There are zombies among us. They stumble and move aimlessly, shuffling through life with nary a care about thinking deeply or pondering the magnificent majesty of God or pausing to scan the heavens that declare His glory. In “The night of the Living Dead Christian” Matt Mikalatos runs from these zombies but his real purpose for their existence in his story is far more than to frighten the reader. It is to show what most professing Christians are really like. In the second interlude in the book, the werewolf, Luther has this to say:
And so we return to my most pressing need, the desire for transformation, the burning passion to have a more manageable and less destructive nature. Of course, the Christians say they can help with that. Or God can. But I look at their lives and see far too many zombies. That is to say, they claim to have found a new, invigorating, abundant life, but I see little evidence that it’s anything but idle chatter.
Just today, I was visiting Mike Duran’s blog at www.mikeduran.com and his discussion of the newest phenomenon to hit the church, the “nones”. These are people who have walked away from organized religion and the church and although they seek God, they seek “transformation” they affiliate themselves with nothing, no one, no organization, thus they are called the “nones”. I am sure that they have seen more than there share of “zombies” in our churches, those mindless drones that show up every time the door is open and shuffle through the motions of going to church but never show any hint of joy or passion or love. I should know. I was once one of those “zombies”.
But, I wonder if in walking away from the church, that the “nones” aren’t being like Luther in that they are abandoning one form of zombie lifestyle for another? What can be more mindless than to sit hunkered away in your house avoiding the other “zombies”? Hmm, sounds suspiciously like the “vampire” in this book. Just food for thought.
And, here is the final thought we get from Luther:
I say all of this to make one simple point: If that’s the abundant life, I do not want it. — It seems that Jesus’ own definition is alien to most Christians, who are satisfied that by signing their name on some creed they are somehow mystically associated with Christ. It is why I say with Mahatma Ghandi, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians.” Perhaps if they were more like Christ I would like them too.
All of this can be pretty much a letdown. The book is filled with zany, humorous moments and these interludes are the big downers; the return to reality. Is there any hope for Luther? Is there any hope for zombie Christians? Yes, there is. And, I will not ruin the final scenes of this book by spoiling the climax. It is powerful. It is redemptive. It is awesome.
All in all, “Night of the Living Dead Christian” is a powerful allegory of what most Christians are like today, including me. It is well worth the reading, well worth the laughter, and ultimately, well worth the tears of joy. Good job, Matt. Now go be with your wife and kids and put that chain saw away!!!!