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Can anyone recommend a good and simple article or book geared towards a teenager that underscores the implicit Christian themes of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion and C. S. Lewis' Space Trilogy

I am thinking something simple along the lines of the Catholic Exchange Guide to Narnia; its bullet-point format is very accessible -- I gave it to a nephew and several young relations picked it up and became engrossed in it all on their own. 

My fear is that this generation's young fantasy readers may see the works of Tolkien, Lewis, etc. as little different than the pagan pantheons and mythos fiction that makes up the bulk of the genre today. 
If they ever read Lewis the Christian references are too obvious to worry about that. Same with Tolkien's Simarillion which talks of the one Creator God and His Angels at the very beginning.
(06-09-2009, 09:28 PM)WanderingPenitent Wrote: [ -> ]If they ever read Lewis the Christian references are too obvious to worry about that. Same with Tolkien's Simarillion which talks of the one Creator God and His Angels at the very beginning.
I would have thought so too, but after much discussion and conversation with people from various walks of life, you would be surprised to know how few knew the Christian underpinnings of the stories. 
I cannot think of any that can sum it up briefly, but there is a relatively short book (about 130 pages) called Sanctifying Myth, by Bradley Birzer.  I read it a few years ago.  Absolutely brilliant and thorough!  Perhaps after reading it, there may be a short chapter that might be what you are looking for.

One thing that may help with the misunderstanding of Tolkien's work is something he said in response to the hippies and tree huggers of the free love generation loving Lord of the Rings.  He said, "These people are into my books in a way that I am not."  (I may be misquoting slightly.)
Birzer's book (mentioned above) may do the trick.

Lewis is more obvious, but they are both obviously Christian, and Tolkien is clearly Catholic.

However, these men were highly educated, more so than today's generations that may have the same university degrees. In addition, they were very interested in the future of the Church and the world. There is good reason to suspect that they, particularly Tolkien, would have wanted exactly the experience you are describing. Yes, it is very possible, and even likely, that Tolkien and Lewis in his space trilogy would have wanted to keep the Christianity inherent in their works buried, so that readers would love the stories first, and then find out who it is an what it is they really love. This is the sort of didactic existential experience they would have been familiar with, as it is close to what Chesterton describes as his own discovery, and it is very much what Lewis experienced in life. Lewis explains that he and Tolkien were drinking and smoking and talking late in the night, and they were discussing the theories of the "dying god," a popular anthropological theory at the time, and they found it interesting that such a widely popular theory was best exemplified historically by Jesus Christ. This conversation led to Lewis' conversion.

There is more evidence of the same in their novels. In That Hideous Strength, the female character (can't remember her name right now, Jane?) comes to what represents the Christian community of St. Ann in just such an indirect way: she meets them out of practical and indirect concerns, and then gradually comes to appreciate and love what they live and are. In The Silmarillion, the greatest heroes are always the most hidden ones. Earendil can make his voyage and save the world only because he operates in secret. Ditto for the hobbits. The hobbits themselves would never have entered a struggle as great as they do, had they known what it was all about from the start.

Conclusion: let those who do not recognize the Christianity of these novels go ahead in ignorance. Just encourage their love of the works. Then encourage them to do a bit of research, to find out about these authors. If they do, by the time they realize they are standing on holy ground, they will be willing to be honest.

I have met people who will not read Tolkien or Lewis because they know they are Christian.

Read on!
The magazine St. Austin's Review used to have a lot of their past articles on their website...I can't seem to find them now....about Tolkien.  There is a recent past issue..they show the table of  contents for it here http://www.staustinreview.com/star/archi...r_tolkien/
and you might be able to order a sample copy of it.

Christina
I have passing familiarity with Sanctifying Myth, as well as some other works (Joseph Pearce and Richard Purtill's books, etc.).  For me they would be good, but for a young boy, well they may be over his head.  (I actually read an excerpt from Purtill's Lord of the Elves and Endils and he said as much virtually verbatim.)  Something simpler, or at least something I can excerpt.  Speaking of Pearce, I know of the St. Austin Review and will look there.  I may end up photocopying relevant pages and underlining passages from Tolkien's own letters and Peter Kreeft's Angels and Demons.  Thank you for the leads and suggestions, and keep them coming.