Behind Bars With The Lord of the Rings: Part 1, The Perfect Movie for a Maximum Security Prison

During the month of July when I'm out of town visiting my family in PA Herb and I like to line up some movies for the guys in our prison bible study at the French Robertson Unit. "Movie Month" in July is a nice break for everyone when I'm out of town.

The movies should have a religious theme. The administration won't let us show just any movie in the chapel. But what counts as a "religious theme" is a bit open to interpretation. The movies we tend to show are explicitly religious, but this July I suggested that we watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

That raised a few eyebrows among the men. Readers of this blog, I'm sure, know all about the Inklings, that J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic and that he weaved Christian themes through The Lord of the Rings. But the guys in the prison know none of this. They've never heard of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien or the Inklings. When they hear "The Lord of the Rings" they don't think theology, they think action movies.

So when I suggested we watch The Lord of the Rings as a Christian movie that sounded very strange to them, as if I suggested we look for Jesus in the Fast & Furious movies. It didn't compute.

So before we watched the movies I took some time to set it all up. I told them about Tolkien and his faith and how he wove Christian themes through the book.

And some of those themes, I said, make The Lord of the Rings the perfect Christian movie to show in a maximum security prison.

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