Last night I saw The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and was fascinated with the actors, storyline, and action presented by Peter Jackson and cast. I don’t mean to be a movie reviewer, but a culture critic in regards to what can either be implicitly or explicitly captured in the thematic elements of the world of Middle Earth with its hobbits, dwarves, elves, wizards, and men who are battling for or against the impending evil that seems to be sweeping across the land.
The road to the rise of Mordor that we see from the perspective of The Hobbit is that of cruelty, greed, and power. After seeing the movie last night I tweeted that “upward mobility leads us on the road to Mordor.” What I meant by this statement is that a king, his warriors, and a wizard from Middle Earth come to Bilbo Baggins to fulfill a role that they cannot meet, and one that, I might add, he has no initial delight over being asked to do. Everyone on this adventure has notoriety except for the lowly hobbit who ends up being a hero on many occasions.
How might this relate to youth ministry?
Some of our youth are on the most unexpected journeys that we could imagine with their family, friend, and personal issues that they bring into our youth groups and Sunday schools every week. We, like Bilbo, are often forced to meet roles in young people’s spiritual formation that we may not be able to do or be excited about going through. In these times we must rely on the Holy Spirit and be devoted to meditating and filling ourselves with the truth of God’s word in order to effectively minister to others. I would also suggest being in a place where older people are mentoring you in order to have people to come alongside you to pray for those you are ministering to. Our success in the Lord is in how we can become more like him, to have his attitude, and be a servant that truly cares for others by taking a position that may seem uncomfortable or at odds with our culture’s definition of success (Philippians 2).
I hope that you go and see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and that you can be mindful of themes acted and truths spoken.