Hunger for What?
By Marty Norman –
Anyone who reads my books or columns knows that I’ve been boycotting violent and explicit sex movies for years. Ever since Basic Instinct, I’ve been totally horrified at what our youth are exposed to and I have refused to participate on any level.
At least until today. I’m breaking my own rules, and I’ll tell you why.
At the suggestion of my husband, I went to see The Hunger Games. At first, I was adamantly opposed. “Nope, not going. Don’t want to be a party to this trash. I’m boycotting.”
Jim insisted. “I think you ought to see this one. Everything you talk about in your blogs politically, spiritually, culturally and emotionally is in this movie.”
So I agreed and, wow, what a thought-provoking movie. I didn’t agree with the premise or story line. And, yes, I was disturbed by the themes and visuals. But Jim was right regarding the hidden discussion opportunities. They just jumped off the big screen yelling to be tapped.
The movie is a snapshot of the world—a reflection of what society has become through competition, reality games, large government, power and control. But it’s also an opportunity for our generation to launch a discussion of the post-modern world versus the Biblical worldview. If this movie is any indication, it looks like post-modern is winning—now’s our chance to right this misconception.
In the movie, political, emotional, ethical and spiritual themes abound. Take your pick. But you have to look beyond the obvious. You have to look with eyes of wisdom and experience, with spiritual eyes that see into the deep.
An obvious theme is the conflict between good and evil. If you know anything about history, much of the imagery resembles documented textbook evil: Nazi concentration camps, the Roman Forum, chariots of gladiators, ravenous crowds hungry for blood. The images of the haves versus the have-nots were disturbing. Sound familiar?
That’s why the title—The Hunger Games—was brilliant. Hunger was on every level: the people hungry for blood; the producers hungry for control; the audience hungry for a winner; the combatants’ hungry for a savior, the sponsors hungry for victory, and the reality shows hungry for ratings.
On the political front, the government was pure evil, perhaps a modern day China, Iran or Cuba. The potential ramifications of global policy as it relates to a Hunger Games scenario is worthy of thought and discussion? Although an entire article could be written on political ramifications, I’m concentrating on reviewing the movie through spiritual eyes.
History teaches that when people move away from God, they fill that vacuum with something else: addictions, drugs, pornography, money, people, power, control or idols. But there’s a hunger implanted in each heart, a search for something greater than ourselves. In Hunger Games that hunger is filled with counterfeits and distortions, cultural and ethical mandates, as well biblical themes and principals.
Another distortion was in the area of transformation. What a great opportunity to act as a bridge between the worldview and biblical view of transformation. Clearly, the missing component was faith, specifically the Christian faith. An explanation of the presence of Jesus and how His saving grace would have transformed everything would certainly add flavor to any discussion.
The question of ethics and a moral compass is another theme worth contemplation. In the movie instead of consistency, the rules changed on a whim, leaving a trail of confusion and delusion. Can you imagine what sort of discussion you could get into on that one?
As I ponder the consequences of The Hunger Games, it is clear that God is opening a door for writers to witness to the truth through the visual arts. There seems to be a hunger for these types of movies. Look at Star Wars, ET, and Lord of the Rings. What a magnificent way to communicate Biblical values through metaphor, symbolism and science fiction. Indeed, there’s an opportunity for creative missionaries to write and produce a witness for Christ in a genre that young people understand.
So should you see the movie? I answer with a resounding yes. Not because it’s good, but because your children and grandchildren are seeing it. And not only that, it is now required reading in elementary and middle schools. Can you believe that?
All this to say, anyway you look at it, the world is changing. If you want to stay on top of the eight ball and influence what your kids and grandkids believe, if you want to present a moral, biblical worldview as an option for right living, you better speak the language of the young. Like it or not, The Hunger Games is that language.
While they are being fed mistruths and distortions, we are asleep at the wheel. Better to combat distortion with facts, figures and truth, in a language they understand, than to be left out in the cold.
It’s up to you.