There is a phrase that I love to remember which describes our times. “Not all who wander are lost.” I believe the quote is attributed to Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We are a people wandering in the wilderness of post-modern, post-Christendom world. But guided by the light of Christ, we are not lost. I hope to see the movie “The Hobbit” which has recently come out. As you probably know it is based on J.R.R.Tolkien’s beloved 1937 novel of the same name. Dr. Devin Brown, a professor at Asbury University has written a new book which reminds us that if we wander with Bilbo Baggins, we will be wandering through a “world constructed on Christian principles.” To fully understand Tolkien’s great work we need to recall his deep Christian faith which undergirds his writing. According to Professor Brown, “Tolkien once wrote a friend, ‘I am a Christian, and whatever I write will come from that essential viewpoint.’” It is well known that Tolkien’s friendship with C.S. Lewis was among the crucial influences in Lewis’ life that helped the former atheist open his heart to God. “There’s a famous walk they took,” Brown said from his home near Lexington. “Tolkien said to Lewis, ‘You like these stories, these myths that tell us who we are and why we are here from Icelandic and the Nordic countries — from everywhere but from the New Testament. Maybe you should think of the stories in the New Testament as myths that became true.’” (taken from an article by Kay Campbell and Greg Garrison, Religion News Service, Published: December 14). Dr. Brown has written a book entitled The Christian World of the Hobbit. Published by Abingdon Press it is available through Cokesbury for those who would like to follow up further. It is worth noting that The Hobbit is not an explicitly Christian story, but it is illuminating and as great literature in its own right well worth investigating. However you come out, it is clear that the book is deeply religions if not mystical at its core. Regardless, I hope you enjoy either the book or movie or better yet, both.