Having spent a wonderful four days in Kentucky, I finished out my spring break among friends and family in Battle Ground, Washington. I love going home. I love the town I grew up in. While I was home I lounged around my parent's house, I went out to eat with friends and family, I watched a friend's ice hockey game and I went to a wedding.
As I did these things I thought of a conversation I had with a friend at Asbury Seminary a couple of years ago. We were talking about Tolkien and the philosophy behind his The Lord of the Rings. I liked what my friend, Daniel, had to say about it. He said that the point of The Lord of the Rings was not the adventure. It was not about being out in the world, achieving notoriety or personal greatness. The point was that The Shire was worth fighting and dying for. Those simple Hobbits, going about their simple tasks, living their ordinary lives was the real point of Middle Earth, not the slaying of dragons or taking the Ring to Mt. Doom. The older I get, the more I come to embrace this kind of thinking. It's not that the adventure doesn't appeal to me. But if I didn't have a place to call home. If I didn't have a hometown filled with people I love and people I have a hard time loving, filled with the best and worst memories of my life, filled with all kinds of broken people who God died for, the adventure would be meaningless. So maybe I don't completely agree with Daniel that adventure is not at all the point of The Lord of the Rings. But without the Shire, I think the adventure would have been empty and selfish.