Though the fact that this was a movie about kids who are forced to fight each other to the death was disturbing and difficult to get over, there are several themes that made Hunger Games my favorite I've seen this year so far.
1) Sacrifice. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." -1 John 3:16
2) David vs. Goliath. More than just in a cliche kind of way though. Katniss resembles the David we find in 1st and 2nd Samuel in so many ways. She grew up poor, learned fighthing and survival skills out of necessity, was a tough warrior yet had a tender musical side, showed compassion and sacrificed for others, and went from a nobody to gaining so much popularity that the powers that be wanted to kill her but couldn't because it would make them look bad.
3) Small town vs. big city. Trials in life produce character, and there is a huge contrast in this movie between those that have and have not. Being a nobody from a small town myself, I enjoyed they way Hunger games depicts the down-to-earth people from the districts vs. the shallow, face painted, fake-seeming people of the capitol. The common, small-town people are shown to have more depth and character, but you get the sense that people like Cinna and even Effie aren't all that bad.
4) Government control. The way the government controls people through fear and puts it's propoganda-filled spin on everything reminds me a lot of a large Asian country I know about. Unfortunately, the U.S. seems to be becoming more and more like this, even though it's exactly the opposite of what the founders actually stood for. I used to think it was kind of weird that the Bible teaches that Jesus will reign as king one day, but the more I see how impossible it is for sinful people to govern other sinful people, the more I long for a righteous, benevolent, all-knowing king who totally loves each citizen so much He would die for them.
5) All is awkward in love and war. Katniss isn't sure if the boy really likes her or is just pretending to be head-over-heels to win the game. This kind of dynamic has always intrigued me (being a single guy who wishes he could read girls' minds). I recently flirted with and gave my number to a waitress. She seemed to encourage my feelings because she was interested in me . . . but . . .was she just being nice to not hurt my feelings or simply doing her job so I would tip well and want to come back again?
A similar situation often occurs in relational evangelism. Sharing the gospel with a friend can be tricky. They may be wondering if the friendship was ever genuine or if I was trying to get close to them just so I could convert them. On the flip side, I often wonder if they are truly interested in God or only pretending so as not to offend me. I try my best to communicate to friends that I love them for who they are and our friendship does not hinge on their response to the gospel. I desperately want them to know Jesus because He's the best thing that ever happened to me and that could ever happen to them. But if they reject Him, that does not change who they are to me and how much I care about them.
My friend Raj, who recently became a dad and wrote this awesome prayer for his daughter, gave me some good advice. He said an important goal in dating is to treat the girl in such a way that her future husband (which could be yourself or someone else) will one day thank you. He said that a good relationship isn't measured so much by how long it lasts or if it results in marriage, but by both individuals becoming better people by spending time with each other. I pray for this kind of relationship in dating as well as all of my relationships with everyone, especially those students who I come accross in ministry. I pray they will know Christ as their Lord and Savior because of me, but, even if they ultimately reject what I teach, I pray they will at the very least be able to say, "I am a better person because I knew Matt Doubet."
6) Female teen protagonist. In an action movie. And she's nothing like G.I. Jane.