Wednesday, April 9, 2014

From The Hunger Games to the Church: Remember Who the Real Enemy Is

Katniss, along with other peasants from the districts stands ready to kill for no reason other than having been put in the position of kill or be killed by the oppressive capitol.  Before she can let her arrow do its job, in the midst of her fear, she is reminded by the target of her arrow what her mentor told her before the games began, "Remember who the real enemy is."  The Hunger Games are designed to make the participants view one another as enemies, but the true enemy must be the ones who have created the games and forced participation for the purpose of continuing their oppressive control of the people...  "Remember who the real enemy is."

Too often, the church (both locally and globally) can forget who the real enemy is.  We spend so much time and energy in our relationship with one another, we forget that the reason we are in relationship together is to be united with Christ in mission and fighting an enemy that is something beyond fellow believers in the church.  We can become participants inside a kind of "Hunger Games" intent on destroying one another, losing sight of the shared mission.

As the most "liberal" and most "conservative" wings of our denomination scheme over the best way to divide the church into two denominations that would be more ideologically homogenous and less theologically diverse, I sense that we have forgotten who the enemy is. 

I intend for this blog to be primarily geared toward the local church.  The local church is the primary front on which the love of Christ is offered to the world.  At St. Paul's we connect with people through the food bank, and community garden, family promise, our various ministries in Camden, etc.  We have a ministry of worship and teaching that is connected to our community, and when we are at our very best we are much more focused on the way our mission extends into the world, and is not overly inward focused.  For this reason, I hesitate to jump into denominational issues.  Talking too much about denominational issues strikes me as unnecessarily internally focused.  It feels a little like taking our eyes off the target.  However, at the same time, the truth is the conversations happening in the global church profoundly affects our local churches, and sets a tone that can cause all of us to lose focus.

So I want to encourage my colleagues who are denominational leaders to be sure not to forget who the enemy is.  And I want to encourage our lay people--don't become obsessed with the national conversations that are happening.  We have been called to desire the full image of God, which is characterized by the loving unity of three distinct persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).  We have been called to be united in sharing that love with everyone in our community and beyond.  There exists in our community and the church real differences about which we must humbly listen to one another.  However, these differences do not need make us enemies with one another; let us remember who the real enemy is. 


  1. If only we could forget politics and only remember love.

  2. Very true. I liked studying church history, but I have to say the story of the disputes, while interesting and important historically speaking, is not the most inspiring reading. Rather stories of faithfulness and Christ-like love are timeless and stirring.