Two years ago I was given the Hunger Games trilogy as a gift and scoffed at the idea of reading teen literature. But within the first couple chapters I wanted to change my name to Katniss, date Peeta, and stand in a three finger pose while whistling like a Mockingjay.
But layered deep beyond the districts and demise, there was something disconcerting about the trilogy. Clearly, the series is a depiction of the world we are living in today. The capital. The districts. The people. The oppression. [Insert Mockingjay whistle here]
This may sound insane, but around the globe people are working tirelessly for little or no pay, many suffer from disease or malnourishment, and many others live in squalor and poverty, relegated to societies and structures they were born into.
Continents like Africa face death and disease daily. Countries like India and China are forcing women into slave labor. Cities like Bangkok and Amsterdam exploit women by commodifying their bodies.
But in the United States [aka The Capital], the average American woman will be on Facebook for over 75 minutes a day. The average American woman will watch three hours of television a day. The average American woman will consume 4.5 meals of gluttonous proportions, but 74% of average American women will spend two billion dollars on diet pills and weight-loss products.
I refuse to believe that our generation of women want to be categorized as average. We have an opportunity to think upon and fight for what is good, true, and right (Phil. 4:6). In light of God’s command in Isaiah 58:6, we are to make loose the cords of injustice and set the oppressed free. In the original Hebrew text, Isaiah 58 is a list of imperatives—go and do. In short, you’re not to just think about doing justice, you are to GO and DO justice.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the weight of personal world, which gives us one more thing to do or cause to care about. However, we cannot be a people group who relegates our compassion to dropping change into a homeless man’s empty cup, checking off our weekly church attendance, or getting sad while watching a commercial about abused dogs to a Sarah McLaughlin music track. God doesn’t want religious obligation, He wants radical living.
“Do you know what I want?
I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it.
That’s what I want. That’s all I want.”
Amos 5:24 (MSG)
My fear is that we are prone to ignore, prone to turn away from the pain in the world because we don’t have the time, space, or margin to care. I get it. I’m a wife and step-mom who works full time, travels for work, and I’m involved in church.
But as Christians, as people leading other to Christ, scripture isn’t written for us to pontificate points of poverty or depravity. The Gospel is more than a mindset; it’s action oriented. The Gospel is more than religious activity; it’s radical living.
Don’t pray for righteousness, live righteously.
Don’t talk about justice, live justly.
Don’t play church, be the Church.
As we speak with Propel women across the nation and globe, I’m hopeful. Yes, our world is facing a horrible reality. But our reality is not our destiny. It never is.
The attraction to Katniss Everdeen is the reality that she could be you, she could be me. At the core of us is a desire to do what is right, good, true, and just. The sacrifice is big. The risks are daunting. But reward is worth it.
We have a chance to stand before the Capital and do what called to do: change the world.
Here’s to side braids, freedom, and archery. But better yet, here’s to a generation of Katiss’, Peetas, and Prims who know that their valiant acts could very well change history.
May the odds be ever in your favor…