Living Like the Dead

Living Like the Dead October 8, 2014

The_Walking_Dead_-_Andrew_Lincoln,_Chandler_Riggs,_David_Alpert_Interview_-_Comic_Con_2014Ran across a pretty terrific post in Christ and Pop Culture today—a piece about AMC’s The Walking Dead (returning this Sunday) by David Dunham. The theme: Brokenness will find you. That brokenness, be it in the guise of the shambling hordes or the duplicitous living, follows Rick, Carl and the rest of the cast, episode after episode, season after season. “Dad, you can’t keep me from it,” Dunham quotes the young Carl when father Rick is trying to protect his young boy from the horrors of the world. “From what always happens.”

But Dunham believes that, even in a world where death means to be reborn in the worst possible way, there’s still hope to be found. And the characters cling to a certain sort of faith. Not an explicitly Christian faith, necessarily, but a faith that something better awaits them. Dunham writes:

They believe. Not naively. Not like Rick when he had a blind optimism about the CDC in season one, or Sophia in season two. Rather, it is a faith that readily recognizes the brokenness of this world but sees the possibility for joy in its midst. And though there’s no return to paradise, no recapturing the peace of the prison, as the season ends the group is reunited. It’s not all lost, and Rick is not giving up. Despite the brokenness of their world, hope abounds as (season four) ends.

I’m not a regular Walking Dead viewer. But I do think that our pop culture zombies can have quite spiritual underpinnings (I spend a chapter in my upcoming book talking about zombies, and my friend Clay Morgan wrote a whole tome on the subject) think Dunham’s got something here. We, too, live in a broken world (though not a world, thankfully, where we all have to carry guns and hatchets). We can feel, sometimes, like we’re surrounded by that brokenness. We feel that the world should be more than it is. And we’re right: It should. Sometimes, we can even feel a little dead inside.

But there is hope. There is life. We feel it. We know it if we only dare.

“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” Paul says in Romans. Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Walk in newness of life. I like that. Paul, talking as he did about death in the midst of life and life in the midst of death, was ahead of his time.


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