I’d like to discuss a short, pipe smoking, hairy-toed fellow. This lovable creature eats two breakfasts a day and was chosen, almost against his will, for a supernatural adventure. But in addition to writing about myself, I’d also like to comment on ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien.
(Did I mention my invisible making ring?*)
Bilbo Baggins is a product of his socially conservative, provincial, comfort loving, halfling culture.
Into this hobbit’s predictable world comes an outsider who calls him into another with a different set of values centred around a different raison d’etre. Gandalf the Grey calls the Hobbit (unwillingly at first) to leave his safe world behind and to follow him. Bilbo, with an almost supernatural push of the will, finally says yes and finds himself surrounded by dwarves... a group of fellow travelers he would never have picked himself. Throughout the many trials of the trip he finds himself becoming a new man. He has a different set of values and those strange people he was placed with become like family to him.
I too am a product of my culture. We like to think of ourselves as being original and self-made (a cultural value in itself), but somehow deep down I know that if were born in 9th century Mongolia ... I’d be different. Jesus Christ came as an outsider into my world at age 12. Like Bilbo I have found my values, character, friends and purpose changed to become more like the one who has called me. This is Christ’s call to all of us; hairy-toed or otherwise. Jesus says, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. (Mark 1.17) We are to leave this world behind and join him as citizens of another world living for another purpose. Will you obey the call and be transformed?
*Okay, it doesn't technically make me invisible, but it does look a lot like the ring in the movie.