David P. Goldman, in an article entitled “Christianity and Myth: Why There’s No Jewish “Narnia'” says that he thinks J.R.R. Tolkien is a better writer than C.S. Lewis. Goldman goes on to say,
Whereas C S Lewis tries to make us comfortable in what we already believe by dressing up the story as a children’s masquerade, Tolkien makes us profoundly uncomfortable. Our people, our culture, our language, our toehold upon this shifting and uncertain Earth are no more secure than those of a thousand extinct tribes of the Dark Ages; and a greater hope than that of the work of our hands and the hone of our swords must avail us.2
A writer exhibits a great gift when he or she makes us uncomfortable with what we think we know and points us to a greater hope than we could otherwise imagine. Perhaps all writers would aspire to such writing, but few attain it.
Do those of us who live in the 21st Century understand that we live in uncertain times? Or, do we actually think that we can save ourselves by the “work of our hands and the hone of our swords?” Can we see a greater hope? Is that some discomfort I feel creeping into my safely constructed world?
1 Image courtesy Michael J. Kruger, at http://arautodecristo.com/2012/10/23/curiosidade-a-batalha-das-cosmovisoes-dualismo-e-teismo-em-tolkien-e-lewis/