As a teenager my friend David nicknamed me Bilbo Baggins. Unfortunately David was more well read than I, because I thought the name was merely his distortion of my name, Billy. It was some time before he revealed to me that Bilbo was the famed character in “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.” Regardless, I liked this nom de guerre primarily because it was something special that a good friend had taken the time and thought to associate with me. No one but David ever called me this. In those days while David and I listened to the lyrics of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” he could relate to the Robert Plant line, “Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair, but Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her.” I’m sure I butchered that line as well as most that blared from my 1974 Monte Carlo 8 track stereo. Some thirty-five years later I reflect on the adventure, symbolized to me by Tolkien’s work, the adventures of my youth, and the adventure that is the Christian life.
At this point you may be wondering where in the world is he going with this. Has he been on a trip, or has he been tripping, or has he tripped out? Well, it has been just over a year since I inked a single word. There is no dramatic reason for this other than that is just what the sovereign Lord foreordained for me to do. Yes, I have been listening to some Zeppelin, but without psychedelic assistance. More importantly I have been reading. Church history, military history, social history, systematic theology, doctrinal positions and biographical works of my favorite Churchmen, and, yes, Tolkien, Lewis, Chesterton. I hope that this sabbatical will make my blog writing a little more fresh and helpful.
If you read me before, you know that this blog is a fellow believer’s attempt to add a little information and encouragement to your journey through this barren land. If you watch some of the “Christian” movies, listen to CC music, or you have fallen prey to some of the “prosperity gospel” hacks, you may have been given the notion that being a believer means this constant steady march up the mountain of sanctification. If you stop ascending and fall into the pit then you are doing something wrong or are not trying hard enough. Well, if you were followers of one of the thousands of other religions out there, then that assessment might be correct. In fact those religions are designed to fail. Primarily, because they are false, there is no actual success, but also because they depend on YOU! It is true that if you are not using the means that God has provided to assist you in this journey, his word, prayer, sacraments, Church fellowship, etc., then certainly and logically, you place yourself behind the eight ball, so to speak. However, the journey itself is totally dependent on God’s will, his sovereign, perfect, mysterious will. He has you exactly where he wants you, or he would not be God.
In the next few posts I will use the similarities of Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo adventure and our Christian journey to edify us all. Remember this is partly my own thinking through writing. No novel ideas here but rather a bit of using what I have on my mind, only the basics, and generating something to chew on. No great epiphanies here. Just stuff my reading and my perspective generate. Hope it helps.