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Jim Ware, coauthor of ...
Jim Ware, coauthor of the bestselling Finding God in The Lord of the Rings, once again unlocks the mysteries of Middle-earth with insightful reflections on the scenes and characters of The Hobbit. Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story. Travel to Middle-earth to discover ways in which God is still very much at work in our world—and has a bigger purpose for you than you could ever imagine. Tyndale House Publishers
Posted May 17, 2009
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Each chapter of this book has a segment of the Hobbit, and in one way or another, shows biblical insight into the bible. Any fan of the Hobbit will like this, along with any religious people looking to see more into the bible.
6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2012
This book is like a Hobbit, small and full of unexpected wisdom. Jim Ware shows us things in Tolkiens books that I never would have seen. Let us start with something Tolkien was very familiar with, something we see often in the adventures of Bilbo and Frodo, something that enriches my world here having met it there in Middle Earth. It is the Eucatastrophe, or good catastrophe. A eucatastrophe is defined as "rather than an invasion of sorrow it is the surprise of joy bursting onto a seemingly hopeless situation, the certainty of death and destruction undone by the unexpected intrusion of life and resurrection. In a word, the Gospel." Yes, the Gospel is in Middle earth, and not because Tolkien wrote a wooden allegory, but because all good books are about the themes of this world, and this is one of the core themes. We find this theme as the Gospel in God's word, and we find this theme coming out in books by discerning men. Tolkien was a discerning man, and he knew that the Gospel came into his books. He wrote a letter to Deborah Webster in 1958, saying "I am a Christian," and this "can be deduced from my stories." And that is what Jim Ware does. He deduces the Christian Truth in these wonderful stories. As a student of both Scripture and The Hobbit, we will find our time in Middle Earth and our time in our earth richer after seeing what Jim Ware saw. There are problems in our world that Middle earth will help us solve. The eagles are one of those. In the Hobbit, and in the Return of the King, when the hobbits are in danger and there is no way out by their own strength, the Eagles come flying in and carry them away. In most fantasy stories this might be the author's way of getting his heroes out of a corner he wrote them into, and we would have to enjoy the story but know that that rarely happens in life. Also, in most stories there would be a glaring contradiction, because as one of Jim's friends points out "If the eagles can fly anywhere and save the heroes, why didn't the elves just have them fly the ring to the mountain and drop it in the crack?" That at first seems unresolvable. But study resolves the question. What at first seems a slip of the author turns out to have profound truth in it. "There is a pattern to the eagle rescues that dot the pages of Middle earth history. This pattern points to a certain wonderful and startling conclusion. It suggests that we might be justified in seeing these majestic birds as a beautiful symbol of Grace, Free and Sovereign Grace... Because Grace isn't something you can control. Like Bilbo and Frodo, you can only look up and receive it with a sigh of relief. You can only give thanks and shout Hallelujah! when it swoops down to save you out of a hopeless impasse. To experience Grace is to be left speechless and awestruck- not wondering how you might have found a way to take advantage of it earlier on."
The Eagles are not ordinary eagles, they are the Eagles of Manwe, and they are controlled by the King of the earth. They are not for hire, by Elrond or anyone else. Their Master knows the Hobbit's plight, and when he wills he sends them to save. In Biblical terns the eagles can be compared to The Eyes of the Lord, that run to and fro throughout all the earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him." 2 Chronicles 16 verse 9. "They function as executors of the divine will, extensions of Love that defies mortal comprehension and reaches down to men and elves from a place beyond the boundaries of the world." These Eagles also will only save when their Master commands them to, and for reasons not understood by man the eagles could not carry the ring. Frodo and Sam had to carry it for a time.
Another beauty of this book is the same thing that made Tolkien beloved of all of us. The "good liking" in his books. The love of hearth and Home, the love of pipe and supper and stories and slippers. Stephen Lawhead called Tolkiens work a Praise Hymn for the Goodness of Creation, the goodness of the physical universe. This book celebrates that. from the Hobbits who loved the good comforts of Home to the dwarves who loved skillfully worked gems to the Elves who loved beauty and purity.
Read this book. Read it in one evening on a comfortable sofa in December, with a woodstove burning, and a few Christmas lights glowing. Read it and marvel at all you will be enjoying next time you read the Hobbit that you never saw before.
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 13, 2012
Though Tolkien was a christian, middle earth has it's own very separate and very different polytheistic ideas. There is no god or christ in any of his work in that sense, but people time and time again want to try and assert their god into other peoples worlds. The gods of middle earth are actually quite harmless because they are inside of a fictional world. They don't pretend to be real, or falsify evidence, they do not oppose proper education.
This book actually imagines god in the hobbit, it doesn't find it there. A sham.
This should go without mention but The Hobbit is a terrific book and my review is only of those who try and profit from lying about it, not a review of that wonderful book.
5 out of 21 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 6, 2012
Posted August 20, 2012
Tolkien himself stated many times in his letters that his fantasy world WAS NOT and COULD NOT be based in Christian mythos. I dont understand the need some people have to "claim" things for themselves or their society... Its just a great story, leave it alone.
2 out of 9 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 4, 2012
The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien certainly isn't new. Yet, with the recent movies based on the boos, and the most recent movie based on The Hobbit, there has been a renewed interest in the Rings series as well as their author J.R.R. Tolkein. While his works aren't specifically Christian, containing no references to God whatsoever, the Christian community often compares Tolkien and his works to that of C.S. Lewis. The author, Jim Ware has authored/ co authored other books involving the spiritual connections with popular works such as the Narnia series and the Lord of the Rings. Finding God in the Hobbit by Jim Ware is his newest work, in which the author explores the spiritual connections in the middle- earth fantasy adventure, The Hobbit, and faith in God. Specificall, Ware uses the adventures encountered in The Hobbit as a springboard to bring up other topics of faith.
Bilbo's quest is compared to a the spiritual quest of a Christian- where as we may have to overcome doubts, and dangers through faith, Bilbo must also overcome his doubts as well. In fact the status quo which Hobbits are normally accustomed to, is compared to the resistance that we may feel when we must act on faith in God. In fact, the adventurous Tookish voice in Bilbo's conscious- is portrayed as faith, which eventually wins over the resistent "Hobbit" patterns of comfort and normalcy. It is the "Tookish" side of Bilbo's spirituality which enables him with the strength needed to persevere in the quest ahead. The evil and decpetion of Smaug, the dragon, as well as the Trolls and other dangers are analogous to the opposing evils and deceptions and trials of Satan, our adversary. In fact just as the book of proverbs teach us, those who are evil are literally fools, and eventually sucumb to their weakness and folly- just as the Trolls, Gollum and other nasty, greedy creatures that Biblo comes across in his quest. It is ironic how the lessons learned by Bilbo, parallel those lessons we learn from the bible. It is as if the middle earth world of Tolkein is a paralell reality or alternate world with a similar spiritual world behind it.
Though not explicitly stated in his fiction works, the reader can assume Tolkein's writing talents indicate an appreciation of God's creation- the material and spiritual world alike. The attention to each minute detail transports the reader to a new world. The middle earth world of the Hobbit is based on a Christian based worldview in which eveil must be overcome by good through faith and moral choices.
Jim Ware's book is a very good outreach method to share the gospel with the growing numbers of the Lord of the Rings fans who might not have a biblical or religious background. The Tolkien books have become poular in secular culture especially with the production of the movies in the theater. It is only natural to take advantage of the poularity of this series and use it as an outreach to introduce biblical principles. I believe this is a good book for all fans of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Series. As a blogger for Tyndale, I recieved this book published by Tyndale Momentum for the purpose of writing this review.
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Posted August 9, 2012
Let me first tell you not to pay attention to the rating I gave, that was just a random number.
Well, I haven't actually read this book, but I know that trying explain that "God" is in the Hobbit is kind of ruining the story. If you were to take your favorite story, and then have somebody say that there was some "divine intervention" making the character not die at every block with a shield during a battle, or something along those lines, something that would entertain you normally, would turn into something that is random and doesn't make sense. That is pretty much what the summary of the book said the book did.
And in case you were wondering, yes, I am an athiest.
1 out of 13 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2013
Posted December 21, 2012
Finding God in the Hobbit
Publicity Summary: With a simple hobbit in a simple hobbit-hole, Tolkien opened the window on a whole new world that has captured millions of imaginations and changed the face of literature forever. But this story of unexpected adventure is far more than goblin attacks, dragon-hoards, and riddles in the dark. It's a journey that changes a simple hobbit named Bilbo---and us---along the way. Ware, coauthor of Finding God in The Lord of the Rings, once again unlocks the mysteries of Middle-earth with insightful reflections on the scenes and characters of The Hobbit. You'll discover the deep connections that link this fantasy world to our own and unveil the mysterious workings of the Author of the Tale in your own life. Just as the very ordinary Bilbo Baggins was caught up in a web of momentous events beyond his understanding, so you also are part of a larger story. Travel to Middle-earth to discover some ways in which God is still very much at work in our world---and has a bigger purpose for you than you can ever imagine.
Book Review: I enjoyed learning more of J.R.R. Tolkien’s faith and history. That his world view was so engaged in the Word of God is what separates his writing from purely allegory. I found myself really thinking about this during the book. Mr. Tolkien’s mind set was so centered on Christ that he never gave a thought to imposing it on his books it just was him. I enjoyed the over view tour of the Hobbit. It brought back memories of my first encounter with this story. Going back and forth between the book and the man was engrossing. I am very glad that I had the opportunity to spend time with this book. It was well worth it.
I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Posted December 20, 2012
Dreams, fears, pleasures, laughter, God’s unexpected intervention, endurance, tried patience, kindness and dependence on God continually weave together to shape our lives; through them, we learn dependence on God - which should prevail despite any circumstances. Bilbo’s adventure in Middle Earth is no exception, and his journey is Jim Ware’s illustration of the latter.
In the prologue, the author explains that this book is the result of his own reflections on “The Hobbit,” which eventually took him back to God, the one who has made his life meaningful by giving it a purpose, just as Bilbo’s life, through the fulfillment of his purpose, found its true meaning.
The chapters have a simple and straightforward format. First, there is an extract from “The Hobbit,” which is followed by an analytical description of the approach and attitude towards God that can be found in several people in the Bible. As a valuable token, each chapter is closed with a simple and deep statement that summarizes the spiritual lesson we can learn from Bilbo’s own path.
Despite the simplicity of the format, the deep and transcendental insights of each chapter are worthy to be savored slowly, even more than once. This is one of the few books that have stirred in me the wish to reread chapters and paragraphs, even sentences…
Moreover, the richness of the words Mr. Ware uses is rarely found in today’s popular literature, making this a delightful read for anyone who appreciates the vast possibilities of a higher linguistic register. Precisely because of this, I would definitely recommend this book as a teaching tool in any literature or applied theology class; it is well worth the experience. Besides this, his numerous end notes and bibliography will prove to be good references. I can also picture this book being used as a devotional, particularly by those who like Tolkien or this kind of stories.
And just like the author himself states, this book describes a journey of spiritual discovery, but is not the decisive authority on the matter, very probably the reason why Bible quotes and principles are present throughout the book. It is his way of writing about how the great Author of life is always shaping our path.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. This has not biased my opinion.
Posted December 20, 2012
I think this book is great! I am a christian and I love fantasy and I think this book is a good way to reach out to different age groups and interests. I bought a similar book Walking with Frodo a devotional years ago and loved it! To previous commentor, if you dont like the fact there is a christian book about the hobbit then ignore it! Go be a troll and write your atheist ideas somewhere else.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
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