Like what ifs? A movie that lingers on your memory, making you think? One that you can bring your family too? Even better, a movie that initiates deep conversation with your teen? Divergent fits the bill!
Many have focused on the movie meeting the high expectations of the book, not quite that effective… The movie’s lead role(s), Tris (Shailene Woodley), and Tobias (or Four played by Theo James) carried the suspense, tension, and connection all too briefly. The tale did believably wrap the viewer into their predicament: “Where do I belong?” “How do I choose?” “Faction before Blood?” “Justice over Security?”
10’s of 1,000’s of young people have come to our ministries searching for the answers to those questions. What is my life’s purpose? How do I know God’s will for my life? If my friends are about to do something terrible, how do I choose… ? These questions and subsequent decisions affect college/career, relationships, areas of service, …. Every aspect of their existence, and future!
Wouldn’t Life’s Journey be much easier, if we could take a simple 5 minute test to determine the choices we need to make? An aptitude test that leads us to a faction (instant family with a label of brave, honest, peaceful, selfless, intelligent, …) where we fit perfectly! Once in, we easily conform to every aspect, and excel! Curious of your leaning… check out www.divergentthemovie.com/aptitudetest
Humankind doesn’t and shouldn’t fit in any one category! Nor should we! Favorite line from the movie comes from Four (Theo James) “I don’t want to just be brave, I want to be honest, smart, … I’m working on kind”. If that could only be a universal mantra! Aspiring to learn more, and adapt new character traits expanding our perspective, quality of life, and impacting our communities.
Everyone feels like a square peg in a round hole on occasion. So many teens fret and live in that fear of rejection. They sacrifice all values to conform to the group. To find themselves without a faction, would be a fate worse than death. They would rather force a fit, then venture from the safety of the group.
Then there are those that are romanced by the group’s appealing stereotype. In Divergent, the dauntlist cast are the courageous warriors. Who wouldn’t want to be known as brave? Resonant fear? Free to climb, conquer, fight …. An initiation filled with mind challenging jumps, that only gives way to harsh training and adrenaline rushes. It stretches the individual to NOT give up despite any situation.
Reminded of military survival training, it was the worst and the best of times. Pushed beyond the point one is capable develops a soul like no other. It builds confidence, promotes stellar stamina, raises pain endurance, and it gives perspective to the term team. Appreciating the moment of arrival is all the grander when shared. Everyday stresses evolve into mere glimpses, giving way to “Big Picture” vision.
One can’t live in the extremes, or isolation. The other factions include inspiring attributes too! Science and psychology have shown that any element taken to extreme, without balance and accountability becomes warped.
The image of blindly following leadership easily flows into consequences. A difference in thought among the ranks can cause rebellion, battle loss, and/or… prevent mass execution. Euridite’s (intelligent) quest to eradicate Abnegation (selfless) reeks of Hitler’s goal to exterminate the Jews. Whether it’s pride out of control, or jealousy, or …. Power, once corrupted, sprouts perverted control over the masses.
Stumped on what to ask a teen (Quick hints, never ask plain Yes or No)-Try:
What faction would you belong to?
Take the online test, discuss the results….
Were you hoping to be part of ______ Why?
What do you see as strengths & weaknesses within that faction?
What did you think about the dauntlist training?
What have you tried, and failed at?
What does it mean to factionless?
When have you risked your safety and security to help someone else?
Why do you think the Euridites didn’t trust the governing faction?
What do you think was their thought process to arrive at extermination?
What reason would the Dauntlist faction have to side with the Euridite? …..
It can be amazing what you discover about the average teen’s thought process, and decision making abilities…
The bonus materials in the book, outline faction manifestos and insight from the author, Veronica Roth. Themes of morality were subtle throughout the book, yet her final acknowledgment “Thank you God, for your son and blessing me beyond comprehension” and writer tips inspire a meeting and more Q&A.
An additional bonus includes a playlist, that can wholeheartedly be recommended for any teen: “Starts with One” Shiny Toy Guns; “Chasm” “Again” “Arise” by Flyleaf; “Come Alive”by Foo Fighters; “Help I’m Alive” by Metric; “We Die Young”by the Showdown; “Canvas” by Imogen Heap; “Running up the Hill” by Placebo; and “Sweet Sacrifice” by Evanescence.
For those of you who might not venture to listen to Flyleaf, a quote from “Arise” that inspired the author:
“Hold on to the world we all remember fighting for
There’s some strength left in us yet
Hold on to the world we all remember dying for
There’s some hope left in it yet Arise and be All that you dreamed”
Don’t we ALL want to succeed? Have hope for the future? Fight for what’s right?
Ms. Roth’s advice to Euridite rings true for every flawed human when she gives Galations 5:15. Take that biblical passage in context, and WOW what a statement!
Galatians 5:13-15 The Message (MSG) "It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?"
Utopia or Dystopia? Where one choice can transform you, and the world. Cheering that the movie’s bottom line is successful, would love to continue the discussion with teens when “Insurgent” hits the screen!