Thursday, March 29, 2012

"The Hunger Games" and the modern day Christian.

I have to admit, I read the books because "everyone was doing it".  However, from the first page, I was hooked and ended up reading the 3 fairly long books in 4 short days; neglecting my family, laundry, mealtime, and everything in between.  When I read a book, my mind marinates on the subject matter for days, weeks, maybe months.  I allow the psychology of things to resonate within me, I imagine a world similar to the one I just entered into through the readings, and I am gripped with emotion similar to the characters on the pages.  It is probably weird....I don't care.

I am sure (although he hasn't said it out loud), my husband was completely relieved when I was finished.  Life resumed and order was reestablished to the parsonage.  I even went to see the movie with a friend and was impressed to have seen a pretty good adaptation of the read on screen.  

I was truly surprised (caught off guard), when confronted (not to my face) of the morality issues of reading these books and seeing this movie.  I felt a tad bit ashamed when I heard things like, "Christians shouldn't be interested in these books or this movie," or, "violence is something that God wants us to stay away from viewing."  I thought to myself, "Have I become so desensitized that I have done something to offend my God without even a second thought?"  

I am still working through the logistics of this thinking.  I am still kind of reeling from the fact that I may have truly sinned without even knowing it.  I am still sort of flabbergasted that Christians attack each other on all fronts, (especially women).  And I am still wondering what is the big deal!?!?!

This story replicates what a society would look like upon becoming desensitized to trauma and each other's pain. 

  • The story demonstrates games where kids are chosen and fight each other (ultimately to the death) to bring honor to their district.  
  • The story demonstrates the demand of watching people hurt each other, and the need to look good while doing it.
  • The story reflects a nation's desire to eat until they can't stomach another bite and drink until they stumble, while people everywhere else starve outside their selfish radar.
  • The story puts into words what a world with extremely wealthy and extremely poor families would look like.  
  • The story shows what length individuals will go to cover their imperfections.
  • The story permeates a Godless society where wealth, prestige and physical attractiveness matter more than the oxygen they breath.
  • The story puts on display what humans will do to eliminate existential boredom.
  • The story demonstrates a society where common people can become famous overnight by participating in reality television.  
  • The story demonstrates a people so desensitized to nudity, that they feel totally comfortable within an arms reach of half dressed, or naked men, woman, and children.
  • The story follows a young girl, forced to mature beyond her years by loss, oppression, poverty and burden.
  • The story demonstrates a society where they want to see death, they have to see the proof.
  • The story magnifies how some children are raised desensitized, demoralized, detached and prepared to do anything to "win".  
  • The story exemplifies the tempting distraction of mindless entertainment.
  • The story shows a child's loss of innocence. 
When I read this list, the plot doesn't seem so far-fetched.  Truth is, this nation of "Panem" has been lulled to sleep.  They have been tricked into believing that this practice of taking children and sending them to their death will somehow keep them safe.  They have convinced themselves that it will never change, only get worse and they have to follow suit.  They have subscribed to the insanity because it is what has been going on for 74 years and why buck the system?!?!  The people of the Capitol, have no idea of their acts of terror they inflict on innocent lives.  They are happy,fed, rich, beautiful (or doing anything they can to be), and oblivious.  They sit by and watch it happen....kind of like us.  Us Christians, who by nature, become so comfortable that we are more worried about the movie choices of our brother's and sister's in Christ then to the actual injustices taking place all around us.      

These books are fiction.  They are meant for entertainment.  They are created by a woman who does not profess or denounce Christianity.  In my research, I have not found any proof that she is following ChristianityBuddhismScientology, or you on Twitter.  Maybe she had an agenda, maybe she was disgusted with society, maybe she, herself, was bored...I don't know and I really didn't think about it until my Christianity and moral compass was questioned.  

I do know, that a nation described in bullet points above, doesn't differ too greatly from one I live in now.   Like the citizens of that dark world, we are lost and hopelessly oppressed without a Savior.  Even as we fight for a more just and loving world, we must not only find hope in Christ, but also follow his example: "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Jesus who took "the very nature of a servant" and "humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8).

I will let you know after I pray some more if I feel I am a big sinner for reading and seeing "The Hunger Games".  But, before you worry judge me and my Christianity, allow yourself to marinate on this:

I am concerned with a person in the year 2012;  a society where we watch school yard cat fights and bums fighting for their dinner on YouTube - who can say that "The Hunger Games" are merely filling innocent Christian minds with images that are completely removed from reality.



  1. I think the person that criticized you was wrong. World magazine had an interesting review on the movie and I think, after reading the book, it was a morality tale. No sex in the book, no swearing, no using the Lord's name in vain, no really graphic violence. The author said she is concerned about reality TV and the way we, as a culture, are becoming desensitized to violence, and that's really what this is about.

    Why do Christians always have to tear each other apart???

    1. I don't know. And I am not counter attacking. I just have heard some hype about Christians and this story, and wanted to lay out what I think the underlying theme is.

      It really made me think about how, we, as a culture, entertain ourselves.

  2. Maybe Christian writing could step up and show half the creativity and excellence of Collins and then we can talk about Christian alternatives. What if people who served a God who spoke sunsets into the sky were just a tad better at creating beautiful and creative works. What if followers of the creator, who made the human body with all of it's intricacies, who designed blue jays and each creature in every complex ecosystem, who made fertilization the beautiful process it is, who wrote a drama where a savior gives everything to redeem a lost and hopeless people, what if those people actually became meaningfully creative? I would love to see a world where Christians are leading the way in creativity. Dont sweat this michelle. If the Holy Spirit was concerned about Christians watching violence, Paul would have told his people to not attend Gladiatorial combat. He never did and it was a contemporary and comparable issue. In fact, it was substantially more violent and very real.
    This made me so mad that i cant keep writing or i will say something awful.

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  4. I've thought some more about your blog, and now that I'm calmer, I see it was not a personal attack against you. It is sometimes hard to know where we are being too much like the world and when we are engaging culture, seeing what is there, knowing our battles, etc.

    I once heard a speaker say, "Well, you don't have to get into a cesspool to know it smells!", and in one sense, I do understand his point of view. It is difficult where to draw the line between falling into a pit and trying not to be too naive about the battle. Sometimes understanding a bit of the culture and where people are coming from really helps a lot, if you use some wisdom -- don't you think?

    1. Exactly Pat. Which is why I wrote this blog. I believe that it is easy to judge because it make us feel like we are "doing something Christian". I am not sure our fellow believers even know they are judging. I heard once, from a very awesome youth pastor from NJ :), that what is temptation for one, is not necessary the same sin for another. I did not stumble reading the book, nor did I cause my brother or sister to stumble. I just merely enjoyed it.

      I actually didn't feel like I was attacked. I just felt like I wanted to explain some misunderstandings with reading fiction. Before I learned more about Christ, I was a very IMMATURE Christian who judged people based on what I thought Jesus cared about. I was that person with bumper stickers about the rapture. :) I get WHY people say things, I just want to encourage them to understand more about Jesus before they proclaim what His agenda is. Ya know? I wrote the blog mostly for the controversy it has spun in our society (media), I don't think the person who said something is even on Facebook!

      However, I have read a lot of reports in the media about where we, as Christians, should stand. I feel that at times, Christians put life to non-issues. It is a waste of good energy, energy that could be used to combat other things, like preventing the plot of this story for example.

      Thanks for your comment Pat! What would a blog be if we couldn't share our opinion and maybe inform others!?!?! :)

  5. So i just read this blog and I enjoyed it! I agree that at first, I felt bad going to see the movie, because I didn't want to give it good 'ratings' by buying a ticket. I felt like the premise was horrible and how/why would anyone want to watch a movie like that? But I do agree with your bullets points above and realize that we are (and becoming more) a culture like that, where reality TV is what we want to watch, regardless of what it is showing. We (yes, even Christians) like to watch others do immoral things, like have casual sex, hurt each other (physically and emotionally), exploit others, do anything to 'win', etc.

    It reminds me of chapter 6 in the book, Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. He uses the illustration of what an 'alien' would think if one would land on earth and study the culture. His end conclusion is that the alien would think that we have this 'disease' of comparing our selves to each other, to make ourselves feel better and ultimately define us.

    We are constantly looking for someone or something to tell us that who we are and that we are good enough. Miller goes on to talk about how without a Savior, we will just continue this cycle of trying to make ourselves feel that we are ok.

    I think that relates because I feel like we do that with 'reality' TV programs. We compare ourselves to the people we watch. We have become densensitized that these are real humans. (now of course some shows like Jerry Springer and such may be more staged, but it's still real issues that this messed up world has to deal with.) It does continually remind me of how broken this world really is. I just feel bad watching others 'hurt' or just waste their time and money on dumb things while others starve, for my entertainment.

    I read somewhere that Collins wrote the books, as a mix between reality TV, Survivor, and her own imagination, so I agree that it's not far off. (not to mention the children in other countries, that are forced to fight or be killed, but that's a whole other sad story.)

    Sorry my thoughts seem random, but just wanted to let you know I enjoyed your thoughts as well. :)

  6. Thanks for commenting! I am going to check out that book!