I don’t understand the fascination that so many in our current society have with books, shows, movies, and/or other media related to zombies. I’ve joked around about this for years. For some reason, I have a strange and definitely irrational fear of zombies. I actually scoured the web one day (just for fun) looking for a word that encapsulated this definition. I found one: ambulothanatophobia (click here for definition of ridiculous word). If you’re still reading this, you’re likely wondering why I would be writing about this subject on a forum such as this…
Many Christians get their necks up about whether or not we should be watching such shows or movies. There are other shows related to this type of discussion, such as Game of Thrones, Jessica Jones, Westworld, etc. I don’t know about all of that and I don’t intend to try and deal with that from any particular soapbox in this post. (So if you’re thinking I’m on the attack in relation to this show, relax…) Instead, I want to use The Walking Dead as a springboard to talk about a very real phenomenon. We view this as fiction, and to be sure, the way the story likely plays out (I can’t bring myself to watch it; sorry, I’m a total wimp about zombies), I’m certain that it is quite unimaginable in reality as we understand it.
I still think we have a lot of the walking dead all around us…all the time. They may be around us in the store, at work, on the road, in church, at school, at home…and we may well be one of them. As much as I hate zombies…I fear that…on many occasions, I am one.
I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m not a political or cultural Christian. This doesn’t mean that I see myself as better than anyone else. It means that I believe that the world was created innocent. After that, mankind brought about its broken state by rebelling against our purpose and identity in creation. In short, Jesus was born into this broken system, lived a perfect and innocent life, died a substitutionary death for humanity, rose from the grave, appeared to hundreds of people, and then finally ascended back into the heavenly realm/dimension with the promise of His imminent return for the purpose of redeeming all things. To me, that’s the Gospel in a nutshell. It’s much richer to unpack all of that, but for the sake of time, that’s where I’ll leave it for the most part.
There’s a passage in the Letter to the Romans that makes my mind spin regarding all of the above: Chapter 6. According to what this says, when Jesus died, we died (spiritually) with Him. When He resurrected, we rose with Him (once again, spiritually). So, said in a different way, God executed us in Christ and laid to rest the necrotic state we were in. He then brought us up as new beings, with newly imparted innocence from His perspective. Literally, we started over…being restored to Adamic innocence with the promise of reinstatement of Adamic dominion. (“Adamic,” referring to that which Adam, the first human, originally had). However, this state of being is dependent upon our abiding or existing within the consciousness of our restored vitality. What I mean is that in Jesus, we are innocent and we are free from the penalties of our guilt before God. In order to truly live the life we now possess in Jesus, we must do so with the active awareness of this reality. We have been made alive in Jesus and our vitality within that truth is directly dependent upon our mindfulness of it.
Unfortunately…I spend much more time going back to the grave…dredging up that “old me.” I pick up that rotting, decaying, defiled identity…and I clothe myself with it…and I return to its actions…its passions…its desires. I return to its path and walk it as a dead man…reanimated…or as “the walking dead.” My life often represents that of a zombie and when it does, I know no allegiance except my own immediate desires. I know no lasting comfort…no peace. I don’t even “feel” dead. I feel no emotion at all. I become truly apathetic to beauty. All I feel is the hunger that is never satisfied. A hunger that can only be placated on a momentary basis…and this hunger…this pain…it will destroy all in its path. There is nothing redeemable about this state.
The reality is this: Jesus didn’t save the walking dead. He died AS IT. He died FOR IT. AND HE ROSE WITHOUT IT. He offers salvation for us from this prison…yet so often…I run back into the cell…back into the grave…back into the rot.
What do we do then? What is the solution? I wish I knew in totality. Here’s what I do know: even though I keep running back to death and away from Him, He never slams the door behind me. He never leaves me even when I leave Him. Perhaps that is the solution. The deeper I fall into this truth, the deeper my bond with Him becomes. I’m so grateful for His patience with a total mess like me.
*Image taken from: https://twitter.com/walkingdead_it