Updated: Jun 24, 2020
"It is an army bred for a single purpose---to destroy the world of men."
----Aragorn, from the Two Towers.
The recent, incessant news footage of civil unrest in America echoes much of the visuals and themes of The Lord of the Rings. The chaotic battle scenes, the flames leaping into the night skies, the clouds--- of smoke, but also of fear and confusion, hanging over our cities. Most notably, the terror on the faces of victims, and the sheer hatred on the faces of the rioters. Or at least, what can be glimpsed of their faces beyond their masks.
But a huge difference stands between the vast orc army that marched on Helms' Deep and the crowds destroying businesses, defacing national monuments and murdering cops and innocent bystanders.
They are not orcs. They are human beings. They were not created by arcane wizardry within caverns below Isengard. They are not a conveniently unknown, amorphous blob. They are individual human beings, created by God in His image, loved beyond all understanding, each one of infinite worth. But we corrupted and defaced them, twisting them almost beyond recognition into nightmare creatures beyond our control.
These foot soldiers are minority kids who survived a pro-abortion culture to be born into state-subsidized, state-encouraged broken homes where they witnessed violence, were taught to commit violence to fit in or to make themselves feel important and wanted. They were pumped up with a toxic propaganda brew of envy, hopelessness and rage. For generations.
Or else they are whites from backgrounds that were safe, coddled and utterly without purpose other than to buy and be seen with the latest phone or expensive torn jeans. Latching on to others' hopelessness, they batten off others' victimhood, tasting an excitement previously unknown in their unfulfilling, undisciplined suburban lives.
All the fathers that sired children and walked away, leaving them to raise themselves in poverty, built this army. All the families of any color that downplayed or dismissed the role of church, or even the basic need to cultivate self-discipline, trained these faceless figures scuttling through broken windows and snatching jewelry and shoes. Shooting a fellow man in the head over a TV and laughing as he dies. And then bragging about it on Facebook.
All were formed by home, school, entertainment and corporate media. Committed Christians who who turned a blind eye or else shrugged their shoulders at the growing disaster in so many levels of society, also aided this progress.
Binding them all is a ring of hopelessness and anger, forged in hellish fires, and being wielded by powers fanning dissent and hate. One ring of original sin, yet each of us has been issued our own personal copy, ready to be activated, wielded in self-righteousness, but ultimately bound in darkness by the One.
So where do we go from here? Will there ever be healing for the boy who must carry the guilt of setting cops on fire, or of beating an old woman with a two-by-four as she defends her small shop? When the rage-fueled adrenalin fades, so many human hearts will now carry deep burdens of guilt and confusion, hidden below the layers of false self-justification. When the broken glass is swept up and the flowers laid on newly-dug graves, more victims of violence and injustice will struggle with hatred and resentment.
How is the cycle ever to be broken? Perhaps to start, each of us must decide whether we will continue to risk annihilation by wielding the power of our rings, by stroking the precious curves of the oh-so-reassuring self-righteous constructs of lies and justification. Or we may choose to place each ring on a chain about our neck and seek, no matter how painful or dangerous, to carry it to the mountain and cast it into a fire which will become a holy and cleansing fire, one that will burn away our sin of anger and leave us spirits of humility and charity.
(image copyright NewLine Cinema)
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