An article in Immerse Journal by Ben Kerns reminds us that using things that are popular and well understood to explain spiritual truth is important.
As our cultural context becomes increasingly post Christian, we too must become cross-cultural missionaries and find relevant translations and applications to help our students understand the spiritual realities presented in Scripture.
Even Jesus used parables to help bridge the gap between where his students were and the truth He was trying to explain. The article in Immerse Journal mentions using zombies, which I thought was a great idea and jotted it down as a future blogging idea. Why? The undead are not just for students. Zombies are a popular topic at the office and many colleagues have a copy of one the graphic novel volumes – “The Walking Dead” on their desk.
Zombies are the rage, having infested the popular culture. These undead have mindlessly shuffled into the mainstream as they seek to fulfill an insatiable appetite for their favorite snack – human brains. Likely getting their pop status start in George Romero’s 1968 horror movie Night of the Living Dead, these ghouls have taken over with movies, books, video games, a hit series The Walking Dead, and even a mud run that bills itself as a “Zombie infested 5K Obstacle Course Race”. Even the CDC has got in on the action, using the popularity of zombies in a campaign for emergency preparedness:
What’s up with Zombies? I am not sure what makes them so popular – but I have to say they made reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a lot more entertaining. And Wikipedia revealed the interesting fact that zombies are not just popular today, apparently they go way back to some of the earliest literature available (Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet 6):
I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,
I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,
and will let the dead go up to eat the living!
And the dead will outnumber the living!
So, how does someone identify a zombie? Here are some tell-tale signs.
Signs you may be a Zombie
- You are undead
One sure fire way to know if you are a zombie is to check and see if you are undead. Zombies are known for being undead. Jesus warned the church at Sardis (Rev 3:1) that they were “undead”:
You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. – Jesus
Like zombies, you might look alive because you move around and eat stuff but in reality you are dead. You have no real life in you and you need to wake up! Wake up and do what? Remember. Remember what? How about Zombie Land Rule #22 – when in doubt, know your way out.
If you are feeling a bit undead and want to know the way out then I recommend – the Few, the Humble, the Reborn. Of course knowing your way out doesn’t do much good if you don’t actually use it.
- You are following the Horde instead of the Hero
Jesus warns the faithful who are in the church at Sardis that they are out-numbered by the “undead” that surround them.
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
Remember, it is no fun being in the middle of a zombie horde, but survival chances are better if you keep Zombie Land Rule #8 in mind. Get a *great* partner. The One who will always be with you and has conquered death and claimed victory over it sounds like a good choice to me.
- Just a bite and you could have a serious problem.
One generally becomes a zombie as the result of being infected from a plague. And it does not take much to become a zombie, usually just a bite. So one must be on guard. Get too close and you may find yourself with a limited vocabulary (as in “braaaiiinzz”).
If you think you can hang out with a zombie horde and not get infected you better think again. Had Paul been warning us of the dangers of hanging with the wrong crowd using zombies instead of baking as an example, he might of said a little bite infects the whole body instead of ‘a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). Consider also this warning (1 Cor 15:33)
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.
Best advice here is to avoid them.
- Stay Alert!
For those who are running well and are among the faithful few in Sardis here is one more tip – the (unofficial) Zombie Land Rule – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Unless it is a sprint, then sprint. Remember zombies are slow, so no need to waste energy living life like its the 100 yard dash. Most of the time you just have to stay alert and run life like a marathon- with endurance and the right focus. However there are those times when you just gotta run like your life depended on it!
What other signs may indicate we are becoming a zombie?