Seeing God in “The Hunger Games”

I think that the first I’d heard of The Hunger Games was in a FaceBook conversation between a high school teacher I know and some of her students.  I love to read and have a heart for teens, so when I heard an outline of the story I knew I had to read it for myself.  Of course, then I found out it isn’t just one book but three, and I was thrilled.  There is nothing like a continuing story to wet the appetite of an avid reader.  I remember years ago discovering a paperback book series about the Oregon Trail that numbered into 30 or 40 books… I think I bought the whole set at a used book store in town and I devoured a book every couple of days.  Needless to say, if The Hunger Games story went on beyond the three books, I’d be one happy camper. So, when I found out that the books were being turned into movies as well, I got about as excited as any other fan of the series.

If you’re not familiar with the book, here is the story in a nutshell.  It is written from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen who lives in one of the 13 “districts” in the country of Panem, which is what is left of North America after some future war.  Everything is run by the Capitol, a highly advanced city that seems to hold complete power over the rest of the nation.  The Hunger Games are an annual event in which one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 to 18 are selected through a lottery system from each of the districts  to compete in a televised battle in which only one person can survive.  The citizens of the Capitol find the most perverse pleasure in following what happens to the contestants from the comfort of their over-indulgent lives, and seem to love hearing the Gamekeeper’s creepy mantra, “Happy Hunger Games!  And may the odds ever be in your favor.”  Think of it as “The Truman Show” meets “Survivor” meets “Lord of the Flies” – or the extreme end result of our cultural fascination with reality television.  The story has families ripped apart, sacrifices being made, a disgust for the disconnected masses of the cultural elite, and a love story or two woven in between. Continue reading

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When God says, “So?”

We have friends who recently moved to Seattle all the way from Spartanburg, South Carolina simply because it was something they wanted to do.  Yes, they prayed about it – they were even considering a couple of other places, one being “back home” to the Tampa Bay area – but in the end, Seattle seemed like the right place to go.  Now that they’ve been there for several months, they are planning on moving to Los Angeles for at least a year to get involved with a large inner-city ministry there called The Dream Center and then see what God has for them next.  We have other friends we’ve been praying with, who have decided to leave a city they’ve been pastoring in for several years, and move “back home” to help strengthen the church they were raised up in almost thirty years ago.  When I was talking with them the other day to see what their decision was, they had told me they hadn’t heard what we would call a “God said”, but how it seemed like the right thing to do.  But is it? Continue reading