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Undead: How Faith & The Living Dead Intersect

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 Undead. Author Clay Morgan explores death and the supernatural, explaining how faith and the living dead intersect.

Zombies aren’t just around for Halloween anymore, with the genre finding huge success in Hollywood. AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, is just one of the many Zombie-focused stories out there today.

Recently, Morgan shared with CBN.com about this phenomenon, what we can learn from these supernatural stories and how Jesus is the epitome of the “anti-zombie”.

What’s a Christian doing writing a book about zombies?

Clay Morgan: I wrote a book about zombies for much the same reason C.S. Lewis wrote a book like The Screwtape Letters about demons—to find light in the darkness. Tales of the supernatural are ready-made for Christianity. Zombies are ridiculously popular and culturally relevant, so zombies are a great way to get someone’s attention. From there we can have a marvelous discussion about spiritual life and spiritual death.

I’m also genuinely interested in the topic and pop culture in general. Millions of people never go to church or learn about biblical faith. For them, entertainment may be the sole medium informing their beliefs of the supernatural. If someone walks out of a movie about zombies or vampires asking questions about life beyond the grave then that’s a great opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about eternal things.

Have you received any criticism for examining themes like horror and zombies?

CM: Nothing major yet, but I certainly expected some. I’m sure some people don’t want anything to do with zombies, even as a starting point for discussing biblical miracles, but anyone who reads the book will see that it’s about much more. The stories are fun, so there’s not much of a horror/zombie vibe for most readers.

Why are we fascinated by the living dead?

CM: In part I think we’re compelled by the world in which they live, a post-apocalyptic environment where humanity as we know it is over. There are no more bills to pay or jobs to pursue or social circles to navigate. There’s equality in the face of death.

As for the monsters, it’s hard to look away from such an uncompromising threat. And on a deeper level we recognize the meaning of an existence with no hope for redemption. Their totality is so threatening. One misstep and it’s over. And the victims in these stories often don’t just die; they are turned into evil monsters which is more terrifying than anything.

Why is being scared entertaining?

CM: For most people it’s exciting, an adrenaline rush. The key is that we aren’t in any real danger, so we pay a lot of money for the illusion of such things. Maybe some of us are just thrill seekers. I suspect that part of it is a desire to find out what our thresholds are. What I do know is that if a horror movie plot like a zombie outbreak really happened it would not be fun! The real thing would be so truly terrifying, but entertainment is a different thing.

What’s your favorite zombie film, and why?

CM: I think the first zombie movie that truly captivated me was 28 Days Later in which a man wakes from a coma after London has already been devastated by plague. In addition to the quality of the filmmaking and suspense the story makes you think about fate and the meaningful relationships in our lives. Most of all, you have to consider what humanity becomes in the face of ultimate depravity. After all, zombies are a visible representation of cursed creation.

If I have a clear favorite, it’s probably Zombieland which balances humor with the fright of a world gone wrong. That one really allows you to see the empty stores and communities and consider what the world might look like during an apocalypse.

What spiritual lessons do zombie stories teach us?

CM: The biggest lesson might be that it’s possible to exist without truly being alive. A lot of us shamble through life, thoughtlessly going through the motions while feeling dead inside. That includes people in churches and youth groups. We may look like we’re alive to the people around us while masking the decay in our heart.

I used to punch in on Sundays and walk away largely unchanged. What are we living for? What is the meaning of our existence? Zombies aimlessly roam around looking for one more chance to gorge on an appetite of destruction, yet no matter how much they feed on what they desire they are always empty. If anybody has ever wondered what’s missing in life they can probably relate to that kind of emptiness. Fortunately, we don’t have to stay that way. God offers ultimate fulfillment, an abundant life.

A section of your book is titled, ‘Undead in the Bible’. Are you saying there are zombies in the Bible?

CM: That idea is really the heart of the book. Most of the chapters in Undead describe the six individuals in the New Testament who were raised from the dead by God. Jesus performed three of these jaw-dropping miracles and became the fourth. Peter and Paul were also used to bring someone back from the dead.

Of course, these individuals weren’t zombies in the Hollywood sense. Like Lazarus, those folks were restored to full life. But the wordplay makes sense since culture is so fascinated with dead people coming back to life. I thought it was pretty cool to show how many times that type of thing happened in the Bible. The same God who brought people back from physical death in the first century is still able to bring us back from spiritual death today.

In Undeadyou say we see ourselves in zombies. How’s that?

CM: The thing about zombies is that they look familiar in their t-shirts, jeans, curlers, and slippers. Other monsters—such as aliens, vampire, or werewolves for example—look so different. We see ourselves in zombies, the worst possible version of our neighbors and ourselves. They hit close to home.

Metaphorically, some of us see frightening reflections of ourselves when we look in the mirror because we know ugly, personal truths.

A major theme of a lot of zombie films and stories is when the living become more monstrous than the zombies in their quest for survival. What is it about zombie movies that help us to examine the dark side of human nature?

CM: You’ve nailed it. Zombie fiction is always about the survivors and how they’ll interact. The title of that show The Walking Dead isn’t a reference to the zombies but to the people attempting to go on. These stories reduce everything to its base. Money and social status don’t help anyone. In such dire circumstances the truth about human nature is revealed, and we know it isn’t pretty. The ancient prophet Jeremiah said that our hearts are deceitful above all else and even desperately wicked. Any good zombie story shows how wicked some people can be.

“Jesus is the anti-zombie”. Please, do explain.

CM: Zombies are the complete opposite to Jesus. They come back from the dead to take lives. Jesus came back from the dead to give life to all. Zombies are damaged, decaying, and terrifying. Jesus came back resurrected in perfection, a beautiful sight to all who believe. Zombies transform people from life to death. Jesus offers transformation from death to life. That’s why I call him the anti-zombie.

Undead also gets into vampires. How does that folklore play into this?

CM: Monster stories often subvert God’s story. For example, vampires receive immortality at the expense of their soul. They take blood to have life which is completely the opposite of Jesus who gave blood so that others might have life. Blood is a central theme throughout both scripture and vampire lore.

The other thing about vampires is that they are the ultimate in selfishness which is something I used to really struggle with. To use another metaphor, spiritual vampires are takers and they can be found anywhere, churches included. We need to make sure we’re not acting like vampires to the people around us by losing sight of what it means to be a servant like Jesus.

Beyond talk of zombies and vampires, this book speaks to deeper issues. What is the message?

CM: The ultimate message of Undead is that God is able to breathe life into each one of us. He wants to transform us, and it will be the most awesome miracle we’ve ever experienced. Spiritual death isn’t just about ignoring God. If we’re honest, some of us may be in churches every week but know that something big is missing from our lives. Like Lazarus, it’s possible to be a friend of Jesus for a while before experiencing a whole new level of his miraculous, life-giving power in a new way.

Who do you know that needs to hear about the transforming power of God? Maybe they’re not even interested in going to church but they just might find Undead engaging enough to discover the mind-blowing force of God’s love.


Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah’s bio page.

Inspired & Uplifted

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I Just received this amazing story and prayer, as soon as i read it, i knew  i had to share with you. Thanks to loving sister Sara for emailing it to me!  Be inspired and uplifted. 🙂

This is a story written by a doctor who worked in Africa .

One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but in spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive; as we had no incubator (we had no electricity to run an incubator).

We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in.

Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). ‘And it is our last hot water bottle!’ she exclaimed.

As in the West, it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways.

‘All right,’ I said, ‘put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts Your job is to keep the baby warm.’

The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During prayer time, one ten -year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. ‘Please, God,’ she prayed, ‘send us a hot water bottle today. It’ll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.’
While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, ‘And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?’

As often with children’s prayers, I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say ‘Amen?’ I just did not believe that God could do this.

Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything; the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren’t there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home.

Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!

Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses’ training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there on the verandah was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly-colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas – that would make a batch of buns for the weekend.

Then, as I put my hand in again, I felt the…..could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new, rubber hot water bottle. I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could.

Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, ‘If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!’
Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully-dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted!
Looking up at me, she asked, ‘Can I go over with you and give this dolly to that little girl, so she’ll know that Jesus really loves her?’
‘Of course,’ I replied!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months, packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God’s prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator.
And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child – five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it ‘that afternoon.’

Isaiah 65:24

‘Before they call, I will answer.’

When you receive this, say the prayer. That’s all I ask. No strings attached. Just send it on to whomever you want – but do send it on.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let’s continue praying for one another.

🙏 iPray

Heavenly Father, I ask you to bless my friends reading this. I ask You to minister to their spirit. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self doubting, release a renewed confidence to work through them; where there is tiredness or exhaustion, I ask You to give them understanding, guidance, and strength. Where there is fear, reveal your love and release to them Your courage. Bless their finances, give them greater vision, and raise up leaders and friends to support and encourage them. I ask You to do these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

True Riches

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James 1:9-11 Easy-to-Read Version

True Riches

Believers who are poor should be glad that God considers them so important. Believers who are rich should be glad when bad things happen that humble them. Their riches won’t keep them from disappearing as quickly as wildflowers. As the sun rises and gets hotter, its heat dries up the plants, and the flowers fall off. The flowers that were so beautiful are now dead. That’s how it is with the rich. While they are still making plans for their business, they will die.

✞ Music “Shadows” by David Crowder Band ft Lecrae

“Shadows”

When shadows fall on us
We will not fear
We will remember

When darkness falls on us
We will not fear
We will remember

When all seems lost
When we’re thrown and we’re tossed
We’ll remember the cost
We’re resting in the
Shadow of the cross

With every breath I take, every heart beat
Sunrise and the moon lights in the dark street
Every glance, every dance, every note of a song
All a gift undeserved that I shouldn’t have known
Every moment I lie, Every moment I covet
I’m deserving to die, I’m earning your judgment
I, without the cross there’s only condemnation
If Jesus wasn’t executed there’s no celebration
So in times that are good, in times that are bad
For any time I’ve had it all I will be glad
And I will boast in the cross, I boast in His name
I will boast in the sunshine, boast in His reign (rain)
What’s my life if it’s not praising You
Another dollar in my bank account of vain pursuit, I do
Not count my life as any value or precious at all

Let me finish my race, let me answer Your call

Are You Dying To Love?

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Galatians 2:20 The Voice

I have been crucified with the Anointed One—I am no longer alive—but the Anointed is living in me; and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son, the One who loves me and gave His body on the cross for me.

1 Corinthians 12:31 The Voice 

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way—love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

It’s a loving God who birthed creation and now pursues a broken people in the most spectacular way. That same love must guide believers.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.

Matthew 10:38 The Voice

If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me on the narrow road, then you are not worthy of Me.

Between Two Thieves

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The cross must be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died and that is what he died about and that is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen should be about.

George Macleod

The Truth Is…

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 The LIE

Genesis 3:4-5 The Voice

Serpent: Die? No, you’ll not die. God is playing games with you. 5 The truth is that God knows the day you eat the fruit from that tree you will awaken something powerful in you and become like Him: possessing knowledge of both good and evil.

My Thoughts 💭

Do you hear the whispers thet are making you feel like your missing out on something, you need more to be finally fulfilled, telling you that you need the latest …………(fill in the blank with any worldly/created item)  to be satisfied?!

It’s a LIE, and we still fall for it everyday!

 The Truth 

2 Peter 1:3-4 The Voice

His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue. Through these things, we have received God’s great and valuable promises, so we might escape the corruption of worldly desires and share in the divine nature.

God took the first step to rescue us from this corrupt world. He has granted us His power, revealed to us true knowledge, and spoken to us great promises. He has done all this for a reason: that we might participate in His own nature and reflect His own life. But we are not passive observers of God’s saving actions. We must receive His grace, grow in knowledge, and join Him in this work of redemption.

Listen out for the LIE, then, remember we have everything we need in Jesus!

Not afraid to die

 

This song came to me as I was with Sarah at another Eric Bibb concert, we were sat very high up in the eaves of Cadogan Hall and I felt a sudden sense of danger. I pictured the whole place collapsing and I was trapped under all of the seats etc.

 

When we got home I picked up my acoustic guitar and this song (lyrics & chords) just came straight out. I havn’t edited it since and this happened around 2005. 


Not afraid to die

Music & Lyrics by Steve Rebus

 

Verse 1 G, D/F#, A Asus

On that fateful night

In Cadohan Hall

Eric Bibb’s Blues filling wall to wall.

 

Verse 2

A big explosion

And you were scared

But I was the one trapped beneath the stairs

 

(Chorus) Dsus, G, D/F#, G, A

Please save yourself, before it’s too late

Please save yourself, but don’t you cry

Because I got the Lord in my heart…..I’m not afraid to die

 

Verse 3

You let go of my hand

With tears on your face

The look in your eyes, as you left this place

 

Verse 4

I can feel the heat

Of the flames on my skin

The creak from the roof as it finally caved in

 

(Chorus)

Please save yourself, before it’s too late

Please save yourself, but don’t you cry

Because I got the Lord in my heart…..I’m not afraid to die

 

Solo

 

Verse 5

Remember me

And the life we had

Share your smile and never be sad

 

(Chorus)

Please save yourself, before it’s too late

Please save yourself, but don’t you cry

Because I got the Lord in my heart…..I’m not afraid to die

When you’ve got the Lord in your heart…..don’t be afraid to die

 

© Steve Rebus

 

I am not sure if this is an outpouring of my love for Sarah and how I would die for her, or if its trying to show how much inner peace I feel now I follow Jesus, maybe its both?!

 

Please comment and let me know your thoughts! 😀

 

 

More songs:

The Prodigal Son

Captivity of Negativity

 

 


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