I confess that the Ring Trilogy and all things hobbit have intrigued and entertained me since at least the 1950’s. The war against evil by the forces of good is a classic. One of the marks of its depth and sweep is the description of how different the forces of good are from each other, and their difficulties with their allies. The same is true about the forces of evil. It has so many parallels with our real world.
Now, at last, a real life Anglican priest hobbit. My cup runneth over. Thanks to Fr. Ernesto who discovered this.
One of the interesting things about the English is that one never knows what interesting bits of eccentricity one will run across. The photograph at the right is actually from one of the BBC sites. It is the lead for a television show called, How To Live A Simple Life. Unfortunately, you cannot watch this online in this country, as it is blocked for us. But the description is interesting:
In this new series, Rev Peter Owen Jones attempts to live a life free of monetary concerns, inspired by the teachings of St Francis of Assisi.
Now Vicar Jones appears to be a quite interesting person. He is a Vicar, a television presenter, and an author.
Owen Jones dropped out of public school at the age of 16 and went to Australia to make his fortune. Back in Britain, he began his working life as a farm labourer in South Eastern England and then ran a mobile disco before moving to London where he started in advertising as a messenger boy and worked his way up to creative director. In his late 20s and with a wife and two children, he gave up his commercial life to follow a calling to the Anglican ministry by enrolling at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.
Does it not sound like he has already led a quite interesting life? He appears to be a Jack Kerouac type of person. But, it is his looks that caught my eye. At least in this photograph, does he not look like what one expects a hobbit to look like? J.R.R. Tolkien described them this way:
I picture a fairly human figure, not a kind of ‘fairy’ rabbit as some of my British reviewers seem to fancy: fattish in the stomach, shortish in the leg. A round, jovial face; ears only slightly pointed and ‘elvish’; hair short and curling (brown). The feet from the ankles down, covered with brown hairy fur. Clothing: green velvet breeches; red or yellow waistcoat; brown or green jacket; gold (or brass) buttons; a dark green hood and cloak (belonging to a dwarf).
To me hobbits are a wonderful picture of holiness in daily life. No, they are not perfect. But, they are mostly content. They live their lives in simple joy, carrying out their family duties generation after generation, faithful to their families and to the land. They are not worried about massive acts of asceticism, neither do they write long theological tomes. They are not the “great” of the land, nor are they pictured that way. But, they are a people of faithfulness and promise-keeping. They are committed to each other and their community.
But, when the time of testing comes, the hobbit turns out to be much more than what one expects. Their life of quiet family holiness, of consistency and of promise keeping, stand them in good stead when great evil befalls them. It is their actions during the time of great testing that is the proof of their quiet holiness. We have people like that in the USA.
As I look at Christianity in the USA, I am convinced that we could use more people who know how to live a life of quiet holiness and fewer people who are loud trumpets. Many of these quiet type of people are found in many churches, para-church organizations, and non-profit organizations. Nope, they are not quoted by the newspapers nor are they on the board, though their photograph may occasionally be found somewhere on the brochure. They are the quiet volunteers that make things in the parish run. They will be found making the coffee, cleaning the floors, washing the dishes, stuffing the envelopes, etc.
Let us pray that the Lord will raise up more “hobbits” in our churches and organizations. We could definitely use them!