For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 ESV, emphasis added).

Mordor is, of course, the great land of evil ruled by Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. It is, at once, the source of the majority of the evil in Middle Earth and a land that has been overwhelmed by the presence of evil. Mordor was changed for the worse by Morgoth and ruled in utter darkness for over two thousand years by Sauron, whose goal was to spread his shadow over the world. In a sense, Mordor was the focal point of all that was wrong in Middle Earth.

Near the end of the novel (but not the blasphemous film), Mordor literally comes to the Shire. As Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin return home, all changed by their experiences in the world, they are faced with other changes Saruman has wrought in their peaceful, isolated world. Sam weeps at seeing the destruction of the Shire and says, “This is worse than Mordor … it comes home to you.” What Tolkien is showing is that Mordor is not merely a place, or at least that the evil of Mordor is not confined geographically. Theologically, Mordor is the depravity that every being carries within himself.

It is with that in my that I named this blog. We are, in a very real sense, living in Mordor, heirs to all the evil our ancestors have heaped upon us through Adam’s sin. We are in the Shire, gazing upon all the beauty that God has created, but with tears in our eyes as we see how evil has so destroyed it. But for the Christian, all hope is not lost. We can, and will, see this world redeemed and all vestiges of Mordor wiped away. Until then, we blog away, looking at the intersection of faith and culture, whether through book reviews, Bible studies, film reviews, mythology, or technology.

Following the theme of this blog, there are two poems that exemplify Life in Mordor, both from the Lord of the Rings. The first is sung by Bilbo as he leaves the Shire in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the second as he prepares to leave Rivendell to journey to the Grey Havens.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

Header image “Mordor” by Juska Wendland.