Some Thoughts on The Hunger Games

A violent, jarring, speed-rap of a novel that generates nearly constant suspense…I couldn’t stop reading. –Steven King

I comforted myself over and over again with Steven King’s words. If he thought a story about Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old girl fighting for survival in a winner-take-all battle was that good, I could proudly carry around a book clearly geared toward teenage girls. Yes, I was sucked in to The Hunger Games. And I’m going to the first showing Friday night. And my girlfriend wishes she had been selected for the title role. And I’m not ashamed. I have the Steven King quote to fix that.

When the book turns into a movie on Friday night, if history holds true, certain groups in the church will have a reaction to its release.Listed in no particular order:

  1. The story is demonic. Obviously. How else could it pull people away from time otherwise used for theological memorization or Halo?
  2. The story is lame. Clearly. When compared to the bible, which has been around for thousands of years, lets just see if this one has the staying power.
  3. The story, and therefore the readers, are immature. Pretty sure we’ve already debunked this with the Steven King quote.
  4. The story has many gospel implications. It has redemption, joy, pain, tragedy, glory, friendship and love. Somebody get started on mining out the great spiritual truths therein. I’ll suggest a title: Hungry for Jesus: The Gospel According to The Hunger Games. You’re welcome. Don’t forget me when the royalty checks come rolling in.

All of these reactions will breed one of two prescriptions:

  1. Nobody should watch the movie. You endanger your soul by such foolishness.
  2. Everybody should watch the movie. Stay with the times. Discussion coming on Sunday.

Allow me to suggest a third way. If you want to see a good movie with some themes that every great story has (redemption, justice, grace, suffering, love and perseverance), then watch it and be happy. What I know is that the books were outstanding and we need to hear good stories. They have a way of inviting us in; of calling us to see beyond ourselves. They teach us to question the way we are living. They teach us to trust and to love. Don’t overlook the power of a good story. Who knows, there may be something for you even in The Hunger Games.

Sometimes prophets come to us in the most unexpected of places.

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