The Hunger Games. There is no doubt that many of us have read this book or have at least heard enough about it through peers and in the news. Those who have read it may have an understanding of why there has been such a buzz surrounding its content, while others  remain curious about what they might find within the pages if this book.  The plot is gripping to say the very least. Author Suzanne Collins can be given credit for engaging her readers right off the bat and holding their attention from chapter to chapter.

The story takes place in a futuristic setting portraying the life of a young girl named Katniss Everdeen.  Katniss is a sixteen year old who lives in a place called Panem. Keeping in mind that this takes place in the future, Panem is the new name of what we would call North America. Instead of the individual states we have now, Panem is separated into twelve districts ruled by a government referred to as the Capital. Katniss lives in district twelve.

Life for Katniss and her family is a daily struggle. The Capital has taken complete control over the lives of the people living in each district and in the most severe of means. There is starvation, death due to sickness, and people struggling to live off anything they can scrounge up. This seems nothing like the future we would predict to see for ourselves, is it? Why, you may ask yourself, is life like this for Katniss?

I believe a big part of what author Suzanne Collins is really trying to portray in her book is the amount of power the government of Panem has and its relation to today’s society. In the beginning chapters Katniss refers to the “Dark Days.” This was a time when the people of Panam rebelled against the Capital because they saw that it was becoming too powerful and was beginning to take complete control. There was a great uprising and war that resulted in the government’s completely destroying district thirteen. This, of course, frightened the remaining twelve districts and brought the rebellion to a halt. It is from this uprising that the Hunger Games were developed.

One boy tribute and one girl tribute from each district would be chosen at random and forced to battle against each other to the death. There may only be one winner. This is the Capital’s way of punishing and reminding the people never to rebel again. Having tributes from each district battle against each other is also a way the Capital makes sure it is impossible for them to join forces to rebel again.  What happens to the winner of the Hunger Games? The government provides for the winner and their family a life they could only dream about—an endless amount of food, a home, medical supplies— and that is only the beginning.  This is all part of the Capital’s conniving way of giving the tributes something worth fighting for.

It is in this kind of setting that readers will follow Katniss and the choices she decides to make or not to make throughout the course of the games. Obviously I have only just begun to touch on what can be found within the pages of this book. Included are many more characters, a roller coaster ride of twists, and even a bit of a love story.  Suzanne Collins may definitely be commended for her ability to make it difficult for readers to put the book down.

Although this book may not have necessarily been written by a Christian author intending to specifically portray Reformed morals and values, it can cause a Christian reader to pause and think. One of the main focuses of this story is the governmental power that develops over the years and the forms of persecution that take place because of it. This is not something unfamiliar to us in our lives. We are warned in 2 Timothy 3:1, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” The Hunger Games does not specifically at any point refer to the fact that the government is doing this in spite of the word of God or for the hatred of believers, but it is, no doubt, portraying the reality of man’s sinful pride and selfishness that drives his appetite for power.

Matthew 24:7: “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…” Our future is unknown to us.  We do not know when these “perilous” times will come. The first part of 2 Peter 3:10 says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night:” God does not reveal to us the time and the hour of his returning. We do, however, see the signs he has set before us as a constant reminder of his coming. “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25).

The Hunger Games is one woman’s way of producing entertainment for others by giving her worldly perspective of what she thinks the future could possibly be like for us and our children. She makes a point of incorporating the use of technology in her story as a vital aspect of the way of life in the future. As Christians we can definitely see how big a role technology is playing in today’s society.

One other aspect of this book worth noting is the character of Katniess Everdeen (and all other characters, for that matter). Throughout the book you will home in on what motivates Katniss to do the things the she does.  She is stubborn, rebellious, and bitter towards the Capital, and with good reason. However, as Christians we must remember what the Bible teaches us in Romans 13:1–2: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Again, the Hunger Games does not relate the motivation of the Capital’s actions against the people because of hatred of their beliefs.  However, as Christians we must be reminded to honor the authorities God has placed above us even when we don’t agree with what they are doing. A day will come that God’s people are persecuted and killed for their love of Christ. How will we respond? Will we join them for fear of persecution or death?  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God“  (Rom. 12:2).

Spring is here with summer quickly trailing behind! For some young people the reality of graduation is starting to set in while others anticipate the simple words “school’s out!” With summer getting closer and closer that also means that this year’s convention is right around the corner.

At convention each year a delegates meeting is held with two representatives from each church’s Young People’s Society who gather to vote for new officers to be part of the Board of the Federation of the Protestant Reformed Young Peoples Societies (Fed Board). These officers were nominated by the Fed Board in January and those elected will take up their position beginning in September.

The Fed Board meets every first Sunday of the month, meaning that it is necessary that all its members be from the West Michigan churches. This unfortunately means that many of the young people from the West do not know these nominees. For this reason, the Fed Board would like to take this opportunity to introduce the nominees to all the societies.

The nominees for the office of Vice President are Brian Feenstra and Nate Bodbyl. Brian is twenty years old and attends Trinity PRC. He is currently a student at Grand Valley State University and also works on a blueberry farm during the summer. Brian’s goals for the Fed Board are to serve the young people of the church. As the next generation of the PRC, it is important to him that the young people are instructed and raised in Reformed teaching, especially in a way that is applied to the contemporary world. It is important to him that the young people, through the direction of the Fed Board and individual Young People’s Societies, are able to see today’s society through the eyes of Scripture. In effect, the ultimate goal is to grow the health of each young person in our churches.

At age 23 Nate Bodbyl is a member of Grandville PRC and currently works as a sales development representative at UTS. His goals for the Fed Board are to encourage the Young People in their spiritual growth and involvement in church activities, as well as continue providing edifying reading material through the Beacon Lights.

The nominees for Vice Treasurer this year are David Noorman and Jared Bosveld. David is twenty years old and attends Faith PRC. David is currently a full time student at Calvin College. His goals for the Fed Board are to increase young people’s awareness of the Fed Board and its activities. He would also like to encourage the young people to take advantage of the Beacon Lights, by either reading or writing for the magazine.

Jared Bosveld is nineteen and attends Hope PRC. He currently is a student at Grand Rapids Community College pursuing construction management. His goals for the Fed Board are to encourage the young people to be aware of their responsibilities in the church, especially in the wickedness and temptation of today.

The two nominees for Vice Secretary this year are Kylie Mulder and Monica Koole. Kylie is eighteen years old and attends Faith PRC. She is currently a full time student at Grand Valley State University and also works part time as a receptionist at River Town Honda. Her goals for the Fed Board are to help young people realize the vital role they carry in the church as our future leaders, and encourage them to attend society and conventions.

Monica Koole is twenty years old and attends Hope PRC. She works as a secretary at Kleyn Electric. Monica’s goal for the Fed Board is to continue to benefit the young people, encouraging them to live as Christians in this world which is corrupted by sin.

The two nominees for Librarian are Erika Schipper and Rachel Kamps. Erika Schipper is nineteen years old and is a member of Southwest PRC. She is currently a student at Davenport University and will be graduating soon with a degree in Medical Assisting. Her goal for the Fed Board is to assist in the work of helping the young people of our churches grow in their spiritual lives. This work is very important in our day and age because our young people face many temptations in a world that is increasing in its wickedness.

Rachel Kamps is eighteen and attends Southwest PRC. She is a student at Kendall College of Art and Design and also works as an office assistant at Wonderland Tire Co. Rachel’s goal for the Fed Board is to serve the young people by helping organize conventions and singspirations.

The two nominees for Spiritual Advisor this year are Rev. Haak and Rev. Holstege. Rev. Haak is currently the pastor at Georgetown PRC and Rev. Holstege is the pastor of First Church of Holland.

We, as members of the Fed Board, feel as though all these nominees are able to carry out their work with the Protestant Reformed Churches and our Young People’s Societies. We ask that each of our young people prayerfully consider each nominee for their specific office on the Federation Board.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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