…Wait, that doesn’t sound right…
For those of you don’t know me (likely about 98% of you), I am somewhat of a nerd. I like fantasy/science-fiction novels, appreciate fantasy/science-fiction movies (rarely), and enjoy fantasy/science-fiction video games. One of my favorite sub-genres (in theory, at least) is the good ol’ zombie apocalypse. Admittedly, nine and a half out of every ten zombie flicks are flops (to be kind); but the ones that are good (and are not full of vile pervasiveness) are great. For cinematic purposes, the best zombie flicks are the ones where the zombies are more cunning and quick—zombies that act as if every survivor just grabbed the last “Tickle-Me Elmo” off the shelf right before their eyes on Christmas eve, and even did a little victory taunt, to boot. But I have gained a certain respect for the traditional zombie apocalypse—where the zombies are slow and stupid, standing or wandering aimlessly to and fro, with absolutely no purpose or clue whatever; zombies that act like, well, zombies. Why have I gained something as audacious as respect for such a ghastly thing? Well, thanks to one of the greatest video games of all time, Dead Rising—which happens to be centered around (yep, you guessed it) a zombie apocalypse—I have discovered (developed?) an awe-inspiring metaphor in the grand scheme of the classic zombie apocalypse that is true in both the intellectual and spiritual realms. It is the latter of these upon which we will set our focus.
Allow me to ease your anxiety (or burst your bubble?). There is no need to worry about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse in the near, or even distant, future. No, there is no need to wonder if it could ever really happen, because it already is! Indeed, you and I are living in a zombie apocalypse even at this very moment.
Take a moment and very calmly and inconspicuously (no sudden movements—you don’t want to attract any attention) look at the person to your left. Now to your right. Look at the couple whisper-arguing, trying to make it look like they’re not; the 70 year old woman who thinks she is 35, telling her 50 year old friends about her non-existent 24 year old boyfriend; the teenage girl listening to her iPod®, texting on her iPhone®, and Tweeting via her iPad®; the middle-aged man flirting with the 17 year old cashier, trying to hide his wedding ring. Look all around you. Can you see the zombies? The next time you are at the grocery store, or the mall, or anywhere out in the public, take a good look around. We are encompassed on every side, every day, by zombies—hundreds upon thousands of zombies. You might not see them, but they can smell you… and they be hungry.
PORTRAIT OF A ZOMBIE
What is a “zombie”? Perhaps the best definition of a zombie lies in an alternative term to refer to them: undead. Zombies are not really alive; but they are not exactly dead, either. They are merely undead. Zombies have no purpose or meaning in their un-lives—they simply wander aimlessly about without a care in the world. Ignorance is bliss, or so Satan would have them believe. Fictional zombies have only one thing on their faded minds: Brains! While the zombies that surround you and me in the real world don’t want to eat our brains (well, most of them don’t), the things that cloud their sad little zombie-minds are equally pitiable: Party! Weekend! Vacation! Fun! Sex! Twitter®! Money! Shop! Me! Fun! TV! Sex! Politics! Party! Dance! Me! Fun! Me! Facebook®! New! Selfie! Party! Fun! Me! …In short, their minds are consumed with the carnal, the material, the here and now. This is the spirit, or lack thereof, that makes them what they are—zombies.
Some may find this metaphor distasteful, if not offensive; but, then again, zombies are easily offended. Have no fear; after all, they are only zombies, and memory is not really a zombie strong suit. Just wave an advert for Bravo‘s® new reality show at them and they’ll forget all about it. Interestingly though, while zombies are easily offended, they never get offended by other zombies. You will never see a zombie fighting another zombie (cannibalism notwithstanding). Zombies are offended by survivors only. In fact, if they believe you are one of them, they will leave you alone completely. And so it is in the real world—as long as survivors are survivors, the zombies want to you eat you alive—but, after all, the only thing worse than being eaten by zombies is being accepted by them.
DISTINCTION OF A SURVIVOR
On the other hand, as in all zombie apocalypse scenarios, there is the protagonist—you. You are one of the 4-8% of the global population who has survived the initial outbreak, and thus, you maintain your intelligence, your humanity, your very life. You are able to see through the hell-born fog of evolution, or materialism, or politics, or “weekend-itis,” or one of the seemingly countless shapes and shades of rose-colored glasses there are in the twenty-first century Western world. You are a redeemed soul whose life is filled with meaning and purpose (two things zombies will never have). You are merely sojourning in this mixed up world of mixed up people with mixed up (un)lives. They are zombies, bumbling about aimlessly through this “game” called “life,” chasing after “Brains!,” hoping to die no younger than 278, while looking no older than 22.
You, though, are different. You have a secret, God-given gift: resistance. But beware—resistance is not immunity, for “immunity” is the absolute impossibility of becoming infected. Thus—in the usual scenario—even though immune to the initial outbreak, the protagonist can still become infected via blood-to-blood contact with the infected—total immunity does not exist.
And so it is in the real zombie apocalypse. Our resilience varies, but we can still become infected via our day-to-day contact with the infected. God warned the Israelites of this numerous times, but—through direct contact with the zombies of their day—they became infected over, and over, and over again (cf. Exod. – Acts!). The same happened to Solomon (1 Kings 11:1ff); and temporarily to John Mark (Acts 15:37,38). It happened to Demas (2 Tim. 4:10); it happens to thousands each year; for, too often, Christians leave the safe-house not to seek and save other survivors, but to play with the zombies (cf. Num. 25:1ff).