Wednesday, July 10, 2013

zombie porn mania

<<shameless attempt to grab counter hits: blog titles with only buzz words>>

Fear of the brain-eating, and apparently unstoppable, undead masses.

And we can't turn away from that fear.  In fact, much like the dog and the fool, we can't help but return (Proverbs 26:11).  PS, that's the porn part.

With the release of the movie World War Z, it seemed time that somebody try to make sense of the religious themes with all this zombie mania.  Turns out somebody beat me to the punch--and published a book, to boot.  Something to add to the summer/autumn reading list.

Some of this craziness had to start with 2004's Dawn of the Dead remake (complete with opening credits accompanied by the late Johnny Cash's last hit "When the Man Comes 'Round"):  apocalyptic music singing of final judgment accompanied by harried shots of unrestrainable riots and a quick descent into Hell. Now it's gotten to the point that weekend 5k road races aren't enough.  To have a good time you need to be chased.  You can even buy zombie apocalypse t-shirts.  And not just by telemarketers or bratty teenagers.

All of it sparked by....the brain-eating, unstoppable undead zombie masses.

Spiritual diabetes angle:  it's not just xenophobia, but a sort of xeno-polloi-phobia. We're now afraid of the masses of strange others.  "the stranger" her/himself--we're now fine with that.  Catholic social justice insists on the intrinsic dignity of every human being from conception to natural death.  Liberation theology insisted for decades that the poor retain their dignity and proximity to God.  Even college undergraduates (another set of zombies, perhaps?) with their individual ethical relativism want to insist on a certain laissez-faire morality that recognize the freedom and integrity of other individuals.

But a mass of others--especially if they're....Republicans, Democrats, Roman Catholics, Jews, born-again Christians, Mormons, Unitarian-Universalists, Muslims--that's a different story.  "They" just keep coming--and obliterating "us."  OH MY GOD, WHAT WILL WE DO???  WE ARE DOOMED. 

So in a time when a chunk of the American populace fears Obamacare's HHS mandate for its very real infringements on religious freedom, while another chunk fears pro-life intrusion into reproductive freedom, while third and fourth chunks stew about the political opposition's machinations for electoral control, in such times it might make sense that our most popular meme might be the zombie apocalypse.  The brain-eating, unstoppable undead others hellbent on OUR destruction.

Gee, ain't nihilism great?  Livia Soprano might be the dowager queen of this worldview.

And a biblical note for the runners out there:  train all you want to outrun the zombie.  Buy the t-shirts about "fast food."  And then read Amos chapter 5, especially verses 18-20.

Spiritual diabetes cure--and like all diabetes cures, this takes a while, it's not a quick-fix, sugar-high like the rush of running from zombies--take a stroll through Francis I's Lumen Fidei and recall its predecessors by Benedict XVI:  Caritas in veritate and Spe Salvi.  The Roman Catholic tradition--the Church, yes, and its all-too-fallible members, and its ideas and practices--remains a harbor and feast to recharge, refresh, and encourage us all in these zombie-mad days.

And for Katrina Fernandez, who raises an interesting point about Francis' style, patience.  The day will surely come when those currently loving Francis's cool groove (and, admittedly, it is pretty cool) will find themselves facing an unexpectedly difficult choice:  turn away to follow another spiritual fad or admit Francis, as pope, leads both the revisionists and the traditionalists, the Opus Dei supernumeraries and those struggling to get to Mass on time, the liberal and the conservatives.

Because in the Church there are certainly differences...but there are no zombies.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff! I am lost without my google reader! I have missed reading you!

    I could not agree with you more about the zombie thing. Ugh, ugh, ugh! And the best palette cleansers and food for the soul are the encyclicals you point to.

    But when it came to Katrina Fernandez' post, I have to disagree, which we sometimes do with one another. I am loathe to read all this divisive "told-ya-so" doomsaying. It is misinformed at best, a real tide against true hope - the hope that we will all be one in Christ, and therefore entirely problematic for me. All this good Catholic/bad Catholic polemic from both sides must stop.

    I find it so awful that people sneer, waiting for the fallen to really fall away, when we should be praying them in - on God's terms - not our own. It is as distasteful to me as it was about 12 years ago, when a distinctly more conservative (for lack of a better term) vibe began to creep in, and my liberal peers sneered in the same way.

    A friend of mine calls it "older son syndrome," in reference to the older son in the Prodigal Son story. That parable ought to teach us all about being disdainful of the losers that show up after wallowing in the worst sin. Which by the way, is all of us.

    God help us all. (I am addressing Katrina's post, not necessarily your own words. Of course, I got into a scuffle at another Patheos blog the other day, reminding me why it is best for me to prayerfully stay away from that place.

    But I will not stay away from you my friend!

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