A few weeks ago on our way to our monthly gaming event two of my roommates began to discuss at length the most pressing issue of our time. Of course, I speak of the impending Zombie apocalypse. Perhaps this doom is not the primary concern of all of my readers. If you are not fully convicted of the importance of this issue I dare say you don’t realize what the ensuing apocalypse represents.
All over the world people are inexplicably losing their reason. En mass they are abandoning hope and losing their capacity to feel fully alive. This growing horde is forming large factions capable of overtaking the institutions we depend upon and threatening to terrorize the few people who still possess the brains to not join their ranks. In the midst of the chaos our social fabric is being poorly maintained and it seems at times civilization maybe on the eve of ruin.
Does it seem as far fetched when I put it that way?
When geeks talk about “surviving the Zombie Apocalypse” what we really talking about is: “How do you live in a culture that has completely lost its way? How do you keep your wits when surrounded by mindless conformity? How do we keep ourselves and our loved ones safe when all our usual institutions have become weak, warped, corrupt or are simply useless?”
So, what do we do?
Our modern culture is continuously pushing us to conform to behavior that any intelligent Christian should recognize as horrifyingly unwise. So what do we do? I have decided this question to be so relevant that I’m going to devote two posts to my Zombie Survival Guide. This is Trenton’s ZSG: Phase 1- Don’t Get Bitten!
Step 1: Be Sure You’re Alive.
This sounds trivial, the living are living and the dead are dead. You are clearly living. Zombie trap! In the Zombie apocalypse it isn’t that simple to tell who is living and who is dead. At first glance a Zombie seems to be alive. They are still moving around sometimes they moan a little. Now look closer.
Their movements are lethargic and with out meaning. Their mindless hordes have submitted all their will to follow an addiction that will never satisfy. They haven’t just lost their reason. They have lost their will, their hope, their love. A Zombie is anyone who has lost the source of their life.
What about you. What gives you the will to survive? Where do you find your hope for tomorrow? Name one thing that you really truly love. This is what Christ called the ‘Living Water’. His holy spirit is the source of our life. In the Zombie Apocalypse you can never take these things for granted. Search your life until you find hope, faith and love. Ask for them in prayer. When your are filled with this spirit grab a hold of life and don’t let it go.
Step 2: Escape The Horde.
Good news! Zombies are slow moving and witless. The bad news is that there are a lot more people inside the mindless mob than outside of it. Your first impulse maybe to simply look for the biggest crowd and run in the opposite direction. Zombie Trap!
The methods of Zombie genesis and Zombie locomotion are still unknown. But it is widely understood that just around the corner from every group of idiots is another group of idiots. Run too fast away from the cultural horde and you’ll end up in the hipster horde. Take a blind run away from the liberal horde you’ll be devoured by the conservative horde. Take a blind run away from the conservative horde you’ll just get ambushed by the liberal horde again. Even if you’re running blindly from secularism you’ll discover yes there is even a Catholic horde.
Just because you go through the motions of mass and confession doesn’t guarantee you have the “brains” to know what your doing. Calling yourself Catholic or Baptist or Buddhist or Non-religous doesn’t actually mean you have a living spiritual life.
Famous Franciscan spiritual guide Richard Rohr would call blind running between hordes dualistic thinking. Essentially dualistic thinking is dividing everything into overly simplistic dichotomous labels. Like simply saying anything “Catholic” is “Right” and anything that is secular is “Wrong”. Rohr isn’t rejecting objective moral truth, just pointing out these simplistic labels obscure the more complicated spiritual truth underneath, thus leading to multiple errors.
Dualistic thinking causes us to choose the “Right” Horde instead of escaping them. Rohr emphasizes authentic spirituality and good moral reasoning require non-dualistic thinking. Non-dualistic thinking means looking for the truth and the fallacies underneath different points of view. A classic first attempt is to simply reason through all the options until you find a safe zone. This would be like frantically running in every direction until you run out of Hordes. This sometimes works but more often your reason will get exhausted and you will fall pray to a Horde somewhere. That is why its is better to trust the spirit than rely on your own reason. That spirit you found to prove you were not a Zombie, will give you a subtle push in the right direction.
Many people find the spirit gives them a much less subtle shove away from danger. Somehow we instinctively know when the Zombies are close. Right before we are about to turn the wrong corner the hairs on your neck will begin to stand up. So don’t run frantically. Be calm and still and listen to the spirit. Pray often and when your soul is not at peace, book it!
Zombie Survival Strategy: Step 3 Find Shelter
Sooner or later the night gets long and we become tired. Sometime we must lay our heads in this Zombie wasteland. Zombie Trap! Even with a strong living spirit and primed sense of evil without shelter you will never be fully at rest. In today’s wasteland the best shelter is the Church.
Every geek has chosen their favorite “Zombie Shelter”. In the fortunate event we do get to use our skills, our selection process is complex and different for everyone but there are a few keys. A good shelter needs a solid foundation and be able to stand for a long time. The Catholic Church is founded on Jesus and his chosen Rock (Peter). This shelter has stood for over 1000 years.
Critics will point out as I have already hinted many have fallen to the Zombies while within Church walls. Others will say that the structure is simply to old and falling apart, no longer providing defense from the outside. These criticisms are at least partially valid but these problems are easily overcome. Before you hunker down in your new shelter explore as many rooms as you can. If some rooms make the hair on your neck stand up, don’t go in those rooms! Those may have been expansions later or poorly maintained rooms that have cracked enough for Zombies to enter. In a structure so large you are bound to find a few rouge Zombies but they are easily dispatched.
The damages the Church has suffered over time can be repaired and barricades can be built to cover vulnerabilities. Ultimately a shelter will depend on the survivors who maintain it, so now that has become your job. Whatever it’s faults, life under the protection of the church is much safer than being alone in the wasteland. Once you have found a safe place to bunker in you maybe safe… for now.
The state of our world today may not be an actual undead apocalypse but it is bleak. We are in fact infested with many bands of reasonless conformists. A lot of what made civilization strong is aging and in need of repair. Yet, you do not have to join the mindless horde. My challenge to you with this post is to think about where in your own life it is a struggle to keep your reason on tack and pray for Gods protection from conformity.