Thursday, 31 October 2013

How Christians are a lot like Zombies...

There is a lot that could be said and not said about the comparisons between Christians & Zombies. I am not the first to make this connection. In fact, last night when I gave this talk, my Catholic friends gave me their take on the matter: "Christians & Zombies both like flesh and blood!!" they exclaimed. Given the view of transubstantiation you could totally make that case. But I won't.  A few years back there was even a movement called "Zombie Jesus Day" that tried to humorously draw comparisons about Jesus' rising from the dead and Zombies. There are even some critics that have compared the lack of thought from certain Christian groups as evidence that, "Christians want to eat your brains" and that faith is 'believing without any evidence'. I am not coming from any of the previous mentioned angles. For a bit of self disclosure: I am a huge fan of Zombie movies and I am a Christian. So I might tend to cast them both in a good light... 

How Christians are a lot like Zombies: 

1. Zombies & Christians have a singular focus to life.

Imagine for a moment that you were observing the behaviour of a Zombie for the first time. It would most certainly be a frightful sight. You would observe a decaying animated corpse covered in their last meal and endlessly searching for their next victim. You would hear the sounds of 'groaning', 'moaning', and 'screeching' emanating from this creature. The Zombie might seem like a slow creature, at first observation,  but given the right opportunity they become ferociously quick in catching their next meal. 

What drives a Zombie? What leads them to endlessly stalk prey, break down doors, and risk even their own existence? Two words:

Insatiable Appetite.

Zombies have a singular focus: human flesh, or more specifically: brains. It's the creed of their existence. In fact,  everything that the Zombie does can be boiled down to the search to satisfy their hunger. 

Q:Why did the Zombie break through the window of your car? 
A:Insatiable Appetite. 

Q:Why is the Zombie, whose legs were blown off by a shot gun, desperately dragging themselves along the ground toward you? 
A:Insatiable Appetite  

Q: Why is your best friend turned Zombie trying to kill you?
A:Insatiable Appetite

Now imagine that you were observing the behaviour of a Christian for the first time. In order to do this observation justice, let's also imagine that you are observing the 'first strain' of Christianity in the first century. (Patient Zero) You might observe that these 'followers of the Way' have an outward appearance like everyone else, but upon further investigation their behaviour is anything but normal. You would notice that these followers of The Way “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14) and "devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching"(Acts 2.42) If you got close enough to these Christians you might even hear 'strange sounds', some in your own language, emanating from them sporadically.(Acts 2.4) This 'speaking in tongues' would be so strange that you might even think they had started drinking at 9 in the morning. (Acts 2.13) You would also notice that these weird Christ followers, “shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32) Who does that? What kind of disease makes someone willing to give up possessions and not buy into materialism? The most interesting behaviour you might notice among these followers of 'The Way' is when you try to kill to them. They might cry out things like, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7.59) or run away from your persecution.(Acts 8.1) What will seem odd to you is that they never take up a weapon to try and seek revenge. It seems the more you kill these Christ followers the more they look like the one they are following, Jesus. 

What drives these Christians? What leads them to take care of the poor, pray for the sick, love their enemies, forgive without limit, and travel to ends of the earth? Two words:

Insatiable Appetite.

“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (Jn 4.34) 

Christians have a singular focusto do the will of the Father. Everything that a Christ follower does can be explained by their insatiable appetite to do the will of God. Christians are people that hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice on the earth. We don’t want to stop until our mission is fulfilled and the Kingdom has come.  

Q:Why do Christians feed the poor? 
A: Insatiable Appetite.

Q: Why is my best friend turned Christian praying for me?
A: Insatiable Appetite.

Q: Why is this Christian still loving and forgiving me even though I've told them off and hurt them? 
A:Insatiable Appetite.

2. Christians & Zombies die in exactly the same way.

The best way to kill a Zombie
 is to sever the head. There is no guarantee in any other method. You could try to cut off a zombies arms; but you just know they'll keep walking toward you. You could even shoot a Zombies legs clean off; but they'll drag their torso relentlessly toward you. You could empty the magazine clip from a handgun into the Zombie's torso. It might slow them down, but they eventually get back up! So as the picture above shows.... Aim for the head! 

“Christ is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Col 1.18 

Your head is arguably the most important part of your body. It houses the brain, which gives function to every other part of the body. According to the apostle Paul, Christ is the head of the Church. The metaphor “head” designates him both as supreme over the church and as the source of the church’s life. In the image of a living body, the head not only directs and governs the body, it gives it life and strength. You can live without an eye, a hand, or a foot, but you can't live long without a head! 
In the same way, in the life of a Christian, you could take away security, comforts, freedoms and they will still live. You could make it illegal to be a Christian, but that will not stop them. Even when you insult them, hurt them and put them to death.... It won't stop them!! They are relentless!

BUT, If you remove Jesus as head of the Christian's life.... You're guaranteed the death of a Christian. Or you can at least you can reduce them to living the status quo...

How to remove Jesus as the head: Put something else as head of the body and as the source of the Christian's life. Try a few of the following: 

3. Zombies & Christians are the Living Dead. 

Popular culture has long taught us that Zombies are the living dead – animated decaying corpses. They are no longer 'human' anymore. Zombies may bear a resemblance to human flesh BUT something is different. There is something within a Zombie that has transformed them from the dead to living dead.

 Zombies are not living people who have become the living dead. Zombies are dead people who have become 'animated' in their deaths. 

The real 'Living Dead"

Christians are also the 'living dead'. Paul tells us that, “We were dead in our transgressions and sins” (Eph 2.1) Dead. Dead as a doornail. No pulse. Yet something has happened to bring us to life in our death. Paul tells us that Christians have been “made alive with Christ even when they were dead in transgressions” (Eph 2.5) We were dead, and now we have been reanimated. Christians bear a resemblance to human flesh, BUT something is different. We may appear to be wasting away, but the Spirit is at work in us and will bring us to fulness of life in Christ. 

“....Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”- 2 Cor 4.16b- 18

Christians will still 'waste away' and be laid to rest like everyone else on the planet. That, however, is not the full picture. Paul tells us "that if our ‘earthly tent’ is destroyed we have a building from God, a house no human hands have built: it is everlasting in the heavenly places."(2 Cor 5.1 KNT) The Christian hope is that what is "doomed to die will be swallowed up in life."(2 Cor 5.4) But what about the present moment? Paul tells us that currently, "God is at work in us" and God has given us the Spirit as the "first instalment and guarantee. " (2 Cor 5.5) When a Christian confesses that Jesus is Lord they are 'animated' by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14; John 14:17); seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30); and grants us everlasting life (Gal. 6:8). 

4. Zombies & Christians work best in community. 

In a Zombie movie, the threat of death by Zombification is directly proportional to the amount of Zombies in your direct vicinity. Take the following scene from Shaun of the Dead:

Shaun and Ed deciding what to do about two Zombies in their backyard.

Shaun and Ed encounter two Zombies in their backyard who are slowly walking towards them. Shaun and Ed first try to resist the Zombie's advances by throwing dishes, cutlery and vinyl records to no avail. Shaun eventually breaks into the shed to discover a cricket bat and a shovel. Shaun and Ed then proceed to deal with their Zombie aggressors. The whole scene is really hilarious, and gives our protagonists enough time to figure out how to deal with the problem. If, however there were ten Zombies, the scene might have turned out a bit differently. 

Zombies work best in community. A single Zombie is easy to resist. It becomes way more difficult to deal with a 100 Zombies sauntering down the street towards you. The more Zombies there are, the more trouble you have on your hands. Zombies use their numbers to help them achieve their goal of satisfying their appetites. Zombies act as a cohesive interdependent unit that is united in the goal of getting the next meal. A Zombie hoard can surround your position and cut off all hope of escape.  

Christians also work best in community. A single Christian is easy to dismiss. A single Christian cannot address the deep brokenness of a hurting world. It becomes harder to dismiss a community of Christians living out the Kingdom of God. Christians use their numbers to help them to do the will of the Father. Christians believe that each member is part of a greater body united for common goal. (1 Cor 12.27) Christians act as a cohesive interdependent unit that is united in the goal of doing the will of the Father. A hoard of Christians can surround issues like poverty, injustice, slavery, racism and cut off all hope of enabling humanity to perpetuate the status quo. 

1 comment:

  1. Great article! I have always thought of this comparison between the two but have never thought of the positives. I have always leaned to how dead the church is and how Christians walk into Church like Zombies. Thank you for shedding some new light on this!