Saturday, April 14, 2012
Hunger Games and Christian Faddism
What is it about Christians, in particular, who try to Christianize everything? Isn't this what is happening with this most recent fad of a story? Isn't this what happened with Harry Potter mania, and maybe even the recent Twilight hysteria. Why do so many Christians get so passionate about promoting such things, and when it comes to reading deeper Christian theological works; or indeed, the Bible itself---this passion quickly fizzles and these same passionate souls and promoters are nowhere to be found?
I have heard it argued, by Christians, that reading fine literary works, or imaginative/creative stories expand the readers grammatical and literary horizons, such that this then impinges upon how the reader can interact and integrate theological and biblical themes (later). I don't disagree that reading 'good' literature, and classic stories (even if they don't traffic in overtly 'Christian' themes) have the capacity to expand the reader's imagination quotient. But this argument presupposes that said readers are actually engaging the wealth and heritage of theological thought and writing we have been bequeathed with by our forbears from centuries past into the present moment. In other words, I wonder how many of these folk who make such arguments (with passion) for following the most recent fantasy story fads (for example); in fact, intentionally are just as passionate about encountering the Living Word of God as they spend hours upon hours mediating upon Holy Writ?
So what is this all about; I mean, why do so many Christians follow these fads like Hunger Games represents? And that these same Christians spend little to no time contemplating the deep things of God, theologically and biblically? And why are these Christians so eager to cull (or attempt to) the 'Christian redemptive' themes from such features as 'The Hunger Games'; while at the same time so apathetic about cultivating intimacy with Christ through doing the toilsome work of biblical exegesis and theological contemplation?
We are a culture of amusement (as Neil Postman has argued in 'Amusing Ourselves to Death'); and entertainment rues the day, both for the Christian and non alike. It makes us feel good when we can 'redeem' what the culture is excited about; even though our redemption mechanisms are really only parodies of the culture we seek to redeem. In other words, we like to think that we can 'Christianize' the culture by integration and absorption; but this process isn't any different than Aaron's and Jeroboam's Golden Calves.