The walking dead among us

Published 9:52 pm Friday, January 18, 2013

By Chris Surber

Just because you are breathing doesn’t mean you’re alive. Hollywood has resurrected the walking dead genre in television and film. It seems like everywhere I look in entertainment I see zombies.

I’m not certain what it is about the zombie genre that people find so fascinating and appealing. Perhaps it’s the free license zombie hunters have in killing the zombies that appeals to a hidden aggressiveness in our hearts. Perhaps the mindless zombies just fill our need for mindless entertainment in otherwise busy lives.

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Whatever it is, the zombie has reemerged from the B-movie archives of the 1970s and risen from the ashes as a contender in mainstream entertainment. I personally find this genre a bit disgusting and would rather not watch.

But there is a kind of walking dead among us that I find even more revolting. While the zombie apocalypse has not occurred, there are “walkers” all around us who move and breathe but have stopped living long ago.

I am a student of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is among my favorite quotes from him: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Apathy is the silent murderer of our souls. Dr. King knew this and did something about it. In fact, he did a lot of things about it. It isn’t bad people who should be feared the most. While a person with evil intent may rob a store or hurt another human being, good people half-alive because of the infection of apathy in their souls rob humanity of its greatest potential.

King said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

The same is true in our day. While racism is not at the forefront of our social conscience, it is still a problem. And what of other social ills to which you and I, the good people of society, turn a blind eye? What about child abuse and neglect in our own backyard?

What about the damage that pornography and sex addiction is doing in the lives of young people? Did you know Hampton Roads has some of the highest incidences of underage sex trafficking?

There are plenty of battles that need to be fought while we instead walk around like zombies in a half-stupefied trance seeking only our next meal, our next pleasure, or our next excitement.

If you claim fellowship with Christ, may I suggest that you cannot possibly do so and remain apathetic to things He hates? God gives us life and good things to empower us, not to pamper us. Our life is not our own.

Zombies are animated, not alive. Even within the context of zombie fiction, zombies are not aware of their condition or that of others — and if they are, they surely don’t care.

Friend, we are runners in a race, not innocent bystanders. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NIV84)

Remember the words of Martin Luther King Jr.: “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

Don’t be a zombie.

Chris Surber is pastor of Cypress Chapel Christian Church in Suffolk. Visit his website at