I am a reader. I love to read books, and for some reason I don’t like thick Theological volumes. I do however love a good book with a lot of suspense, or a one of those crazy thriller books (see Dan Brown or Gregg Loomis). So recently my wife’s book club read The Hunger Games, and with all of the talk from my youth I became interested.
Needless to say this is one of those books that devoured my life while I devoured it. It took something like three and a half days, and it really has gotten me to thinking. The games themselves in the book are really a kind of character study on the human condition. The books are so interesting, they have literally caught me from the beginning, and I can be a very fickle reader.
But how do The Hunger Games square with the ideas of faith, and I know that the book is set in a fictional world after a world altering rebellion and consequent brutal oppression. I am focusing a bit more on the games themselves than the extra information that we are given throughout the book. How does our ideas of people humiliating themselves for our entertainment sound to our culture today. I think that The Hunger Games depicts what many of us would characterize as barbarism, and I think you would be correct.
The games put 24 young people against each other in a fight to death scenario in an arena full of hidden dangers and nightmarish creatures. I look at the ideas of the games and I cannot help but think about the way we are enculturated into an idea of the American dream. I know I have fallen prey to the American dream many, many times. But how are we taught that we are to get what we think we “ought” to have no matter the expense to others. How is our cultural viewpoint that of me getting mine no matter what?
I think Christ draws a drastic distinction between The Hunger Games where only one person is able to prevail (I won’t spoil the book if you haven’t read it) and changes the language. Instead of only one can survive, Jesus calls to live a life where there is plenty for all. We may not have a huge house or two brand new cars, but we will live in plenty. I talked a little bit about the Kingdom of God during Youth on Sunday night, and it is something that is really difficult to explain in a coherent way for teenagers. But I think the gist is this, we can all have enough, although we may not have all we want.
If we look at our world and try to step outside of our own hunger games and strive to make sure that there is plenty for all, maybe we can finally escape this perpetual rebellion we all live with.