I have to say, I read The Hunger Games for a class (yeah, it was a pretty awesome class!) and remember REALLY enjoying the story. Of course, this class was over a year ago and I (stupidly!) sold my book. The movie release holds additional excitement for me as my hometown was a major filming location (HOLLA Shelby, NC!). Social media has blown up with simultaneous Hunger Games pandemonium and paranoia. Much like Harry Potter and Twilight before it, Suzanne Collins’ tale has parents, teachers, and community leaders alike questioning the reading material we place in our young people’s hands.
Whether or not material is “age appropriate” or even just pain ol’ “appropriate”, I do want to say that Christians should be so salted with Scripture that we naturally think on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV) I would love to see people of all ages become so gripped with the Gospel narrative that they are clearing out every bookstore’s supply of Bibles! At the same time, I don’t believe that Christians should seal themselves off in some holy cave and ignore the world at large. How ELSE do we tell people about Jesus unless we’re actually in contact with them? Unless we’re doing life together? If we cling to our Savior, we can certainly handle the world’s offerings with discernment.
That’s where my thoughts on the Hunger Games come in.
Sure the series has questionable themes. Is it okay to read a book series about teenagers forced to play in a merciless gladiator-to-the-death game? For one, I would like to point out that kids these days are ALREADY playing to-the-death games on a regular basis (Halo, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, etc. etc. etc.) Collins’ book was no more shocking (in my view) than Lord of the Flies, for example, which middle schoolers have been forced to read for decades. Popular literature is popular precisely because it engages themes people observe everyday. Themes such as life, death, joy, anger, revenge, mercy, justice, hope, fear, and despair. Ideally, students would be reading books along with wiser, older people who can guide conversation and lead to insight. (Read: Following the advice of Proverbs 22:6)
My ranting point in this post is directed towards those who would brush off ANY discussion about the media our children are consuming with a, “Well, at least its getting them to read!” Seriously? Seriously. If your ten year old son picked up Playboy to read, would you be glad that “at least he was reading”? Obviously, discernment is vital. I can’t say much more on the subject as I’m not really an authority of any kind; I’m just a woman with some thoughts. Who should be monitoring what our kids read? It seems to me that their parents. Moms and Dads have been given a charge from God to raise up children for God’s glory. As that charge plays itself out in the entertainment would, I would think parentals should be cautious but not hysterical.
….and I am hoping to catch a showing of The Hunger Games very soon!