Last time, I talked about what I liked–and there’s a lot to like in the Hunger Games. But this time, I’d like to tell you what I found disturbing. I suppose it’s obvious: Rollicking festivities that include the crowd collectively leaning in to watch children hacking each other on live TV. This is quite disturbing content, but there’s something more.
I assume that Suzanne Colins is trying to make a statement–that something is not right about our entertainment appetites. When our boys shriek with glee at the blood-splattering explosions they create by jamming their thumb repeatedly on a joystick; or when the entire section of the library dripping with vampire blood can’t keep up with the appetites of our girls… Something is a little off.
Our children are obsessed with death. They are desensitized and entertained by it, and they want more. More. MORE. Kind of like the citizens of the Capitol, watching the Hunger Games. But here’s the troubling irony.
The movie masterfully focuses on the distastefulness of bloodshed entertainment. We are horrified by the cavalier people who stare at a screen filled with carnage for the sake of entertaining themselves. But what are we doing at the moment our expression turns to disgust? We’re staring at a screen filled with carnage for the sake of entertaining ourselves.
We’re surprised to turn the mirror and see that we are just like the people onscreen. So, at that point, are we cured? Is our appetite for violent entertainment curbed? I’m thinking no, because I’m pretty sure I’ll want to see Part 2 when it comes out.
Hunger Games does a nice job of showing us the problem, but we need solutions. We need hope. Our children need hope. Can we tell them that the future will not hold more war or violence or Hunger Games-type entertainment? No. We can’t.
But we can talk about the ultimate future. About the rider on the white horse who is called Faithful and True and has ‘Lord of Lords’ tattooed on his thigh. We can tell our kids how he alone will put a cracking end to the evil power of the nations with the sword coming out of his mouth. He will rule forever more with an iron rod of righteousness and truth! (Revelations 19).
This isn’t a message our kids are going to get from the big screen. We must give our kids context for the Hunger Games–both on the movie screen and in their hearts. And the good news is that God’s plan for rescuing us from ourselves is already in full swing. It began with another Hunger Games-ish scene on Mount Calvary–the place of the skull. People gathered to laugh at the blood in that place, too. But it is through His
stripes that we are healed.
This Holy Week, let’s give our children the only hope there is. Let’s tell them the story of Jesus.