The Hunger Games and a Hunger for the Real Life
I’ve received notes from readers asking about my take on The Hunger Games movie and books. I haven’t personally read the books or watched the movie, but I’m sharing some thoughts from Julia Stager, graduate student in theology and support staff here at Eternal Perspective Ministries. (For a review of the movie’s content, I recommend checking out PluggedIn.com.) I especially appreciate Julia’s admonition to use this cultural craze as one more way to point to the gospel and the hope of Christ:
The Hunger Games is a sensation in America (and abroad) today. At this point it seems there is no avoiding it, so how can we, as servants of the kingdom of God, address this mania in a way that glorifies God?
The premise of The Hunger Games is that a teenage girl, in post-nuclear holocaust America, sacrifices her freedom to go in her sister’s place (her sister had been selected by chance) to enter the annual Hunger Games, where twenty-four teenagers fight to the death. It’s a grim tale. This story has violence and manipulation, but instead of focusing on those (though they should be addressed in the proper place), I propose we also use this opportunity to talk about hope.
The Hunger Games is set in a hopeless world. Its characters fight to survive, but to what end? As Christians we understand life is a precious gift and that we are created in the image of God. Though we face many trials, we have an expectant hope that in the end a just and merciful God will set things right. Through the blood of Jesus Christ we can become children of this God who is life and love. Our hope cannot be taken away.
What if we use the book and movie as a bridge to the gospel? What if we ask our friends and family who are not yet believers if they feel like they are living in a world, like that of The Hunger Games, a world without hope? Even though this movie is not Christian and never mentions God, it gives us an opportunity to share truth and light with those who are living in the dark.
This cultural sensation can serve as a reminder to all: to those of us with hope it reminds us what we’ve been saved from, and it reminds those without hope that there must be something more.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21 says, “…in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jeff Anderson has also written some great thoughts about The Hunger Games, Gethsemane and Golgotha.