Friday, December 14, 2012
The movie version of the Tolkien classic The Hobbit will be released in North America today, and if the Lord of the Rings series is any indication it will be hugely popular. I think Martin Freeman is well cast as Bilbo, and Andy Serkis is back as the creepy Gollum. In an interview Serkis said that he patterned Gollum's voice after a cat coughing up a hair ball! It is long at nearly three hours and one critic described it as "bladder testing."
We decided to reread the novel, which is actually entitled The Hobbit, or There and Back Again. We were struck by how much time is spent at the beginning letting the reader know that hobbits love security and familiarity before Bilbo Baggins ventures off on his insecure and risk-taking adventure. Why would he ever leave his "creature comforts" for the unknown? Because he feels compelled to do so, and off he goes for a quest which brings about personal growth and unexpected heroism.
Even though I will never be mistaken for a hobbit it occurs to me that as life progresses I am less inclined to leave the comfort of the hearth, figuratively speaking, to head off on new adventures. And I am aware that I serve in an institution whose participants love the familiar and are often wary of the unexpected and unpredictable, even though Jesus the Christ embodied these attributes.
Only days from Christmas we are well aware that many will attend worship services for what they know as "comfort food" for the soul, rather than to begin something new. Bilbo discovered that the journey is fraught with danger and filled with reward. Perhaps Christianity in our North American setting can flourish again if we are willing to go on the road with Jesus the way the first disciples were willing to venture forth.
Are you looking forward to The Hobbit movie? Are you adventurous, or do you crave security? Is there any heroic discipleship in your faith journey? Are what were once Hobbits now vices? Sorry...