I have watched the Hunger Games like a zillion times now. I’ve not read the books. It’s on my to-do list for when my kids are gone and I have nothing better to do. But the movies I’ve watched and have found a little bit of a correlation to myself trying to live as a Christian.
Katniss, The Protagonist
Katniss is the protagonist in the story. After her father dies in a mining accident, Katniss becomes a mother-like figure to her sister, although her mother is still alive. She hunts for food and is a natural with a bow and arrow. When her sister, Prim, is chosen as a “tribute” for their District, Katniss takes her place, saving Prim from a certain death in what is known as “the Hunger Games”.
The Hunger Games
The Hunger Games is where children from each district are chosen to fight each other and only one is supposed to survive. That survivor wins the hunger games. Katniss and another character, Peeta, embarass President Snow by joining forces and through a series of events too long to explain, force him to let the two of them be the winners of the games instead of just one. Throughout the movie, Katniss is defying the rules, breaking down control, and basically pissing off the leaders. She isn’t simply a rebellious person, but one who can’t conform to what she views as evil. And evil it is. When she is told to get in line, she never does. She has her own sense of what is wrong with the world and she feels its her duty to right that wrong. She doesn’t care what everyone else is doing. Instead, she can only see the world in which she is living as becoming more and more terrible, and instead of just going with it, she fights against it.
President Snow, The Antagonist
President Snow is the antagonist of the story. He’s the ruler of the Capitol and all of Panem. In the movie, he emotionally terrorizes Katniss. One of his signature moves was leaving behind a rose so she knew he had been there. He’s basically a psychopath but is so laid back and relaxed, he comes off as a huge creep. He wants to kill Katniss, but because she is so popular and well-liked, he instead threatens the people she loves. He is an oppressive dictator who is power hungry and will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He seems to target Katniss because she refuses to obey the rules and she causes a following that also starts to think for themselves.
The Church Today
Today’s Christians often remind me of President Snow. I’m referring mostly to the ones who use shame, abuse, manipulation, and control to get their point across. The ones who victim blame and do little to try to understand those of us who’ve left the church. We are just simply tired of dealing with evil. It’s not that we are hurt and have to go coddle our feelings. It’s that we are tired of the games. We are tired of the roses you leave behind when we know the message behind that rose. They might not threaten us physically (although some can), but they threaten our spiritual walks when they spread lies about if God can really keep us since we left the church.
The President Snow types are the ones that seem bent on making anyone not in the church feel bad about their relationship with God. They assume that because we have left, we don’t love God and we can’t fellowship. They can only define “the church” one way and any argument in another direction brings them to conclude that we are lost and we never were saved to begin with, which is another shaming tactic to make us doubt our faith. Good thing I don’t put my faith in other people or what they say. I believe Christ has saved me and nothing, NOTHING, can separate me from Him. Not even manipulative church members and their abusive words.
Fixing a Broken System
How does one fix such a broken system? Can it be fixed? I’m reminded that Katniss didn’t try to fix the system. She fought against it. She merged with others who were on her side (and some she later learned weren’t, but that’s besides the point) and fought with all her might to take it down. There was no fixing of something so corrupt. You tear it down and start over, but not with the same rules, ideas, and thinking in place. You must rid a “society” of such things if it is to prosper. But people in the institutional church would rather guilt and shame a person for leaving because we are “tearing down the church” and “creating discord” by leaving. It’s our fault the church is dividing, causing in-fighting, and has corrupt rulers.
The Sacrifice for Truth
Katniss lost friends and loved ones in the process. In the same way, I lost people I thought were my friends. I lost relationships and my reputation, to some degree. I’m still fighting for truth. If the church is a place of love, why does it shun people when they leave? Why does it label them (incorrectly) as heathens and chalk it all up to “hurt feelings” or “you were never a Christian to begin with”? Why does it silence the hurting? Why does it use shame to make those of us who’ve chosen a different path to try to get us to see the “error of our ways”? The only error I see is inside the walls of the church where this manipulation and shaming is bred. The church system is good at rewiring a person’s brain to see anyone outside as evil and everyone inside as good. But the truth is, it’s the exact opposite! The evil exists behind well clothed pastors and their cronies who ooze nice sounding theological arguments and words, but their hearts are intent on control and conformity. That’s why every single church person who has decided I’m a heathen has said the same exact crap — it’s all regurgitated BS that’s been passed down from the pulpit to the sheeple. They can’t think for themselves and don’t want to.
Maybe it’s too hard to see anything different when you are inundated with brain washing tactics inside the church walls. It’s too hard for you to think that one can possibly live “in Christ alone, by faith alone” or that we could even be saved if we don’t submit to a pastor figure with a seminary degree. I think the only way one would see the truth is to spend some time actually reading the Bible for themselves, trying to understand God for themselves, without any man telling them how to think. Then, go speak to people who have left and see for yourself if we actually are a bunch of heathens all deceiving everyone and sending them to hell. And when you’ve walked alongside those people, then you can come back and tell me if they are hell-bound and disobeying scripture or not. But I’m afraid you will not even try because you are much too busy sitting on your high horse to come down and see what really is going on. It’s easier to sit on that horse and judge. And yet you think we should come back and ride on that horse with you. No thanks. I really have no interest in being with people who victim blame and shame in the name of Christ. I don’t want to drink from a poisoned spring.
My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games. I escaped. The Capitol hates me.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
In the future, I’ll write a more in-depth post based on the arguments that people have against not being in the institutional church, but for now, I thought the Hunger games comparison was something to think about. Here are some posts to check out about the institutional church and it’s evils.
What is the Danger of the Church System – Bryn Jones
Christianity and the Spiral of Silence – Jayson Bradley
10 Ways to Spot Spiritual Abuse – Mary Demuth