This blog post will also serve as Episode 35 of my podcast. Please feel free to listen to the podcast or read the original blog post below.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, there is a place where Gandalf the Grey goes to seek the aid of Saruman the White. In the story, there is a dark power rising, and all that are in alignment with the light are feeling the need for banding together. This is what has prompted Gandalf to seek out Saruman. The movies do an okay job of relaying this moment... specifically the portion where Gandalf questions when Saruman has "...abandoned reason for madness."
I've felt those words boiling up in me over the last few days. It is bad enough when there is a complete collapse of a spiritual leader, but when the descent into madness comes from the mouths of potential allies... Anyway, I would like to share a portion from the book version though, because I believe that all those who are still in this with me will experience the prophetic feel of these couple of pages. (As you read... Gandalf is relaying the story of this encounter.)
' "So you have come, Gandalf," he said to me gravely; but in his eyes there seemed to be a white light, as if a cold laughter was in his heart.
' "Yes, I have come," I said. "I have come for your aid, Saurman the White." And that title seemed to anger him.
' "Have you indeed, Gandalf the Grey!" he scoffed. "For aid? It has seldom been heard of that Gandalf the Grey sought for aid, one so cunning and so wise, wandering about the lands, and concerning himself in every business, whether it belongs to him or not."
'I looked at him and wondered. "But if I am not deceived," said I, "things are now moving which will require the union of all our strength."
' "That may be so," he said, "but the thought is late in coming to you. How long, I wonder, have you concealed from me, the head of the Council, a matter of greatest import? What brings you now from your lurking-place in the Shire?"
' "The Nine have come forth again," I answered. "They have crossed the River. So Radagast said to me."
' "Radagast the Brown!" laughed Saruman, and he no longer concealed his scorn. "Radagast the Bird-tamer! Radagast the Simple! Radagast the Fool! Yet he had just the wit to play the part that I set to him. For you have come, and that was all the purpose of my message. And here you will stay, Gandalf the Grey, and rest from journeys. For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!"
'I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.
' "I liked the white better," I said.
' "White!" he sneered. "It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken."
' "In which case it is no longer white," said I. "And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom."
In so many ways this captures how I've felt lately. There is a dark power rising and unless I am also deceived, "... things are now moving which will require the union of all our strength." But as I've looked around, there are more and more who are abandoning their robes of white for some rainbow-colored ones. These robes might be shimmering to the eyes, so as to bewilder the eyes of some, but like Gandalf the Grey, "I like the white better."
Well, at least I have the fellowship -- that hodge-podge group of believers. If you would like to see a few of us, come to Edgewood Church sometime. Radagast might be preaching this coming Sunday.