Monday, June 4, 2012

Lions, and Tigers, and Zombies, OH MY!

Bolts and fasteners for broken bones, check; glue and caulk for peeling skin, check; deodorizers to freshen up decaying flesh, check. Looks like I am all set for the zombie apocalypse.

What's cookin' good lookin'?

Yep, Ace Hardware in Omaha, Nebraska proudly displays all of these items on shelves in their "Zombie Preparedness Center" section of their store. When I read about this in the Las Vegas Review-Journal this morning, I was more amused than shocked. There have been jokes and different marketing schemes revolving around zombies out of humor or whatever, but people are actually serious about all of this! The web is buzzing with talk of zombies as story after story appears in the news such as a cannibal in Miami, a heart-munching student in Maryland, and a disturbing self-mutilating attack, that suggest the possibility of the beginning of a zombie apocalypse. Now, as commonly happens with serious and disturbing news, there are people who are becoming either obsessively fearful or sadistically humorous (which is no wonder after movies such as Zombieland) about topics such as zombies. While the news is absolutely disgusting and graphic, we are naturally drawn to this type of thing with a sort of sick fascination (to prove my point... you followed all of the links, just to check it out, didn't you?). It makes us sick to our stomachs, yet we read on, because we can't believe a person could actually do it, but we have to find out every twisted detail of the story so we can relive it in our nightmares or ponder thoughts of Armageddon. Let's face it, we are obsessed with the bizarre and extraordinarily gruesome.

I would suggest a detour.
After realizing all of this recent zombie craze was based on real stories, I became pretty unsettled and wanted to take a step back to check out the facts. So I whipped out one of my favorite books. No, not the Catechism. (Even though that book proves very enlightening and helpful for proving a lot of points, I don't think JPII was too concerned with zombies.) But the real source I looked to first is the Bible. Duh. You know, God gave us this really cool book in the bible called Revelation talking all about the end of the world! Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't remember seeing anything about any sort of zombie apocalypse in it. Lamp stands, horses, seals, sure, but no zombies. Unless one is symbolic for flesh-eating living dead, I really don't think a zombie apocalypse is in our future.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe one day some disease will make all humans mutate into freaky cannibalistic corpses, and we will have to fight for our lives like Will Smith as we survive by day and hide by night. Maybe all the people on planet earth will become just animals with no thoughts, souls, consciousness, or feelings. Wait a minute. Hold the phone. Humans will be degraded into animal-like forms without any of the above attributes? Come on. If you are worried about that, you aren't thinking it through this through very well. God made us in His beautiful, perfect, divine image. That's right. We are made in GOD'S IMAGE. Made in the image of a God with infinite power, infinite love, infinite EVERYTHING good. How could God let us become merely animals when He so distinctly and purposely set us apart? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that's the way God has planned for the epic Armageddon. God made us and saw that it was GOOD. We are all supposed to be a reflection of Him, with a mind and a will, and the whole zombie thing just doesn't quite fit the bill.

So then there's the argument that maybe not all humans will die that way. Maybe there is some epidemic in the future that makes animals out of the bodies, but the people themselves die. The zombies are not real humans, but merely the empty vessels lacking a person, but somehow surviving and remaining animated despite the fact they are dead. Ands some humans will survive. Then there will be a terrible war, humans fighting for their lives against a product of our own experimentation and mistakes (as many people are led to believe will cause the end or at least a regeneration). We are slowly dooming ourselves... etc. Well, while we are looking at the what-ifs, what if you die in a car crash today? What if you go to the doctor next week and get diagnosed with cancer? What if you win the lottery? What if your building catches on fire and you lose everything you have? What if you are enjoying a lovely salad when you eat an almond that gets stuck in your trachea and there's nobody around to do the Heimlich and you are suddenly dead because of a seemingly harmless legume? All possible (probably more likely than zombies too), but are they worth worrying about?

It wasn't the zombies you should have been concerned about...

See, here's the point: God has a plan for you. The thing about the future is YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT. God will take care of you; you just have to trust Him. There's this really good book called The Screwtape Letters by this guy named C.S. Lewis (Ring a bell? Chronicles of Narnia? Yes?). If you haven't read the book, it's about this tempter who is instructing his nephew on how to properly lead his human "patient" to hell by prying him away from God and ruining his life in every way possible. In one of the letters to his nephew, Uncle Screwtape discusses the importance of luring his "patient" into focusing on the future. He says, "We want a whole race [in reference to humans] perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present." There is so much truth to that. We waste so much time worrying about the future. Along with that, we are willing to put everything on the line for a future reward that may or may not even come. We spend so much energy and effort on the future that we cannot even enjoy the present. We ignore the gifts God is giving us every day, because we are either putting them off for tomorrow or not recognizing them at all because our preoccupation with what MIGHT happen.

I'm going to choose not to worry about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse, not just because it is extremely unlikely, but because I know that God has my back. If I'm doomed to be eaten alive, I guess that it's all in His plan for me. But for right now, all I can do is give up my worrying to Christ, and put it all in His hands, trusting Him and live life as He gives it to me--in the present and not afraid or obsessed with a future that might never come. Only then can I receive the peace from God that allows me to live my life with purpose. Only then can I give my life to Him. I guess it's up to you how you react to all of this news, but as for me, I'd trade in my zombie defense package any day for a little divine life insurance from the Big Guy upstairs.

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