Jesus is the Anti-Zombie and the Zombie Commandments

On Easter Sunday we celebrate the most famous case of the dead coming back to life.  You heard me right, celebrate.  I know many of you about to run away from your computer screens to grab your shotguns or katanas, but wait.  Hold up.

Have you ever had the fear that the living dead will come breaking through your door?  I’m talking about rotten decaying humans that hunger for your brains.

Many ancient societies held to the fear that the dead would come back to life and run rampant across the land.  Why else do we still bolt our coffins shut from the inside or why did the ancient Irish place a stone in the mouths of the dead.  Both are precautions against the dead returning to life; one locks the dead in a coffin and the other fills the mouth so that the dead is prevented from eating.

There are many other examples that prove that our world lives in fear of the death and  the dead.  Like the rules of cleanliness in ancient Israel, if a person touched a dead body there were considered unclean.  Maybe they were trying to prevent the spread of diseases or maybe they thought if someone interacted with the dead they would become a Zombie.

The technical definition of a Zombie is any dead body given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose like eating brains.  In Harry Potter they are called Inferi and are used by dark wizards to attack the living. Even magical people fear the living dead.  Any Zombie has no will of his or her own, save to consume brains and make more Zombies.

Real Zombies, whether you believe in them or not, exist to suck life and meaning from their prey.  Zombies live, well not really live, with an unquenchable desire to feed.  Much like the American consumer, Zombies are always wanting more and what they leave in their path is death and destruction.

A Zombie’s main desire (If a Zombie has the free will to have his or her own desire) is to turn normal people into Zombies and once you have been turned into a Zombie you are condemned to a living death.  Imagine working in Dilbert’s cubicle for the rest of your life, bent on just amassing more; a “life” doomed to utter meaningless.  Just imagine living your life and your only desire is to eat brains;  human brains at that.

And now to the upcoming celebration of the most famous case of resurrection.  That’s right, I’m talking about Easter Sunday!

That’s right, Jesus Christ came back from the dead and in two weeks we’ll celebrate his resurrection.

Fortunately Jesus Christ is the Anti-Zombie!  Jesus, who called himself, “The Good Shepherd,” who was willing to die for his, “sheep,”  knew he had to die so that we would be protected from a meaningless life.  In the Gospel of John Jesus says, “I have come that [you] may have life and have it to the full.”  Jesus did not come so that we would live our lives in mediocrity.  No he came to break us away from meaninglessness.  His life gave us a purpose, which I believe is to love and serve one another with a confidence that we are protected from the sting of death.

Jesus died so that “whoever believes in him shall not parish, but have eternal life.”  Anyone can die, but Jesus came back to life.  However, unlike Zombies who are the reanimated dead bent on destruction.  Jesus’ resurrection is, in essence, an act against a meaningless life.

As J.K. Rowling says in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”  Rowling cleverly pulls this quote from 1st Corinthians chapter 15 verse 26.  She is making the point that death, and in my opinion, meaninglessness are enemies to be destroyed.  And fortunately for all of us Jesus has conquered these enemies.

Paul, the author of 1st Corinthians, believed that Christ’s resurrection was a resurrection to a spiritual life and that death has no sting or power.  That whoever allows Christ to work in their life will be changed in life and through death.  Their body might die, but their soul will live on in Heaven.

So Jesus’s death and resurrection give a meaning to life.  Where Zombies are reanimated to consume, Jesus died and came back to give us the freedom to live.  That is part of the practice of the Communion at church.  Believers take in Jesus’s body and blood and are given a full life; one that is satisfied by Jesus and not material goods.  We, normal humans, who don’t go around eating brains, no longer need to be afraid of Zombies, of meaninglessness, or death, because Jesus died and came back to life for us, so that we could live our lives to the full.

And now the Zombie Commandments: Some of Jesus’ commandments with a Zombie flavoring.

1. The most important commandment is this, “Love the lord your God with all your heart  and with all your soul and all your brain,” mmmmm brains I can’t get enough brains . . . I mean, “mind and with all your strength.

2. Love your neighbor as yourself because his brain tastes as good as yours.

3. You are the salt of the earth, so add extra humans on any brains you might eat.

4. You have heard it said, “Do not commit adultery.”  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully and does not eat  her brain has already lost out on a chance for a good meal.

5. You have heard it said, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,” but I tell you do not resist anyone that wants to eat your brain.

6. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your brain as well.

7. Give to anyone your brain if they ask for it, and do not turn away anyone who utters the phrase, “Must Eat Brain!”

8. You have heard it said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy,” but I tell you to love your enemy and pray for those who try to eat your brains.

9. Thou Shalt covet they neighbors brain.

10. Be a perfect brain eater as your Zombie father is a perfect brain eater.

Happy Resurection!!

Celebrate Holy Week by living like the anti-zombie, Jesus, and living in the freedom from a meaningless life.

How Does A Bronco Fan Mourn Al Davis

Saturday, as the news broke about the death of Al Davis, the owner of the Oakland Raiders, I was unsure of how to react.  One side of me wanted to smile, this was the side that hates the Raiders and wants to see misery in my opponent’s eyes, and the other side was sad.  Sad because Al Davis had run his team into the ground and well, I wanted the Raiders to remain terrible.  Now, the pessimist in me believes his departure from the Raiders might make the team I hate a more competitive franchise.  The Raiders have been an inept franchise for a decade, but they haven’t always been that way.

For a long time the Raiders were winners, committed to excellence.

Al Davis cared for nothing more than winning.  And I, like all Bronco fans, cared nothing for him and am pained by the above video, but I guess he did win some games.  According to Hall of Fame coach Don Shula, Davis was devious, but would have taken it as a complement to be described as such.  It is fair to say that hate him or love him (he does have a family) he was a driven man who helped shape the game of football.

He made the phrase, “Just win, Baby,” famous.  But growing up as a Denver Bronco fan, I just wanted him to lose.  For the last decade, if not a little more, that’s all the Raiders have been doing.  And as bad as the Broncos have been for the last five years, it has been comforting to know that the Raiders have been worse, except when they beat my team.

Al Davis may have lived his life by his “Just win, Baby,” motto, even while his team was losing, but is life about winning?  Football is just a game.  Don’t get me wrong, I love sports.  I’m very competitive and I believe if it is your job to play a game, you should do your best, but maybe there’s more to life than winning or losing.

I wonder if Davis defined his life by the wins and loses his team acquired on the field.  I did not know him so I can’t guess if he lived for more than wins on the field.  As a Bronco fan, competitively I hope he didn’t.  That way he lived his last ten years in misery.  But that’s just the Broncos fan in me, maybe I need to let God work on that area of my life.

But as a Christian, I hope he did live for something more than just wins.  While, I admire his desire to win because I believe God wants us to give everything we do our all, I don’t believe life is just about winning.

What is life about then?

What if life was about losing?  About giving instead of taking.

Matthew 5 reads like a list of objectives for weirdos.  It is counter culture to the max.  I mean, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” come on, who lives like that.  Or how about, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.”  That doesn’t sound very competitive.  You’re just going to get run over if you live like that.  Or what about, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  It’s like Jesus is telling people to be losers.  Or is he just saying, be different and you’ll be noticed for what really matters.

Jesus wants people to stand out, which is why he says, “You are the salt of the earth . . . You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”  So if you are living like Jesus you are going to be noticed.  You are going to be different and like salt you are going to add a flavor to whatever you shake it into.  Did you know salt enhances the natural flavor of any food it’s added too?  Maybe that’s what life’s about, enhancing the lives of the people we come into contact with.

What about “Just win, Baby”?  That mentality seems to breed the eye for an eye mentality.  If someone punches you, punch back, ’cause you just got to win.  But Jesus says something different.  He says, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your jacket also.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you . . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Fans, Jesus wants us to lose.  To give more than what is asked from us.  To love the Raiders?  To pray for Al Davis and the Raider nation as they grieve their owner’s death.

Jesus commands us, and this isn’t just a command he is giving to Christians, this is for everyone out there, even Raiders and their fans, to love.  Jesus says in Matthew 12 vrs 29-31, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no greater commandment than these.”

Ok Bronco fans, this is what our head coach is saying, “Love God and give him your all.  Next love your opponents, even the Raiders, just as much as you love your Broncos.”

What is love though?

Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers.  Love never fails.

Jesus wants me, a Bronco fan, to let go of all the hate I have for the Raiders.  So what if Al Davis never payed my beloved former coach, Mike Shanahan.  Life isn’t about money and I am sure Mike Shanahan has enough money and during his time with the Broncos he sure got the wins against the Raiders, as well as two Super Bowl wins for my team.  I think if I am to mourn Al Davis, I have to be different.

So how does a Bronco fan mourn Al Davis?  First, I stop trying to win at all costs (This is going to be difficult for me, ’cause I’ve been known to wish injuries on my least favorite players).  And Secondly, I need to look at the bigger picture of life.  Football isn’t just a fun diversion, remember how it helped restore hope to our nation after September 11th?  Sports are important, but loving our neighbors is more important.

What would Tebow Do?  Tim Tebow, the much debated quarterback for the Broncos, is a Christian who has made a name for himself by standing up for what he believes in.  I believe he would go out and play the game with the talent God gave him, but also respect his opponents with a Christlike love.  But that’s just a guess.  I know Tebow’s not Jesus.

Neither was Al Davis.  He was just a man (a neighbor), but a man created in God’s image.  He may have just wanted to win and maybe that’s what created such a good rivalry between the Broncos and the Raiders, but life is bigger than the victories on the field.  I can mourn Al Davis because he was one of God’s creation.  I can mourn him because as a Christian I am called to be different, to see past the gridiron, and to love even him, my enemy.