangelical christianity; emphasis on "blunt".

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