Monday, October 19, 2015

"Save the Last One" Random Thoughts

I am way behind on “The Walking Dead.” Like a lot of zombie stories, I think it has tremendous potential to make social, philosophical and even theological commentary, and unlike a lot of zombie fare I think it is well made. However, who has the stomach to handle such intense, depressing material. And that isn’t even taking the gore into account!

But since Netflix affords me the opportunity to check out what I have been missing, I am creeping my way through the second season. (I know, I have heard that I ought to skip ahead.) I have been a bit surprised by the way the show has not steered clear of theological musings, such as what I found in episode 3.

Hidden in amongst the shocking decisions being made at the climax of this episode, there is a quiet moment between Glenn and Maggie. Glenn has snuck out onto the porch to pray… for the first time in his life. Maggie interrupts him, and asks him if that is what he is doing.

He admits that he is trying it for the first time and asks her if she is a believer. She says that she used to be, before everything went to hell in the apocalyptic world they now live in.

That struck me as a pretty insightful commentary on faith in western culture. When things are going well and we are enjoying the richest, safest existence the world has ever known it is easy to embrace a religious philosophy of life. Especially the age-old-regional-god idea that your god will bless you and protect you if you please him. It is especially helpful that a lot of “Christian” teaching sounds like that these days.

But what would happen if the Christianity we see in the Bible started to invade our affluent, western culture? That faith that promises suffering for its adherents, the one that says the rest of the world will misunderstand and hate it? How many people would continue to follow God in a world that hates Him? How many people would be able to maintain their faith and continue to love?

Because that is a better picture of the situation we are faced with. Ephesians 2 even uses terminology fans of “The Walking Dead” could identify with. Paul tells believers that they used to be dead in the sin in which they walked. Without Christ we were the walking dead. Only the dead we live amongst are not the enemy.

Glenn is moved to pray for his friends and the difficulty they are facing. Unfortunately, I know that this show has a darker future ahead of it. There is no hope for the walkers, or for the living as everyone in this show is already carrying the “disease.” And in this case, there doesn’t seem to be a cure.

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