The Walking Dead
I’m a fan of the AMC show The Walking Dead. Season 3 begins in October, and yes, my DVR is set and ready to go. The show’s concept is pretty simple. A zombie apocalypse has struck the world and the show follows a band of survivors as they seek to find a place of safety and to rebuild their lives according to the “new normal.” Contact with the zombies can be fatal. A scratch or bite leads to infection and begins the process of conversion. It is critical to avoid all contact with these aberrations of humanity. A curious characteristic of the show is that the word “zombie” is never used and the term “walkers” is used instead – thus the title, The Walking Dead.
What is it about this show that draws me? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the human story of survival. Maybe it’s the sci-fi element (I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan), maybe it’s the search for understanding (how did this happen and why and how do we fix it). All of these themes resonate with me.
It has recently struck me that all three of these themes are also at the heart of who I am as a follower of Jesus and at the heart of what we call Christianity.
What could be more “sci-fi” than a story about good and evil as expressed through an all-powerful God versus a being called Satan. In this story are miracles, angels, demons, resurrection, a promised future of glorified bodies and a new earth where no one dies. But this story is not “fiction” it is real. Mixed into this story is the narrative of human survival and a search for meaning. It is obvious something has gone horribly wrong with humanity and creation. What went wrong, why it went wrong, and how to fix it are the focus of all the players. And as a follower of Jesus Christ, I don’t see zombies everywhere I go, but I do see the walking dead. Everywhere. Surrounding me. But unlike the television show, I have nothing to fear from these “walkers” and they cannot infect me. In fact, I used to be one of them until I found the cure. In real life, the cure is what is infectious. I’m the one that is alive and seeking to make contact with the dead in order to infect the dead with the serum of life.
Too many Christians are guilty of making one of two mistakes in this world: 1) refusing to recognize the walking dead around them, or 2) running and hiding from the walking dead, refusing contact, fearful that that they have can destroy the new life in them. Both of these attitudes are fatal. Not to the living but to the dead.