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Hunger Games

My book The Hunger Games and the Gospel: Bread, Circuses, and the Kingdom of God, was published by Patheos Press in March 2012.

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The Summary

In a globalized world full of uncertainty and injustice, Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series has captured the imaginations of readers looking for glimmers of hope. The tale of Katniss Everdeen’s journey of survival in the post-apocalyptic country of Panem, where bread and circuses distract the privileged and allow a totalitarian regime to oppress the masses, parallels situations in our world today. Our culture’s hyper-consumerism and obsession with constant entertainment as well as the worldwide economic and political systems that prey upon the weak and the poor are evidence that the imbalances and injustices described in Panem don’t just exist in speculative fiction. At the same time, the series’ themes of resistance to oppression and hope for a better world, portrayed honestly as messy and difficult endeavors, echo the transformative way of life Jesus offered his followers.

The Hunger Games and the Gospel explores these themes in the Hunger Games series that have resonated so deeply with readers by examining their similarity to the good news found in Jesus’ message about living in the ways of God’s Kingdom. Taking the rich statements of the Beatitudes which serve as mini-pictures of God’s dreams realized on earth as in heaven, each chapter reflects on how those pictures are exhibited both in the narrative of the Hunger Games, and in Jesus’ time, and then explores their significance for our own world. Readers are invited to allow the inspiration of the Hunger Games help them live in the ways of the Kingdom of God by discovering how they too can work towards to possibility of a better world.

Praise for The Hunger Games and the Gospel
My favorite analysis of “The Hunger Games”… Clawson does a fantastic job of reminding readers that Collins’ world of occupation, oppression, excess, and poverty is not so far removed from our own, and that it is exactly the kind of world in which Jesus himself lived.
— Rachel Held Evans, author of “A Year of Biblical Womanhood”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Julie Clawson finds everyday justice in the Hunger Games trilogy, but what may surprise and delight is that she reads the story so well and writes so beautifully about the lessons she finds there. Everyone who loves The Hunger Games should read this book.
— Greg Garrett, author of “Faithful Citizenship,” “One Fine Potion: The Literary Magic of Harry Potter,” and “The Other Jesus”

Are we living in the United States of Panem? The Hunger Games trilogy’s depiction of a wealthy, totalitarian regime that exploits its conquered neighbors is more than fiction. The series brings to life the Roman Empire of Jesus’ day and suggests a searing indictment of contemporary American imperialism. Using a framing structure of the Beatitudes, Julie Clawson powerfully explores Katniss’s suffering as a lens for understanding Jesus’ passion for loving our neighbors and building a better world.
— Jana Riess, author of “Flunking Sainthood” and “What Would Buffy Do?”

Julie Clawson writes with intelligence, thoughtfulness, and nuance. This is a collection of fascinating and insightful reflections, a set of mirrors that we as Christians must confront, even though they come to us from the unlikeliest of places: a story we’ve all read “for fun.”
— Shauna Niequist, Author of “Cold Tangerines” & “Bittersweet”

There is no question that the Hunger Games triology has touched something deep in the psyche of its millions of readers, stirring up questions and uncertainties that we all foster about our future. With sharp clarity and stunning insight, Julie Clawson helps us understand our visceral response to the series by interweaving the narrative with Jesus’ Beatitudes. The result points to a realistic hope for today and tomorrow.
— Jamie Arpin-Ricci, author of “The Cost of Community: Jesus, St. Francis & Life in the Kingdom”

16 Responses leave one →
  1. April 14, 2012

    I am on the conclusion of this book and I just had to say WOW and thank you. One of the best presentations of justice for all and the beattitudes I have ever read. And I have a question…I want to give this book to people, but so far it’s only in Kindle format. Do you plan to bring it out in a paper book because a lot of the people I want to give it to don’t have an ebook. And if not, how would I get permission to print a copy for a couple of people? Thank you.

    Debra Masters

    • April 14, 2012

      Thanks you for your kind words! There is a possibility of the book coming out in print form, as of right now I am not 100% sure if if does happen when that would be. I will post something here as soon as I know anything more!

  2. April 27, 2012

    Julie! I am loving your book and have found many passages both convicting and insightful. Thank you for writing this work; we need it.

    Peace friend,

    • March 12, 2014

      , however, I can’t say that osudite of a very academic consideration of how the novel works and how the film functions, I don’t know that I would have been able to sit through a film with graphic violence enacted by children. Personally, I thought Thresh killing Clove was horrific. Cato’s breakdown made me cry for him because it is made so obvious that despite everything, he’s a kid and this is all out of control. I liked that we got to see how everything that’s happened actually affected him, stripping the cocky Career Tribute veneer. Suzanne Collins did a really good job in the novels of showing consequences and I liked that the novel follows through on that.As for Rue, I started tearing up as soon as she appeared on screen. Knowing her fate, it was water works every damn time. Looking forward to the sequel. Thanks for the recap!

  3. Jannette Miller permalink
    August 6, 2012

    Hi Julie. I just finished reading your book, The Hunger Games and the Gospel, and wanted to tell you how thoroughly I enjoyed it. You have written a fantastic book! I started reading it to prepare for a sermon series I want to preach on modern-day parables. My family was laughing as I shared with them your recounting how you read the Hunger Games trilogy as a mid-December birthday present to yourself after finishing seminary finals. They were laughing because I too am a seminary student with a mid-December birthday. So…as I just completed the book, I also learned that you live in Austin and attend Seminary of the Southwest. We live in Killeen, and I attend Austin Presbyterian! What a small world.

    Anyway, I loved your book! Perhaps we will run into each other sometime. May God’s grace and peace continue to propel you to speak out in and for God’s kingdom.

  4. July 14, 2013

    How interesting that I should come across this article when I have been thinking lately that
    end times will be very much like life in The Hunger Games.
    On a completely different note, I am so sick of boy movies made by grown men and women
    in Hollywood. It seems that unless your script if full of F bombs and stupid boy humor, it
    is unlikely you will find anyone interested in helping to make your film. At this point, I don’t
    care how bad it turns out, I am going to find a way to make my film Taken For A Ride, a script
    I wrote for free therapy after filing a sexual harassment claim with Toyota USA years ago, only to have them flat out refuse for more than a year to send me a copy of my claim until
    I contacted the ACLU. There has to be more women who feel like I do. I want people to know
    why I wrote my script and that I wrote the entire screenplay around my brush of letter/sexual harassment claim from a big automaker. Haven’t we all been taken for a ride
    for long enough. It’s time for a few unconventional films about real women from a real women’s perspective. Plus, even the few men who have read it think it’s funny. Go figure.
    If you know anyone willing to not worry about what everyone thinks of their image who would like to help make this film, please feel free to have them get in touch.
    Thank you for your time.

  5. December 11, 2013

    I read this book 2 years ago when writing a paper for Prof. Brian Walsh at UofT. He suggested that I share it with you. I have recently turned that paper into a blog post and it is online at:

    I have read both your books and I am looking forward to your next one.

  6. January 21, 2014

    It’s possible we each can advantage from this In case you travel I guess You reside for free.there doesnt need to be sex consist of if not wanted i basically wana eat that sweet pie.I will deliver you with incredible oral sex and where it goes from There’s up to you.So i’ll basically list a couple things, Should you fall into the category, let’s set something up.Even for those who have no intention to meet with me, i would appreciate to chat.

  7. Barbara Gestwick permalink
    January 27, 2014

    Our church recently showed the movie “Hunger Games” and handed out various leaflets related to the film. I read one titled: “Life Under Empier: What the Hunger Games and the Gospels have in Common. I thought the hand-out was interesting until I got to the paragraph near the end in which was included the sentence: “The Romans crucified Jesus for calling people to live in the subversive ways of the Kingdom of God, and yet the church still stands as testimony to his alternative way.”

    It was the Jewish Pharisees who feared Jesus’s teaching and the subversive ways threatened their own personal exalted status and way of life. While the Romans carried out the sentence, it was the Pharisees who orchestrated the accusations and provided the mob which called for his death. While today’s church does preach his “alternate way”, history has shown multiple incidences of abuse of power. Power still corrupts but Jesus’s message still holds true even to this day.

    • January 29, 2014

      I’d study a little bit of history before you go around spreading the age-old myth about evil Jews killing Jesus. There is a lot more going on than the party line of the church trying to justify its abuse of the Jews tried to spread.

  8. February 6, 2014

    It’s amazing in support of me to have a site, which
    is beneficial for my know-how. thanks admin

    • March 13, 2014

      I must say, as someone who usllauy complains her ass off about any and everything about movie adaptions of books I had zero complaints about this movie. There are of course changes and missing things but for once in my life I don’t feel the need to be bothered by them because the movie was so damn great. The acting was great, the sets where great the everything was great.I spent the whole movie looking forward to seeing it again. I just really wasn’t disappointing AT ALL!I actually think for the first time in my life I like a movie version of a book I liked better than the book. (It happens a lot with books I hated but never with ones I actually enjoyed.)

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