"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."— Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings
"Beyond the allegorical pages of Tolkien's ode to the victory of good over evil, the spirit of adventure is the eager, boisterous wind upon which progress is borne. I sit within the comfort of home because those with trailblazing urgency trekked weary and courageous miles over a winding track to settle the Oregon Territory. I join with an apocalyptic movement whose pioneers, few in number, stepped out in faith to answer the call of an end-time message. I am a debtor to these and many others."
Here are a couple of excerpts from the upset readers, unfortunately their website does not have the August issue on line yet:
In the article "The Next Step" by Steve Vistaunet (Let's Talk, June 2010), the author quotes from the The Lord of the Rings. This was quite unsettling to me and my husband. We don't believe that our church should be dealing with books such as this, especially not in official publications, but also in any other capacity...
In second letter excerpt:
"The first and last paragraphs of your article make reference to a trilogy : The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The books and movies of the same title are classic science fiction works of the great adversary of Christ..."
It is sad to watch the narrow minded views of the SDA traditionalists as they attempt to take control of the Adventist church. No doubt with recent GC session results they are greatly encouraged at the prospects of their return to dominance in the church. Fortunately the Gleaner did respond with a plea to tolerance, in part writing:
"Along with music and diet, where some see black and white and others see gray, perhaps this is an area in which we can extend to each other a generous helping of Christian grace..."
The issue will of course remain for with the new leadership in the Adventist church and an emphasis upon Ellen White as an authority for Adventism more than devotional we will have to learn how to deal with the traditionalists who freely quote Ellen White and her abhorrence of fiction. She is pretty black and white though she did tolerate Pilgrims Progress. But Ellen White as authority and Ellen White as proponent of principles are two widely separate ideas. For in reality principles are often the product of the reader and thus are far grayer area. While literalism takes far less intellectual effort, maybe the church will do it for them with books describing the historical and personal details to give context to Ellen White's published words. But then even if that happens the traditionalists will still use the quotes regardless, it is part of our proof texting tradition, a part that needs serious overhauling.