Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

I have to admit I read The Hunger Games books and I liked them.  When I was reading them I was totally thinking about the plot as a fictional game. 

A few weeks ago one of our ministers, Jason, preached a sermon that really hit home for me.   It was about how our society has been desensitized to the sins of the world.   He talked about how 50 years ago you would have never seen a woman wearing clothes that were revealing.  Our 7 year olds are now wearing clothes that are totally inappropriate.  In fact, it is hard to find things for your child to wear that their backside isn't hanging out of. 

You know why? 

Because we buy it.

 If we refused to buy suggestive clothing the industry would no longer have a reason to sell it.    But, because we have seen it for so long we no longer think it is a bad thing. 

"Well, if everyone else's kids are wearing it, it has to be okay for mine too."  I wouldn't want them to feel different, right?

Well, guess what?  I want my kids to feel different.  I want them to know that they don't have to have their butts hanging out to get noticed.  I want them to be noticed for their shining personalities or their funny jokes.   Is that wrong?  I know that I am totally in the minority.  I get it. 

The Hunger Games, if you haven't heard of it (you would have to be living under a rock to not have) is a movie about a society that is in the future.  America has been destroyed and is now divided into 12 districts.  Some are wealthy and others are not.  But all are completely controlled by a dictator government.   Because the government doesn't want any chance of rebellion, every year there is the hunger game.  2 children, a boy and a girl, from each district is picked to fight to the death in a game where everyone in the country is watching.   Your name is able to be picked when you turn 12 years old until you turn 18.  

The books were very graphic.  It told exactly how each child died.  The plots to kill each other was horrific.  Like I said, when I was reading this, it really didn't bother me.  I kept thinking, well, that isn't going to happen so it's okay.   I've seen lots of shows where people kill each other, right?  I've read lots of books where this happens too.   See, because I've seen it so many times, it really didn't affect me when it turned to children killing each other.

Let me put it this way.  Do you cringe when the news says a child has been killed?  I know I do.  It breaks my heart.  I pray for the parents and think, What if that were me?  I would be devastated. 

So, why are millions of people running to the theaters to see children killing each other?  What kind of entertainment is that?   I believe it is because we have became so insensitive to how people are treated that it no longer affects us.

As long as it doesn't affect US.

After hearing the sermon about this, I decided that from now on, my children and I will only watch things that would please God.

We don't watch shows that the kids disrespect others because I don't want my kids disrespecting anyone.

We don't watch shows with bad language because I don't want my kids using bad language.

And we most definitely will not be watching (or reading the books) a movie about 24 children who kill each other.  

I know it isn't real.  My children would probably realize it isn't real.  But, it isn't right so we are not going to do it. 

You can decide for your family.  That's what's great about America.  We have the freedom to do what we want.

Hopefully, we never get to be a society like the one portrayed in The Hunger Games, huh?  Instead of deciding if we were going to see a movie, we'd be praying our children weren't picked to be a part of the game which would end their lives. 

You know why The Hunger Games is going to, sadly, be a huge movie?  Bigger than Courageous.

Bigger than Fireproof?

Because people are going to pay to go see it.    If we refused, it would make the industry spend more money on movies that would be good for families to watch together.

You can read the Christian Movie Guide review here.


Sue Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue Smith said...

I am in the category of "never have read the series". After reading your post, I am very glad to be in said category.

Luke said...

And why are people going to pay to see it and not the other films you mention? That is a key question Christian filmmakers need to address. And, from my perspective as a Christian filmmaker, at least one of the reasons is obvious: The story.

I haven't watched Courageous or Fireproof. I can't bring myself to do so after seeing "Facing the Giants" (and the reviews I've seen say the last two were as bad, if not worse, than the first). The story is so fake, contrived, and lame... I can't bring myself to sit through such things. (In fact, at the time, I contrasted Giants with another very secular film.)

At a friend's urging, I went to see Hunger Games. I haven't read the books, nor do I plan to, but I can see why the story is compelling. It asks really hard questions, and gives powerful answers. It paints a world that, while certainly not one like our own, contains enough ties to make it believable... or, at the very least, relevant to our own.

And isn't that how Scripture works? Throughout the pages of the Bible, we encounter all sorts of crazy, horrible, amazing, terrifying, redemptive and powerful examples of human nature and God's working.

Granted, the content of Hunger Games is not something we should just let children ingest. We must be wise as to what content we put in front of ourselves. But at the same time, the Bible does not shy away from violence and intimacy and betrayal and lies and all manner of vice. In fact, it consistently uses it to show our profound need for a Savior and a renewing of our minds.

My two cents. I think the sooner we Christian filmmakers realize that there are very good technical reasons why people tend to avoid our films, the sooner we can begin to tell compelling stories and spur us all on to good works so people see them and praise our Father in heaven...


Loving learning at Home said...

Luke, than you so much for commenting. I agree with many things you said. I did enjoy Fireproof. Courageous was kind of tacky but I loved the storyline. I do agree that they were not the best made movies but I think it is probably a money issue.
I totally agree that the Bible didn't shy away from violence and lies and sin. I feel like the difference is that the Bible was true. Sad, bad things happen in this world. We read about missionaries and other people who have been through horrific situations. I don't mind and in fact encourage my children to learn about how God works in situations like these.
I also agree that a lot can be learned from these movies (without ever watching them). Like we don't have to do what everyone else is doing; it is never okay to hurt someone else; the world is a horrible place but it could be a lot worse. I love that you commented as a film maker. I agree that this is a compelling story line. Like I said, I read the books and liked them. I, too, just wish that more "good" movies were being made that we could feel good about taking our families to see.
Thanks again for commenting.

Luke said...

I love Missionary Biographies for this very reason! So glad you brought that up. Excellent point.



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