The movie, "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" has revived interest in Tolkein's fantasy. It also has people talking about truths the book addresses. Much discussion centers on the ring itself. The ring is the most powerful of several rings that are abroad in this fantasy world. It can make the wearer invisible. It also seduces those who wear it.

By strange circumstances, the ring comes into the possession of Bilbo Baggins, a noble, peace-loving creature called a Hobbit. He took it from a nasty beastly creature named Gollum. At the beginning of the book and movie, Bilbo is urged by his old friend Gandalf to give up the ring. Even though the ring is evil, by and large, it seems, Bilbo is uncorrupted. Yet, when told to give it up he resists and gets angry.

It finally comes to Bilbo that he is becoming more and more like the loathsome Gollum, even beginning to talk like him. The ring has come to affect him after all. To his surprise, he learns that the evil Gollum was once a creature very much like himself. With some reluctance he surrenders the ring. So it is with all temptation. The longer we flirt with it and harbor it, the more it begins to corrupt us.

Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.