Onward Christian Hobbits

We just completed watching the marathon that is The Lord of the Rings: Extended Version.  I’m guessing it was about 28 hours long.  With our three children (ages 7, 4, and 3).  So yes, we will undoubtedly win some people’s award for Worst Parents in the World.  But, I’d like to say that our kids were not freaked out by it, have suffered no nightmares, and have not attempted to re-enact battle scenes with kitchen knives.

Yet. 

I was struck by the role of the hobbits in this piece of work.  They play an enormously important role.  Frodo carries the ring.  Sam carries Frodo.  Merry & Pippin are noteworthy for aiding (if not instigating) the destruction of Saruman’s military industrial complex, and reducing the once-powerful wizard to cowering in his tower.  They are immensely important in many ways.  But they are not warriors.  In fact, their respective duties are made possible in many ways by the more immensely powerful (in stature and battle-readiness) people that round out the Fellowship and join in various ways along the journey. 

The Hobbits are important, but they aren’t warriors. 

We could be misled on this point in several ways, if we aren’t careful.  After all, Frodo in particular wears armor for the latter 2/3 of the story.  Merry & Pippin both find themselves as commissioned warriors in different armies, equipped with the livery and finery, the armor and the weaponry appropriate to their roles.  Sam and Frodo both bear swords for most of the movie.  If we were judging by the situations in which they find themselves, and some of the stuff they wear, we might be tempted to consider these hobbits warriors.

But we’d be wrong. 

What happens to each of them when they attempt to be warriors – either by chance or by choice?  Frodo receives a near-mortal wound from the King of the Nazgul.  Merry and Pippin are captured by orcs and nearly eaten for dinner.  Pippin is nearly killed atop the walls of Minas Tirith during the siege of that city.   Merry is nearly killed on the field of battle outside that same city in the effort to break the siege.  Repeatedly, in any situation that calls on the hobbits to do more than simply avoid the battle, they are in constant need of rescue and protection.  They have armor, and they have swords, but they aren’t warriors, and nobody around them assumes that the fact that they are armed means they should act as warriors.  Their very natures and statures preclude this.  Their armaments were much more oriented towards protecting them in the midst of the battles.

I got into an argument about a year ago with someone who was ardently arguing for the role of Christians in securing the Earth for Jesus.  And I’ve had discussions with others on this same topic – people who make a great deal out of reclaiming cities for Jesus, or becoming prayer warriors, or attacking the enemy and subduing him in the name of Jesus, binding even Satan himself.   The metaphor of the Christian warrior conquering evil in the name of Jesus. 

Ephesians 6:10-18 is frequently the verse that is used to justify this metaphor.  After all, the argument goes, why would we be outfitted for war, if we were not warriors?

Because we’re hobbits, not warriors.

We’re equipped for our protection, not because we’re qualified to go on the offensive.  The Ephesians 6 verses exhort us to do several things – “Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”, “take your stand against the devil’s schemes”, “stand your ground”, “and after you have done everything, to stand”, “Stand firm then”, “pray in the Spirit on all occasions”, “be alert”, and “keep on praying for all the saints”. 

We are very important, obviously.  God has created us and sacrificed His own Son to redeem us.  But we are not intended to be warriors in the spiritual battle.  Like hobbits, the fact that we wear armor and carry the sword  does not make us warriors.  We have been equipped to keep us safe from the enemy, but we should not confuse this with an injunction to storm the enemy.  There’s a big difference between standing firmly and charging the enemy line, and Scripture seems to understand implicitly that our role – however important – is not as warriors.  We are to avoid becoming collateral damage, final casualties in a conflict that has already been decided and is winding down. 


One Response to “Onward Christian Hobbits”

  1. deckaircraft Says:

    Good site. I will go more often to you

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