Moderate Ents? Right-wing Elves?

Centrists / Religion

David Simmons takes a long hard look at Sara from Stand Firm’s characterization of the “moderates” as the “Ents” of the Episcopal Church. He finds some problems with the parallels that Sara draws:

“Sara put the ents into the context of the War of the Ring, looking at them as an example of someone who is basically ignoring the world around them while important things are happening.  I think this interpretation shows her own inclination as a member of the ‘right edge.’  As I have outlined in ‘I am an Anglican Moderate,’ one of the problems I perceive with the edge (on either side) is that they are convinced that the current fight (whatever it is at the time) is a fight that is over essentials and that must be resolved quickly in order to preserve the essence of what they believe in.  Are the Ents really just ignoring reality, or is their vision just different?  As a person familiar with the entire Tolkien legendarium, I would say the latter although if you have just seen the movies or possibly only read the Lord of the Rings, you might not think so.”

But even if Sara’s point may not scan – I’m wondering if the connection still might work for other reasons. David goes on to show that the Ents are reluctant to join in the conflict of the moment because they have a different, more expansive vision of the world in which they live. Given that I’ve been playing with the idea of the “moderates or centrists” as the inheritors of the anglo-catholic political role in the present day, I can still see the identification working…

Read the rest here: Moderate Ents? Right-wing Elves?

(Via Ayia Iluvatar.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...


  1. Nick,
    I find your application much more on-target than Sara’s. We can all read what we want into Tolkien, and I think he would be happy for the debate. Keep it up!

  2. The problem with this as I’ve said it before it continues to suppose an “us” at the center and a “them” on the edge. We are all in this together eye-to-eye brother to brother, sister to sister, baptized in Christ Our Brother. This still contains a lot of paternalizing, and God didn’t come to us relating as a pater but as a brother, and only through that way of relating do we know what a true Father looks like.
    I don’t think this kind of thing helps us see one another as “we” or that Christ is the Center. Perhaps, knowing quite a lot about being the “them” whom “we” include or minister to or not but always according to how “we” decide, but never minister with or are included by or considered when asked what is needful, I’ve grown suspicious of this whole project to decide who is “in” or “out”, who is the center and what does it look like. It just looks to me like we’re trying to justify ourselves or to suggest that somehow “we” have a vision that is clearer or more generous than “they”. According to Whom?
    In the meantime better questions would be worth considering:
    What is the hope that is in us?
    How do treat those whom “we” consider “them” as ourselves as if “we” were “them”?
    How do give pleasure to those whom “we” consider “they” as if “they” were “we”?

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