Abba as Beloved, Berries as metaphor in films Noah and The Hunger Games, berries as symbols, Biblical translation challenges of ancient manuscripts, Catching Fire, Children of God, Christianity and diverse cultures, Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus reaching out, Mary as Mother, Son, Sophia in Christianity, spiritual and Christian symbols in YA books and films, story in biblical and modern eras, symbols of Holy Spirit, Teaching of Jesus, Tertullian and Trinity, The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games trilogy by analogy to the Christian Trinity, The Mockingjay, Trinity as Relationship, Wisdom and her children, YA and spirituality
Fans of THG trilogy know the themes of all three books beyond the love triangle of Katniss, Gale and Peeta. THG stories contain trinitarian analogies to seventeen centuries of Christian lore about deific Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). Spiritually speaking the Trinity is an ancient form of story about how the soul calls out for growth in embodied human beings and through infinite spiritual power as Jesus Christ came to share.
The Trinity can also be codified as religion, and varieties of Christian religion have codified doctrines as well as religious images over the many centuries of Christendom. (The public domain photo includes Sophia along with more familiar Christian figures and originated in the European Orthodox faith that split from the Church in Rome long before Protestantism began. Could we ever be so sure of ourselves to deny that God has worked through the Christian faithful of all times and diverse cultures?)
By posting this I intend no disrespect to the doctrine of the Trinity taken as an article of faith. As a Christian I can accept what the Trinity means to my religion and also see a more inclusive spiritual story about God calling everyone into relationship. THG also is a form of spiritual story with triads of relationships.
The Trinity speaks to relationship among the divine aspects of the Creator, modeling the relationship we can have with our multi-faceted Maker in turn. Jesus (Son in the Trinity) taught about Wisdom and her children, evoking the prior relationship between God and Wisdom as named by Jewish scriptures (incorporated later to the Bible as the Proverbs) from the everlasting in the beginning. It needn’t be a stumbling block to the healing relationship power of “Trinity” that the word itself does not appear in holy scripture. Instead the “Trinity” originated with Tertullian, called the Father of Latin Christianity, who lived between 160 and 225 A.D. and obviously never met Jesus face to face. Tertullian was a forerunner of the male authors of the doctrine of the Trinity adopted by the Roman Empire’s Catholic Church (in a time of female exclusion from imperial leadership) as codified in the Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicaea, Anatolia (present-day Iznik, Turkey) in 325 A.D. The Trinity as doctrine omits the Mother also known as Virgin Mary who physically birthed Jesus into this world. The Trinity as doctrine omits Wisdom (“Sophia” in the Greek) as taught by Jesus, Who also referred to Abba, which means Beloved from the Aramaic, when mentioning the Father. Jesus spoke about God as spirit and truth (or Spirit and Truth). Translating biblically into English from ancient languages of cross-cultural manuscripts that didn’t use capital letters can be tricky.
God is still calling all of us to increased understanding, so updated stories continue to be told about the power of reconciling us to relationship with God and one another in the created world. As a form of sculptural story, from a neighborhood Protestant church here’s one of my photos of Jesus in the boat reaching out to relationship with all people. Come all! The giant palm tree and huge blue sky also beckon in God’s creation.
In its own fashion, without using religious imagery, THG speaks to the redemptive power of relationship in the fictional Panem. We can see the redemptive power in our own culturally diverse neighborhoods, too. With Jesus as beloved Child holding up His Mother before Juan Diego, who is just a guy, a triad of beloved relationships inspire many in the Americas who take Our Lady of Guadalupe (Virgin Mary) to be their patron for bringing them to Christ. Here is my triad of three photos of the shrine built by a neighbor who is a present-day Roman Catholic.
President Snow in THG by contrast is nobody in District 12’s neighbor and not a Catholic or any other kind of Christian. During THG book one your heart clutches at the widespread fear and awe resulting from President Snow’s virtual omnipresence as father figure. He’s a counterfeit deity substitute. Like Emperors of old who required worship from their subjects, he means to be obeyed in his edicts of terror. The citizens of Panem in book one wish for a compassionate authority figure, a true holy Father who will treat them all with equal dignity. This hope is unmet in Panem’s greedily imposed political structure of rationalized mass exploitation.
THG book one hints at change with symbolic berries near its end. The film Noah in theaters (March-April 2014) uses a berries metaphor also.
Maybe Noah’s producers hoped to ride the coattails of THG fandom because the berries weren’t exactly featured in the source story of a great flood from a paternal deity angry about a world filled with immoral humans on President Snow’s low level of dastardliness.
As if a perfectly imperfect triune Child of God, Katniss, Gale and Peeta struggle with their interlocking relationships and hold out the hope of symbolic “Sonship” to save the masses from terror. It would be bigoted and culturally limited to consider the “Sonship” exclusively male when nineteen centuries ago an early celebrity Christian evangelist named Paul wrote, as biblically confirmed, that there is no male and no female in the all-inclusive Christ. (It was just as bigoted and culturally limited to use biblical writings to justify slavery in nineteenth century America, and that’s no longer done, so there’s hope for an end to biblically rationalized racism and sexism everywhere.) Much as when the biblical account of the risen Son dispenses the Holy Spirit by metaphysical tongues of fire, in THG book two you read with growing hope as Katniss in the Sonship role inspires to the point of catching fire. The film in turn brings the entertainment as led by Oscar caliber talent, anointed for inspiration.
THG book three, symbolically titled the Mockingjay, also evokes wings of angels, winds of change and the dove from above traditionally linked with the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) of the Christian Trinity. Because book three has been split into two YA parts for films due after this summer’s tent pole season, this post ends now in deference to the multiplex fans who prefer their story in movie mode. Or try praying for revelation if you just can’t wait!