The Hunger Games Film Left Me Hungry

I started reading The Hunger Games on Thursday night, finished it on Saturday afternoon, and then saw the movie on Sunday night: such fun!

Can’t remember the last time I read a book with such eagerness. I loved its blend of high-tech futuristic sci-fi with semi-old fashioned wilderness survival, its exploration of violence and resistance and redemption, creativity, culture, exploitation, and consumption.

And? It was just a very entertaining, engaging read.

The movie was not disappointing, either.

(Although I confess that, reading the book, I somehow assumed that everyone in Panem would be multiracial; these racist responses to the film are completely baffling.)

BUT–I do confess that I was a little surprised that food–which was almost a character in the book–was barely little more than a cameo in the film. Hunger (ahem!) is such an important part of what motivates and drives life in most of the districts, while the Capitol is marked by excess.

Yeah, I know that food/eating is kind of a preoccupation of mine, but to my mind, a strength of The Hunger Games is that Collins shows clearly that the highest cannot stand without the lowest: that technology, power, entertainment need raw materials and crops from the earth; that hungry people have energy for little else except finding food; that hunger and thirst lead all but inexorably to violence and murder but, occasionally, miraculously, to communion and love.

Source (and recipe!) here.

And so while I didn’t expect the film to be another great food movie, I’d kind of hoped that food would get more than a cameo.

I can only think it didn’t because it was made by well-fed people from the Capitol… 😉

Gifts of Grace in Bread, Wine, and Words

We’re back!

SOMEone turned SIX on our trip!

It was a wonderful trip, 9 days of visiting friends and family, most of whom we haven’t seen for a long time, because although my husband and I both went to college in the Northeast, we are back in this general area after 4 years in Europe, 2 in California, and nearly 2 in Chicago.

wagon ride on the streets of Harrisburg

A few weeks ago I had a post on the Christianity Today women’s blog on why it’s good to have people over to your house for dinner, even if it can feel vulnerable and awkward. I didn’t say much in that piece about how accepting hospitality also involves some vulnerability. It means accepting the kindness of others, which in our culture can sometimes feel like weakness. I suspect that’s one of the reasons some of us find it easiest to meet at “third places,” like restaurants and cafes. It’s easier to just go out to eat and order what you want and pay for yourself so that your friends don’t have to serve you and clean up after you.

Accepting hospitality is, I think, a little like accepting grace. You can’t earn it. You can’t make yourself worthy to receive it. Which is why it’s uncomfortable to accept. Accepting grace means admitting you need it. Accepting hospitality means accepting a gift of someone’s time, effort, and resources. Sure, you might bring a thank-you gift or card, but only a cynic would regard that as payment.

But staying with friends, eating with friends in homes–there is something almost miraculous going on there that I can’t quite put my finger on. I guess I can see why Jesus did so much of it. Even where I experienced nervousness at being so close to people I hadn’t seen for years (or, in some cases, hadn’t yet met), joy overwhelmed the nervousness. There is something precious about meeting people in their homes, seeing them with their children and in the place where they are (I think!) most comfortable. You can see that they are not so different from you–whether it’s in the quirkiness of their decor, the occasional crankiness of their children, or the unpredictability of pets, meal plans, and laundry piles.

another lovely PA farm…all the more lovely because of the people we love who live there!

(More than once, our children were cranky, rude, or whiny, prompting our various hosts to say in all sincerity, “your kids do that, too?” Tim & I joke that it’s our ‘ministry’ to help other parents feel better about their kids’ behavior…)

We are home now, but the joy of communing with friends on this trip has made me crave more hospitality in my life–more times of connecting over food and drinks and conversation, more times accepting and offering gifts of grace in bread, wine, and words.

we all should have friends who have grandparents who have ponies!

Thank you for your sweet hospitality, dear friends! We love you so much.