When you get a second, read The Definitive Christian Review of The Hunger Games. Written by a pastor in Canada, it makes a nice complement to my previous post on The Hunger Games . Of course, he didn’t intend to complement anything I wrote. He doesn’t even know I exist.
Correspondingly, I didn’t set out to be an apologist for The Hunger Games series, whole-cloth. I would never hold up the series to Christians as exemplary literature. Give me Milton, Tolkien, Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Walter Miller, even Rowling (That’ll start a new controversy!). Each of these authors sub-creates worlds imbued with super-nature and the Sacred. There is no such category in The Hunger Games. No God, no prayer, no Providence–nothing beyond the world of human good and evil. So, why defend it to Christian audiences?
The “Definitive Review” (which means he’s tired of arguing the point) gives several good answers to that question. For me, it’s what my partner, Carmen, calls “a teachable moment.” Christian audiences, in my opinion, need to learn the difference between discernment and censorship. Have you read The Hunger Games (hereafer, HG)? With all the gut reactions to the series now in print on various blogs and websites, is it obvious to you which comments betray a basic ignorance? Strong opinions stated in the absence of having read for oneself opens him or her up to the charge of credulity. When someone equates violence in HG for the endorsement of youth violence, no different than violent video games or the worst gangsta rap, or death metal, they are not making the obvious distinction between portraying something and endorsing it.
I say “obvious” not to be arrogant, but because if you actually read HG (my review is limited to the first book in the trilogy), you’ll quickly see how the story frames violence: as the tragic consequence of an immoral government and societal decline. If you want to oppose HG on the grounds that it portrays a world totally devoid of the Sacred, be my guest. But don’t oppose it because it “glorifies kids killing each other.”
My goal in these posts is to help my fellow evangelical Christians be quick to think, slow to speak, slow to post angry comments (to borrow from James 1:19). So often, we go with the opinion stated the loudest in our camp. And so often, it is an opinion stated without sufficient ground, reasoning or biblical discernment.
Living in the world redemptively (our mission in Matthew 28:20) requires that we see and affirm truth, goodness and beauty in the midst of fallen, broken and sinful conditions. Otherwise we are noisy gongs and clanging cymbals.