The Hunger Games – engaging teens & twenties with spiritual parallels
The Hunger Games movie has released across the world, with critical acclaim. It may not be a film that would appeal to your mother, or perhaps even you – if your demographic is not teens and twenties. But be assured, most of your church youthgroup and their peers will see this one. And it’s definitely not a lightweight high school comedy. This is deep and serious, indeed bleak.
Based on the popular book by Suzanne Collins, the film is set in a disfunctional future: background to story, film [spoiler warning] and plot. (Note that although this film has been certified, with a few cuts, as suitable for 12-year-olds in eg. UK, some at this age level will find it disturbing.)
With a gripping background of life and death, it can raise some serious spiritual questions. Get up to speed with the story, and then use as a discussion starter in youthgroups, online, or anywhere else.
Here’s some useful Christian analysis to get you started:
- The Hunger Games – detailed review from CT with very helpful set of conversation-starting questions at the end.
- The Hunger Games Discussion Guide – Damaris resource with valuable questions.
- Bread and Circus – Damaris Culturewatch feature article.
- Krish Kandiah – UK’s Evangelical Alliance culture guru points to some film parallels, with link to TearFund’s related global poverty resource page.
- Julie Clawson’s An Allegory of Christian Love based on the film – she has also written the book The Hunger Games and the Gospel: Bread, Circuses, and the Kingdom of God.
- What are we really hungry for? – Casey Franklin muses on reality, illusion, and real spiritual hunger.
- But Isn’t Hunger Games about Kids Killing Kids? asks Jonathan McKee, president of The Source for Youth Ministry.
- What Makes the Hunger Games So Popular? asks Tim Challies.
There is a huge lack of online evangelistic material to engage with lower-end or upper-end teens. This is one of our huge omissions as a church. Check The Youth Culture Report for thoughts and ideas.
Have you seen the film? Please add your thoughts in the Comments section.
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