Hobbits are peculiar people. When reading Tolkien, I can’t help but compare them to how Christians interact with society today: both in our failures to society and our ultimate role therein.
In The Fellowship of the Ring (FotR), Middle Earth has sunk even deeper into to turmoil and Sauron’s hand is reaching further out from his stronghold in Mordor. The realms of men are obviously affected, with the elves and dwarves beginning to feel the effects. For the Hobbits, they live in perfect seclusion, not caring for the affairs of men and elves, and continuing to enjoy food and pleasure over adventure. For the Hobbits, they would see Middle Earth come to ruin before venturing out of their holes, not seeing the fate of the world as tied to their own. Thankfully, for the Hobbits and all of Middle Earth, there was one (namely Gandalf) to give them a push out the door.
Christians can be very similar in their interactions with the world. Many Christians will proudly shout that we are “in the world, but not of it,” and will use this as a motivation to move out into the middle of the woods and grow their own food. That isn’t to say that people really do that (I’m sure there are some) but they adopt a similar mentality. There is the idea that when society finally does crumble, I’ll be fine because I exist outside of society. Some might even say they have separated because society is corrupt and can’t be saved.
It is these ideas that prove more and more that we are a Christian culture that is biblically illiterate. When we separate ourselves from the world in such a way, we cannot have read Christ’s Great Commission to the church, or even the gospel accounts of his life. We surely can’t have read through the closing book of the Bible and saw how the Lord is seeing ALL things redeemed, not just those things which we as American Christian deem as good. American Christianity has refused to see its fate tied to that of the rest of the country. It will be the church’s inaction that will cause the fall of our nation.
The Hobbits (at least the 4 written about for the majority of the book) came to realize that their own fate was tied up in Middle Earth’s. The same is for Christians. Scripture calls us to be the light of the world, not to hide our light under a bush. We can’t possible change society while hiding in the confines of our created utopia. We first have to realize that anything that seems perfect isn’t, and that we, as the church, are to be God’s agents in seeing the world’s redemption.