"I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them. If I am not careful, I can decide that I am really much happier reading my Bible than I am entering into what God is doing in my own time and place, since shutting the book to go outside will involve the very great risk of taking part in stories that are still taking shape. Neither I nor anyone else knows how these stories will turn out, since at this point they involve more blood than ink. The whole purpose of the Bible, it seems to me, is to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God’s sake. For me, this willing conversion of ink back to blood is the full substance of faith.”Sunday school group thought a lot about Fahrenheit 451. A resistance whose sole aim is to preserve books by memorizing entire volumes. The transformation of each devoted person, who keeps the existence of a book by oral tradition, reaches the point that he is re-named after the book's title. Ink back to blood. Who her? Oh, that's Paradise Lost. She's always making eyes at Plato's Republic... I'm also reminded (strangely) of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card because of the embodiment that Ender has to go through...what he thought was merely a simulation of reality was actually real and his imaginary actions therefore thrust into real actions. Ink back to blood. And there's the example of Eustace from the Narnian Chronicles who did embody the books he had read with the problem that they were the wrong sorts books to begin with. Thus "with dragonish thoughts in his heart" he could not conceive that he had, quite obviously, been turned into a dragon. Ink back to blood, only it was the very worst ink to begin with.
My reading group of church members, Cristus Convivium, is currently working through the book 'An Altar in the World' by Barbara Brown Taylor. It's an excellent book on living as Christians who (gasp) have physical bodies and, even more shocking, live in a created world. My pastor brought this quote (from another book of hers, Leaving Church) to our attention this morning:
This mansuscript, contained in The Book of Lost Tales as well as The People's of Middle-earth, is not in the published Silmarillion...an action of Christopher Tolkien's that often disputed. Personally, I wish it had been included but since we have it in other scources I'm content. Here is the second prophecy of Mandos concerning the battle of all battles at the end of all things:
Thus spake Mandos in prophecy, when the Gods sat in judgment in Valinor, and the rumour of his words was whispered among all the Elves of the West. When the world is old and the Powers grow weary, then Morgoth, seeing that the guard sleepeth, shall come back through the Door of Night out of the Timeless Void; and he shall destroy the Sun and the Moon. But Earendel shall descend upon him as a white and searing flame and drive himfrom the airs. Then shall the Last Battle be gathered on the fields of Valinor. In that day Tulkas shall strive with Morgoth, and on his right hand shall be Fionwe,and on his left Turin Turambar, son of Hurin, coming from the halls of Mandos; and the black sword of Turin shall deal unto Morgoth his death and final end; and so shall the children of Hurin and all Men be avenged.
Thereafter shall Earth be broken and re-made, and the Silmarils shall be recovered out of Air and Earth and Sea; for Earendel shall descend and surrender that flame which he hath had in keeping. Then Feanor shall take the Three Jewels and bear them to Yavanna Palurien; and she will break them and with their fire rekindle the Two Trees, and a great light shall come forth. And the Mountains of Valinor shall be levelled, so that the Light shall go out over all the world. In that light the Gods will grow young again, and the Elves awake and all their dead arise, and the purpose of Iluvatar be fulfilled concerning them. But of Men in that day the prophecy of Mandos does not speak, and no Man names, save Turin only, and to him a place is given among the sons of the Valar.