(Photo: Andy Langford)
Two North Carolina pastors have recently created a Bible study based on the book series The Hunger Games.
The Rev. Andy Langford and his daughter, the Rev. Ann Duncan, created "The Gospel According to 'The Hunger Games' Trilogy" in the hopes of reaching out to youth.
"Many of our youth and young adults have been reading the books. Two youth from my church in Concord, N.C., are extras in the movie," said Langford to The Christian Post.
"Ann's husband, Nathan, teaches high school history, and alerted us that all his students were reading these books."
Written by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games book series is about a near future dystopian society where young people are forced to participate in a brutal sport game where only one can survive.
Although a secular story, Langford told CP that there were aspects of the books' plot that could be used to send a biblical message.
"Sacrificial love … is the most obvious theme throughout all three books," said Langford, who added that "many of the characters have biblical parallels, which seem so obvious to us but most people missed."
Since starting the Bible study in January, Langford's church, Central United Methodist of Concord, has had about 80 people attend.
"Almost all the youth and young adults had read all three books. Some grandmothers had read them. The parents on the whole seemed oblivious," said Langford. "Our youth group will attend the movie together and then discuss it afterwards."
As Langford's Central UMC and his daughter's Hoyle Memorial United Methodist Church of Shelby oversee the study, other churches are considering following suit.
Dr. James Howell, senior pastor at Myers Park United Methodist Church of Charlotte, told CP that it was possible his church would look into doing either the study Langford and Duncan created or a similar one.
"We've had some conversation here around having a book group think about the book, or use what Andy Langford and his daughter have written on the subject," said Howell.
He was also cautious about using the nonreligious book as a theme to a Bible study, believing that they run the risk of replacing good theological works.
"I'm one who gets a little bit anxious – as with 'The Shack' – when we push a novel we could be reading the Bible or good theology," said Howell. "These books can become replacements or diversions, like so many I know who've read 'The Shack' and think they now know lots about Jesus."
In the past, Langford has connected pop culture to Bible study with classes focused on television shows like "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons."
The Kindle Edition of "The Gospel According to 'The Hunger Games' Trilogy" is available for download at Amazon.com.
The first installment of the film series based off of "The Hunger Games" trilogy by Suzanne Collins will be released on Friday, March 23.