30 March 2012

Don't Hate the Hunger Games for the Wrong Reasons

Some of my Christian friends were very unhappy with the movie, The Hunger Games. These generally centered on a lack of morality, or a totally self-centered, un-Christlike morality. I didn't get why they were so upset until I watched the movie. If you didn't read the book, you will not get the message in the movie.

There are several reasons for this.

The book is from Katniss's perspective. It's all first person, and you know her thoughts. You know her struggles, her fears, her loathing to kill, how she had to be the adult when her mother completely shut down for several years after her father was killed in the mine explosion, how the family had nearly starved to death, how the bounty from winning the games will give so many in her community a chance at survival and more, that they would otherwise not have.

Speaking of which, the movie really didn't convey just what winning the Game meant to a district, per the end of that last item.

The movie what drove Haymitch to drinking, and what really brought him out of it. Haymitch had been a Game winner, and then a mentor. But District 12 was so beaten down, that every year he invested his time and energy in trying to save two people from home, two people with no survival instincts or skills, who never had a chance at anything but victimhood, bloody sacrifices. Nor does it make it clear that once he saw the character and potential of Katniss and Peeta, he snapped out of it and put his all into helping them survive.

The movie doesn't really show just how dangerous the days after the Game were, not just for Katniss and Peeta, but for Haymitch and indeed all of District 12.

The movie just makes Katniss look like a pragmatist, differing from the pack of killers mainly in her lack of blood lust, and perfectly happy to fake romance with Peeta. neither is true; she was relentlessly forced into her actions by circumstances and her goal. She wasn't just fighting against (and she never killed if she had an option), she was trying desperately to save her family, her friends, her district. And Peeta, once she realized he wasn't the enemy.

If the movie upset you for reasons such as I mentioned, I strongly urge you to read the book before condemning the movie.

If the movie upset you because of its theme of government and media betrayal, I strongly urge you to read the book to better understand that theme.

No Listy lists were harmed in making this post, though they may have been offended at being left out. But, like a film maker, I have to choose what will fit. Sorry, Listy, you would have made my blog too long, and I didn't want to have to include an intermission.

09 March 2012

Got Breakthrough?

"If you need personal breakthrough, try praying for someone else's breakthrough. Job 42:10: And the Lord restored Job's losses when he prayed for his friends." -Chris Gore

From what I find in the scriptures, Jesus spent a lot more time helping others with breakthrough than he did off praying for himself. The time just before he was arrested to be crucified was a notable exception, but even there Jesus refused to focus on himself as we often tend to. Examples of this during the last day of his life include the healing the servant's ear, making sure Mary and John took each other as family, and forgiving the thief on the cross. (The effort to talk on the cross must have been massive and brutal, yet he expended that effort for others.)

As a rule, whatever I need, if I find someone to bestow that on, I get it by the truckload. Feeling left out? Include someone. Unloved? Love someone. Sad? Go make someone happy. Need healing? Go heal someone. I have found (and Scripture backs me up) that the more I pour out, the more I'm filled up. If I focus on God and others, I am taken care of. If I focus on me, I'm still cared for, but because my focus is wrong, I don't even notice. He could drop a breakthrough in my lap, and I usually wouldn't recognize it.

Don't do this out of principle or just to get what you want (or even need). Do it for love! You can't go wrong following the two greatest commandments:

"...The Lord our God is one Lord. Love the Lord your God with every particle of your being, physical and otherwise. The second one is just like that: Love yourself, and everyone else the same way." (Mk 2/29b-31a, Miles' Modern Version)