When I decided to join this year’s Write 31 Days challenge, I knew spiritual apathy would be my topic. But I needed a snappy title for the series. I turned to my journal notes from last month’s reading of Revelation 3, which contained a list of descriptors for people who were lukewarm. As I scanned the list, I thought of how lukewarm people show signs of life but are rather numb or dead inside—just like zombies, I thought.
Now, my knowledge of zombies is shallow, because, as I mentioned before, I have zero tolerance for creepy things. But I know enough to know that zombies are pop culture gold right now, and that’s when I chose “Wake up from Zombie-Like Faith” as my title. I chose it knowing that the bulk of my commentary would focus on the ways we live life lukewarm (i.e., like zombies) and not on the ways zombies are all the rage. I know my own wheelhouse, and zombie expertise is not part of it. The zombie talk was just an easy way to convey the spiritual ideas brewing in my mind.
Before we put some distance between us and zombieland, I want to share with you my utter surprise in seeing a tweet this morning from my publisher, InterVarsity Press. It was an announcement for a new release—as in today—by Danielle Strickland titled… The Zombie Gospel: The Walking Dead and What It Means to Be Human. Can you believe it?! I was astounded and then felt a bit sheepish, as I don’t remember hearing about this book as I crafted this series title. (I feel the need to refer to the standard movie disclaimer, “Any similarity to actual written works, living or dead, is purely coincidental.”) My consolation is perhaps this is a providential happenstance so I can introduce you all to Strickland’s new book. Here’s some info from the book’s press packet:
“Can zombies teach us about the gospel? A hesitant first time viewer of the popular television series The Walking Dead, author Danielle Strickland found that the show’s themes guide us into a deeper understanding of our humanity by exploring some of the most important questions of our day.
“In The Walking Dead an apocalyptic virus infects most of the human population, leaving them as “the walking dead”—zombies. The survivors make their way through the wreckage and chaos. Everything has changed, and it’s up to the survivors to make a new world. Strickland considers the spiritual ideas lacing this story of survival in The Zombie Gospel, guiding fans of and newcomers to the show in thinking through the themes of survival, community, consumerism, social justice, and the resurrection life of Jesus. Exploring the apocalyptic themes of The Walking Dead awakens Christians to live out the gospel fully while awaiting the return of Christ.”
Since I’ve not read The Zombie Gospel, I’m not sure how Strickland’s commentary aligns with the ideas I’ll be exploring here. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know what you think! And if you’ve not read it, snatch up a copy and enjoy.