Is there a better time to talk about World War Z and our culture’s fascination with zombies then Holy Week? As a working preacher preparing for Easter and our church’s celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, I think not. It seems only appropriate to write about and consider beings which die and come back to life…right?
Zombies have had a moment. Culturally we were inundated with them over the past 5-7 years, as the premise for tv shows, movies, video games, graphic novels, regular novels and even survival guides. And why yes, I do have a t-shirt that says, “ask me about my zombie apocalypse plan” and I wear it proudly, because I have thought about it! So, needless to say…zombies most definitely had a resurrection (pun intended) and resurgence in our collective imagination and popular culture in recent years.
Now normally I would never have jumped on the bandwagon of zombie fandom. 1) Because I am just not a joiner and 2) Because I am not a big lover of the fictional undead (vampires? No thank you! Mummies? Don’t really do it for me and zombies…no way!). Yet, when Max Brooks’ World War Z was recommend to me passionately by an acquaintance years ago, I decided to give it a shot and I have no regrets! This was my third time reading World War Z and it is still so freaking good!
It’s the Oral History of the Zombie Apocalypse so right from the start you know humanity “won,” but each chapter is a different survivor’s story, perspective and reflection on the whole mess. It is an absolutely riveting compilation of first-person narratives structured to provide the reader with a broad understanding of what happened globally, while creating emotionally intimate connections with each storyteller. I have read this book twice and now I listened to it on Audible which was another layer of delight (skip the movie, it’s a terrible representation of the awesomeness of this book) and every time I am surprised by how much I an engrossed by the story and characters. Whether you like zombies or not, this book is absolutely worth your time. Even as we begin to see the fading fad of zombies in popular culture I believe World War Z will stand the test of time.
…Now back to Jesus. As Easter approaches I can’t help but wonder if the kids in my pews, the ones who have grown up conscience of zombies hear the story of Jesus’ resurrection and think, “so was Jesus a zombie?” For those of us steeped in the Christian tradition and first heard the resurrection story isolated from the zombie craze it’s easy to answer with a sure and certain “no,” but just for the record and for those kids in the back pews thinking, “this coming back to life thing sure makes it sound like Jesus was a zombie to me” let me just say….
Kid, you’re not wrong. You are making good connections with some familiar stories and fictional beings that you’re aware of and that’s awsome, but here’s the thing. We know Jesus wasn’t a zombie because when he came back to life, he didn’t eat people. So yes, there are some similarities, but also no, Jesus wasn’t a zombie.
Happy Easter all and happy reading!
Goodreads Review World War Z