Imagine God jumped onto the world stage in an obvious manner. By what measure would we know beyond a doubt that that is God? How do we know that most people wouldn’t think we were being visited by an alien from another world? What about a mass hallucination? What about a massive government conspiracy? How would we know what God would look like such that we could be sure it was really Him? That presupposes some prior knowledge of what to look for when God shows up. If God showed up, would we even know or believe it was really Him?
Christian Tolkien scholarship and fandom is often marginalized or even met with hostility in some quarters, which makes little sense, since Professor Tolkien himself was such a committed Christian and was explicit about the internal Christian themes of his work. This conference aims to create a space where Christian Tolkien scholars and fans can come together and share their love for both Christ and Tolkien.
People's faith can get shaken when they learn that Church leaders are weak and sinful, possibly especially because the weakness and sin that so often manifest among Church leaders seem to be so spectacularly bad.... But perhaps even more faith-shaking is when one discovers that some Church leaders are actually Machiavellian manipulators.
It is shown in many places in the Old Testament that to be in the presence of God in an unworthy manner is to risk destruction and death. And so being “visited” by God is not something you actually wanted. Being visited by God was dangerous.
Is it any wonder that, since the shaping of the world into order from formlessness and void in Genesis was begun with a light shining in the darkness, that the coming of Christ into this broken world of chaos and horror would also be begun with a star shining in the darkness?
To what are you sacrificing your time, your attention, your money, etc.? That is what you are worshiping.
I am a lifelong Tolkien fan, but now that I have a Tolkien podcast, I've found more time to explore how my love for Tolkien fits into my spiritual life as an Orthodox Christian. And it turns out that there is actually a specifically Orthodox Christian reason to love Tolkien and other works of imaginative fiction.
If we want to be like Jesus Christ, then we have to worship Him by sacrificing to Him. Sacrifice always means giving over something valuable that then becomes a means of sharing and communion with God. A Christianity that is convenient, that is without sacrifice, is not the true Christianity that worships Christ.