I’m a big fan of the TV show The Walking Dead. I like the show because it uses the griping drama of a zombie apocalypse to tell a much bigger story. The Walking Dead is a show about humanity – it is about good and evil, love and hate. Through the narrative we watch as people survive in a world without cellphones, electricity, and Facebook. There is conflict and romance, struggle and accomplishment, new life and death.
To that end, (SPOILER ALERT!) in a recent episode one of the main characters presumably perished. His name was Glen. He was a quirky kid who became a hero and voice of reason in the mayhem of zombieville (and he ends up marrying a beautiful girl – hang on, Nerds, there is hope for us in the apocalypse!). The tragedy of Glen’s death is not what I want to write about today. Rather, I want to talk about what happened after he died (in real life, not on TV).
After the showed aired on AMC Sunday night, the Internet blew up. Fans of The Walking Dead went bananas. Social media was filled with fans sobbing. Facebook and Twitter lit up with calls for the writers of the show to be fired and apologize. The show that follows The Walking Dead (appropriately titled The Talking Dead) began with the host and guests pathetically morose and melancholy. It was as though they were newscasters reporting on some tragedy that happened in a nearby neighborhood. And for me – a true fan of The Walking Dead – it was too much. After all, it is just TV, make believe, fake, fiction.
I flipped the channel and saw news that featured real life people suffering real life tragedy. I opened my computer and saw graphic images of people across this globe suffering in the wake of war, natural disaster and unnecessary violence. I checked my phone and read texts and e-mails from close friends and fellow disciples who’re struggling in heart breaking ways. And I wondered…
Why aren’t we crying for them?
Where is the call for justice here?
Why aren’t we demanding someone be held accountable for this?
I love good fiction as much as the next person. I love a good book. I appreciate a good movie. I can get drawn into a TV drama with virtually no effort. But I struggle with a world that sheds tears for made up characters, while turning a blind eye to the needs of everyday people.
In scripture God commands us to stay attuned not just to the idea of justice, but the real life application. As Christians we are not called to offer generic attempts at peace, love and life. Rather, we are called to really strive for reconciliation, harmony, and the end of unnecessary death. It is not enough to weep for the unreal while turning a blind eye to the many tragedies that unfold daily in this broken world.
I am sorry that Glen died, but my heart breaks for others…
For refuges. For the chronically ill. For those battling addiction. For those who live in war torn areas. For those who are persecuted unjustly because of race and religion. For those who live in the shadow of death. For those who grieve real death.
Almighty God, we confess that at times we get drawn into illusions of life that distract us from the world around us. Have mercy on us. Empower us to see in our daily lives the plight and pain of our neighbor and to respond with acts of peace, love and justice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
In the Way,