A place where ideas stir the waters of our mind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Zombies Attack!

Zombies seem to be very popular these days.  I'm not quite sure why it is so fascinating to watch dead people grossly gorge themselves on the living. I've watched my share of horror movies in the past, but I can't say that I've ever enjoyed the spectacle of a zombie feast.  With apologies to zombie aficionados (who insist that zombies are real and are preparing to survive a coming zombie apocalypse),  I do not believe that kind of zombies seen on TV or the big screen are real.

There is however, a real kind of zombie that scares me more.

These are Christians who are obsessed with the idea that the path to spirituality is found in "dying." To them, a relationship with Jesus is more about dying than living.  Pointing to Paul's exhortations to "die daily" and to "put to death whatever remains of the 'flesh,'" the spiritual quest of a Christian Zombie seems to be the pursuit of becoming more perfectly and completely dead, and making sure to stay that way. It makes me wonder how "perfectly dead" and how long I must remain that way to finally achieve their ultimate spiritual goal of "deadness!"

Christian Zombies are also simply passionate in their pursuit of "flesh" - what the Bible describes as the stubborn and willful parts of our pre-Christ nature that cannot be reconciled with the life of God. This "undead flesh" in themselves or others is terribly attractive and they do their best to make sure it is consumed (purged) everywhere.  In the process, they tend to devour their own lives, the lives of their families, churches, ministries, schools, workplaces and communities - and anyone else whose flesh they pursue. This is also known as "Legalism."

Sadly, Christian Zombies don't realize another even greater truth about death and dying that was also written by Paul in Romans Chapter 6.  In this passage, Paul notes that followers of Jesus have already both died with Him and have also been subsequently raised to life with Jesus. According to Paul, we are completely and gloriously alive! We aren't alive because we tried hard and succeeded in "killing our flesh."  We are alive because God feely gives us His life at salvation, and continues to draw us to enjoy and experience His life more fully each day. Real life is the moment-by-moment adventure of becoming more fully alive with Jesus!  We discover that as we become more fully alive with Him, our life together begins to displace the old intractable hold of the "flesh" that zombies find so irresistible.

Dead men, according to Paul, do not sin.  Furthermore, people who are dead don't do anything else either - except decay.  They don't love, feel joy, experience shalom or connect with others in life-giving relationships. Christian Zombies who are obsessed with dying to be spiritual have doomed themselves to an existence in which they do not awaken to life - and engage in a self-defeating battle to achieve ever more perfect deadness.  It is based on a theology of self-annihilation.

 Let's do more than survive the attack of the Zombies. We want to live as people that are finding ourselves ever more fully alive in Christ. And, we want our life, love, joy and peace to draw zombies to life.

Are zombies stirring up ripples in your pond today?