I was very much struck by the recently released Tolkien biopic and tried to capture a few of my thoughts about it in my note from last week. I also received an invitation from the Forefront Festival blog to share my thoughts. As they are a kind of Christian arts collective, I decided to think about my Tolkien experience and the thinness of much Christian art. As I said to one of their leaders, there are certainly thousands of faithful artists faithfully doing beautiful work. But I remain disappointed with mainstream Christian art. Watching the Tolkien film made me wonder whether, when it comes to art, Christians have a disordered relationship with the three transcendentals: truth, beauty, and goodness. I talk about it at the Forefront guest blog, where I also get to address my concern with Tolkien’s faith in the biopic in a roundabout way.
On the one hand, I really wanted to love this film. I love biopics, where in the warp and weft of great filmmaking, a director weaves together the threads of a person’s biography into a work of fiction that is true in ways deeper than chronology and census registry. And, of course, I love his worlds: Tolkien’s work as a Christian artist and intellectual has shaped me in profound ways.
On the other hand….