Box offices around the country were on fire the new Hunger Games installment. It seems like the whole nation was on the edge of their seats waiting to see what might happen to Katniss and Peeta after their sacrificial win to save one another in the first movie.
My teenage kids were so excited to see it, we actually ordered tickets the day before, got to the theater 30 minutes early, and the place was jam packed.
I watched news reports around the country and saw it likened to the Beetles invading America, as one reporter illustrated.
In any event, most of us know just because there is a large swell of people ready to attend an event doesn't necessarily guarantee the quality of the event. I've stood in lines for movies before, only to walk out disappointed that the marketing was better than the content of the film.
But this one was different...
Now, barring my first critique of the whole idea of the Hunger Games; mainly that whoever can sit around and think of a story where kids have to kill kids to keep th government in power is pretty sick, the movie is actually filled with some incredible story lines. For me, just as soon as I thought I had it figured out, the story line took a different direction. (FYI: I didn't read the book first.)
The acting was fare.
The landscape of the film was attractive.
The special effects met expectations.
But it was the movement in the film leading to the next that gave rise to some interesting conversations.
Themes of sacrifice, power, injustice, and the opportunity for those in power to reach out and serve were CLEAR. I suppose the vehicle of war as a story can move us to a place where those topics relate to our lives even in today's culture.
I was most taken back when the group of Victors, those who've actually won the games in the past, began to collaborate for a larger goal. I know we've seen movements throughout history where the underdog takes on a mission higher than what they knew their calling to be. But somehow, this Hunger Games got me thinking about the rise of servant hood in our culture.
We often refer to these movements as Grass Roots, and I'm interested in those movements that tend to give rise for the greater good.
So often we focus on the need of the individual in our culture. We tend to revert to a "What's in this for me" attitude predominately. However; the conversation of the "we" seems more interesting than the conversation of the "me."
When I search the scriptures for an adequate framework of this conversation, it seems to jump off the page when the "we" is in conflict with the "me."
The faith tradition I come from often tries to point out the meaning of the "me" using phrases like 'personal savior,' 'my relationship with God,' or even helps us justify 'my own experience.' Those phrases aren't very adequate when it comes to describing a world where God gave rise to the creation of all of us.
It seems like we would do better to talk in a nomenclature of how God works through the 'we' rather than focusing so intently on the 'me-centric' life we're taught. After all, Loving your Neighbor is about 'the we.' Love your enemy is about 'the we.' Even when you dissect the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the guidelines have more to do with how 'we' interact with the greater world at large than it does about my own personal actions in the world.
So when the Hunger Games pushed the button of sacrifice and servant hood, I couldn't help but think about how sometimes even in the faith community, we tend to get short sighted and put our individual interests above those of the greater good.
Paul even wrote in Romans 12, "Don't think of yourself more highly than you ought." And it's important to catch the responsibilities we've been given individually, and see them through a paradigm where God has orchestrated those individual things not for the sake of 'me' but rather to put on display how incredibly beautiful the WHOLE world is when He directs us to interact together.
Just some thoughts, and I admit they may be a bit grey, but I'm still formulating how I can think about this ever present conflict of 'me' vs. 'we.'