The more times I read The Lord of the Rings, the more I love it, and the more important it is for me. I first discovered it in college, starting with The Hobbit (which is my recommended starting point). I deeply love Tolkien, this world, this universe, the legends, the histories, the people, and the story. The Greeks said that everything was in Homer. If you studied Homer, all virtue and understanding, everything you needed to know was in there. I feel the same way about the Lord of the Rings.
The recent series of movies by Peter Jackson, while it got most things visually right, (I was amazed that anyone's artistic vision could come so close to the way things looked in my head), scored much lower in the storytelling. He made it into an action film, but action is only one facet of the story. Worst of all, he changed the motivations and character of some of the people. On the other hand his balrog seriously kicked butt. =) <3 the balrog.<br/>
In Tolkien's letters to his son Christopher during WW2, he said something I'll never forget. He said "in real wars we all know there are orcs on both sides". Orcs aren't a species, they're a way of acting.
The Lord of the Rings is scriptural to me. I realized on about the 6th reread that we live in Middle Earth. It's here now, if we look closely. The only differences with our modern world have to do with our choices, with what we want our lives to be.