The Hunger Games – engaging teens & twenties with spiritual parallels

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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:

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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2 comments to The Hunger Games – engaging teens & twenties with spiritual parallels

  • Greg Gamble

    This class warfare story aptly describes the whirlpool that is our devolving civilization that was once upheld by the Golden Rule. Our response should be to collectively fall to our knees in repentance because the fact that multitudes of christians flock to see this story pulls back the curtain on our own spiritual shallowness. Katniss and the other gladiators, though futuristic, accurately portray us, as do the Capital dwellers who see themselves as virtuous because of wealth.
    Though there is innocence, true love and Christlike sacrifice among her people, there is no Archetype of goodness and no Redeemer figure that gives His own life rather than take another.
    We have lost our love of the gospel story and become bewitched by clever fables that have a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof.
    Our children should not see this movie unless their hearts are unreservedly submitted to Jesus Christ, because these ‘good’ stories are the enemy of the Best one, and appeal to our Adamic inclination to pit good against evil, rather than be simple concerning evil and hungry to know Jesus intimately.
    We should be careful what we wish for as well, as this incendiary anti 1% saga is well timed to fuel the fire burning in the minds of our young, who consider themselves to be the disenfranchised 99%.
    Paul declared that his generation was not unaware of Satans devices to beguile them, but I think if he were writing a letter to the Americans or Canadians he would sadly point out that we rely on movies and other media rather than Spirit filled lives to portray the truths that we hold dear.

  • Tony Whittaker

    Dear Greg

    Thanks for your comments.

    Just a few amplifications of why I think this film (and many films) can be a starting point. This is not the same as endorsing the film or its worldview. It’s more saying that probably a large majority of even young as well as older teens WILL watch it anyway. And, having watched it, it becomes an area of common interest and a conversation starter, whether they are Christians, and especially hopefully, if they are not.

    The very bleakness of the film is in itself an area to discuss. And certainly the concerns you have about the narrative are precisely the key areas that could be a part of discussion, in for example youthgroups.

    Young people especially need to understand the nature of worldviews and our postmodern post-Christian culture, and how these are reflected in every single aspect of our surrounding cultures.



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