As I was preparing for our October Hobbit Club meeting, I fretted that I didn’t have any pre-planned questions to throw at the group. Silly me… all this crowd needs for good discussion is an open-concept furniture floor plan so we can see each other and move around to refresh our refreshments. To that end, Greg and I moved all of our furniture around the perimeter of our living room so as to provide as much open space as possible for as many chairs as possible. The Holy Spirit took care of the rest!
Since so many of my club members have seen the films, but are new to the books, we started by watching this video which compares the books to the movies. If you haven’t finished the first book yet, stop at 7:26.
One friend noticed how musical Tolkien’s writing is, and that Tolkien puts song on a high plane. We found this enchanting recording of Tolkien singing one of his own songs. And here, where he reads a poem in Elvish.
And here, knowing that Lewis and Tolkien influenced each other and shared many common loves, we watched where C.S. Lewis’s Aslan used song in The Magician’s Nephew to create Narnia.
We also talked about Jordan Peterson and his book 12 Rules For Life: The Antidote to Chaos. One of his rules is to “pet the cat” when you see one on the street. Peterson’s argument is that we need to slow down and take time to appreciate all of the little mercies and beauties that come into our lives. We connected this to the rich but lengthy descriptions that Tolkien includes in his books. The slow pace of his writing, the seventeen years from Bilbo’s birthday to the start of the journey, etc., are all, we think, attempts to help us slow down and savor life.
In this line of thinking, we talked about pipe smoking making a comeback and wondered if Tolkien would be glad to see it so. If you aren’t familiar with The Catholic Gentleman, check out this great page.
Jordan Peterson is on a spiritual journey. Some have said that he has the capacity to be the St. Augustine of our day. I do not think that he would yet call himself a Christian, but he has intellectually assented to the truth of the historicity of Jesus Christ, and spiritually accepted the truth of the Gospel. He says that he is unwilling to be boxed in and won’t label himself. If I understood this interview correctly, when Patrick Coffrin asked Peterson if he was a Catholic, he said that he is not, but perhaps in three years he will be.
For those who watch the interview and want to understand the reference he makes to the church that he started, you may find this video from Dr. Taylor Marshall interesting.