The Reason for a Victor: ‘We Save One to Prove Ourselves Gracious’…

Just got back from seeing the Hunger Games. There are a million things you could discuss after viewing (and other have already). What struck me, that has not been mentioned (that I noticed), came in the opening scenes, and was re-emphasized towards the mid-point.

President Snow says in the opening, we take 24 tributes as a punishment and remainder of your treason, and leave one alive (if you can call it that) to show our graciousness. This theme was touched again as Snow and Crane debate the problem of Tribute Everdeen. Snow asked why have a game with a winner in the end. Why not just take all 24 out and shoot them? Hope, he stated, it gives hope that someone will in the end be saved from the horror and madness in the Districts (and shadow-played in the Games). This Machiavellian idea adds another layer of social utility to the Roman Bread and Circuses idea (that the poverty of the mob can be appeased and sated by ritualistic feast and social celebration – often centered around the Gladiatorial combat). That, my friends, is called taking it to a new level.

It struck me that this line of reasoning would (maybe depending on the skill of the orator) be placed in the mouth of a Calvinistic Double Predestinationist. God, in His Justice and Mercy, creates some to be judged and found unworthy; yet He creates some on whom He shows mercy. In this He shows both His Justice and Mercy. He also gives hope that someone will come out of the arena alive.

Yet I must ask (like Professor Olsen this past winter on his blog and his book Against Calvinism) is this a God that you could follow. A God, who like Snow, created a class of people to serve as a sacrificial testament to His anger, and privileges the one to show his graciousness. At least Snow gives the 24 a fighting chance, one might ask if this God is even so merciful. I, for one, would rather die an Atheist than serve such a God.

Instead I praise and serve a God who is no Snow. He graciously offers salvation to all. He is no respecter of persons, races, sexual orientations, or religions, He calls to everyone, and through His grace offers everyone His salvation. Again and Again, he calls out. He uses a variety of means and people to accomplish His goal of creating a divine community, here on Earth, which will serve Him and each other. No one desiring to be “in” is left out or to “follow” is left behind.

I cannot do justice to the ideas here, but this was my thinking…

For an alternate, Some Further Reading:

Responsible Grace: John Wesley’s Practical Theology by Randy Maddox

The New Creation: John Wesley’s Theology for Today by Theodore Runyan


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