The View, The Scorch, and a Zombie Apocalypse

Blog_TVControlRoomHave you ever wondered what it would be like to be a victim of a zombie apocalypse? Me neither, though yet another movie has emerged to depict the potential outcome of such a catastrophe. Which has me thinking. We’re not so different from these would-be victims.

Though much of our world is now wireless, how much of our days are spent connected by invisible wires to a monitor of some sort? The TV screen, the computer monitor, our cell phone display. And though we’re told by the talking heads on such monitors to think for ourselves, they’re doing an awful lot of the thinking for us. “Be original, be yourself, be unique!” they cry as the silent warning sounds that if we so much as diverge from their status quo, we will be verbally persecuted, if not worse.

A recent and now-notorious episode of The View serves as example. Nurses around the world were rightly outraged when their selfless profession was casually mocked by the talking heads on this opinion-driven platform, triggering the hashtag #nursesunite. No matter if the initial comments were a weak attempt at humor. It took this obvious untruth spoken across the airwaves to wake would-be fans to what has been reality for as long as the first TV antennas went up: not everything we hear from rich and famous self-proclaimed life-experts is…true.

We’ve lived so long in a media-induced stupor that we don’t realize how far we’ve drifted from reality until some clearly misguided statement wakes us from our near-comatose state. How long prior to #nursesunite were the screen-bound personas of The View and shows like it speaking untruths, half-truths, misguided words and emotion-driven opinions without a public outcry as the outcome? How much of our own worldview is so influenced by the media that we can’t even separate truth from opinion…from blatant lie?

#Nursesunite is not just a hashtag. It’s a wake-up call, reminding us that the people on TV are just…people. They are not gods. They are not life-experts. And we don’t owe our lives, or our brains, to them. As much as the world of monitors has become our world, we need to detach ourselves from the wireless wires and finally…think for ourselves.

He Didn’t Die for This

Blog_PhilippineCemetaryHave you ever come face to face with death? I did, once—at a graveyard in the Philippines. There, the bodies are not buried six feet under, but in cement enclosures above ground. To reach the burial site for the funeral we were attending, we had to walk through a maze of these cement enclosures until we reached the back wall. There, the poor rent slots for their deceased loved ones. Because they can’t afford a permanent resting place, the remains are often tossed on the ground once the rental agreement is complete and the space is needed for a new occupant. While navigating the maze of tombs, it’s not unusual to encounter skeletons with skulls full of withering hair. It’s a sobering encounter with the reality of our own mortality.

A walk through life can often feel like a walk through that graveyard—every day surrounded by news of suffering. Even worse is a much-anticipated visit to a place meant to bring hope, only to find a mausoleum of death. It’s beyond unfortunate when a church feels like a mortuary—a place of meaningless ritual, passionless preaching, and meaningless tradition. Really? Is this what Jesus died for?

Reflecting on my journey through that maze of death, I realize one glaring truth. No man dies to live among the dead. No man lays down his life so others can live as zombies. And, to be honest, that’s what empty religion can do to a person. We appease our conscience with a weekly (or yearly) visit to church—stand up, sit down, repeat memorized phrases in droning monotone, and leave unchanged. And I must ask again…is THIS what Jesus died for?

There is much to be said about what Jesus DID die for. Still, we neglect to consider what he DIDN’T die for. And we can be sure he DIDN’T die so we can show up once a week in a pretty dress or snazzy suit, impressing others with a façade of pious humility. He didn’t die so we can drive up in our sleek sedan, drop a few coins in the bucket, and return after that miserable half-hour to a life of self-indulgence. He didn’t die so we can stand in a room full of strangers, together mindless robots repeating phrases that mean nothing to us. Believe me, NO man would die for THAT.

What is it that so moves us to go through the mindless motions, week after week, year after year? Why do we settle for infinitely less than what our Savior died for? Why do we live bound to our comfort zones and safe houses when he left his comfort and security behind to suffer and die that we can have LIFE that is truly LIFE? There’s a vast difference between walking dead while awaiting resurrection, and walking dead unaware, desiring for nothing more.

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)