The Gospel According to the Lord of the Rings: Week 27, The Divided Resistance

The company comes to the borders of Lothlórien. There, due to their distrust of dwarves, Haldir demands that Gimli wear a mask as they are taken into the elvish land. Offended, Gimli objects and draws his ax. Haldir responds by notching an arrow. Aragorn steps in to settle everyone down.

Aragorn proposes that the entire company wear blindfolds in solidarity with Gimli. At this point, Legolas objects, and Aragorn calls him out for his own brand of stubbornness. Legolas submits to the plan with lament. To which Haldir responds,
Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.
There's a point I make in Reviving Old Scratch about how we can't make much progress on justice issues because of how conservative and progressive Christians have split the problem into two mutually exclusive halves. For conservatives, the issues we face are all moral problems. If individuals were better moral actors many of our social ills would markedly improve. For progressives, the issues we face are all systemic problems, requiring top down policy fixes.

Obviously, the issues we face are a gestalt, a complex, interactive whole. Consider things like police brutality. There are obvious policy fixes that can help. But each police officer is also an autonomous moral agent, making their own choices. Name any other social issue facing our society and it's the exact same dynamic. But instead of wrestling with this complexity we throw stones at each other, each cherry-picking media stories that reinforce the preferred narrative.

I'm also put in mind of denominationalism in an increasing post-Christian world.

When Christianity was thriving and bulging at the seams in the 1950s, denominationalism was something we could afford. Plenty of people to go around. But as church attendance continues to wane, denominationalism is increasingly a luxury we can't afford. Partnerships and joining forces between dwarves and elves is the order of the day.

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