A few months ago I got a message from my audio book club reminding me that I hadn’t used any of my “credits” in a few months. I had a cross-country driving trip scheduled, so I thought what a great opportunity to download some “reading” material for the road. I chose the Hunger Games series, thinking it would be a good opportunity to catch a glimpse of what’s capturing the attention of so many young adult readers. I say this with the admission that the last time I tried this I couldn’t make it through the first film of Twilight. I’m certain that there’s much depth to those books and films that I’m missing—but I certainly missed it.
The Hunger Games, on the other hand, immediately captured my attention. Ever since discovering George Orwell’s 1984 (in 1984, my senior year of high school) I’ve been a fan of dystopian literature. Orwell’s book tuned me into geopolitics in a way that my politics and world history classes had not. It offered a narrative for me to contextualize what it would feel like to live in a culture that is only a few political events away from ours.
In The Hunger Games, we’re presented with a number of parallels to today’s world: unresolved environmental questions; a society gripped by fear, even terror; a dominant elite mesmerized by consumerism and blinded to the plight of the oppressed.
In many ways, we are living in a social scenario not far from that portrayed in The Hunger Games. In a month where our church theme is “renewal,” a good starting place may be to explore that which is in need of being renewed.