No, this is not about Halloween. Actually, just the opposite. We are looking at a publication put together with a lot of thought and first-hand experience at watching various Christian parishes go under due to a lack of the life and luster that Christian love could have (and should have) brought to their parish doors.
Welcome to the blog tour for Zombie Church by Tyler Edwards!
About Zombie Church:
A creative, entertaining approach to resurrecting the undead church.There is something missing in the church today. Stuck in a rut of routines and rituals, the church is caught up in doing what it is “supposed to do” but is lacking the true essence of what it is supposed to provide: life. Real faith–and a real relationship with Jesus–is not about playing by the rules, attending services, and praying before meals. Real faith is more than religionBelieving there is a way to breathe life back into the church, Tyler Edwards adopts a contemporary and entertaining metaphor–zombies–to highlight and challenge the problematic attitude of today’s believers.
Written for the discouraged, disenfranchised, and anyone unsatisfied with their same-old church routine, Zombie Church challenges readers to turn away from hollow religious practices, which characterize “zombie Christianity,” and turn toward a radical relationship with Jesus.
While other books have addressed legalism in the church, this is the only book that effectively capitalizes on a popular entertainment genre in order to diagnose and correct the problem. Realizing that even his own church is part of that problem, Edwards has written an accessible and often humorous book that will help believers change the Spirit-draining (or life-draining) habits that stop them from achieving a full, fulfilling life in Christ. Order a copy here.
About Tyler Edwards:
Tyler Edwards is the lead pastor at Cornerstone Christian Church in Joplin, Missouri, where he works to help people learn how to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, and look like Jesus—so they carry out the mission of Jesus to the world. He graduated from Ozark Christian College with bachelor’s degrees in both Biblical Literature and Christian Ministry. He has written articles for Lookout Magazine, spoken at various campus ministry events in Missouri, and served overseas in Mbale, Uganda.
Tyler loves cheesy horror films. He is particularly fond of movies like Dawn of the Dead, The Signal, and 28 Days Later, where zombies run wild and threaten to infect an entire town. Connect with Tyler on Facebook.
You can see what others have to say about the book by checking out the Blog Tour Schedule at http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13424384.
The publisher is sponsoring a $50 Amazon.com giveaway open to all of us.
About the Giveaway!
To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about Zombie Church or share about it on Facebook!
If you tweet we’ll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). Easy.
Here are some of my thoughts:
First of all, I do need to tell you that FTC regulations require bloggers to disclose whether or not they have been given free products in exchange for a review. They sent me the book for free. That, however, does not mean the author gets off easily!
First of all, I love the title! “Oh I gotta read that!” As you read, there are a lot of phrases in this little book that start you thinking, “Yep. Uh huh.” There are also a few sweeping generalizations that I feel need to be addressed. I’ll use a few quotes to explain all of this a bit better.
The issue? “What is a Zombie church?
“A Zombie church is a church that goes through the motions. It may behave like a healthy, living church, but the Zombie church has lost its connection to life. The people have the name of Jesus. They sing praise to Him. But it has been a long time since they really lived their lives for Him.”
The author is quick to admit his own failings so we have to respect him for that. He says, “Perhaps a better title for this book would have been Confessions of a Zombie Pastor. I was missing my connection to the source of life, and so I wasn’t leading anyone else to it.”
Those are pretty strong words. He also admits to a feeling, or an understanding, of the sense of hopelessness in seeing this “disease” and having a strong desire to find a “path to healing this condition.” The Introduction to this book is a marvel in its own right. The author almost pulls you into his quest.
“As we look at the problems facing the church, the easiest solution does seem to be to walk away. But simply walking away from the church because she is broken is not what God would have us do. The church is Christ’s bride, and we are Christ’s followers; shouldn’t we then fight for the bride of our Lord?”
Okay, I’m listening. But, of all things, why would he have chosen zombies? The author could see a resemblance — “Neither dead nor alive, they are beings trapped in a mindless existence. Zombies do not produce anything. They do not accomplish anything. All they do is wander around aimlessly, consuming everything in their path (including non-zombies). They are a corrupt and destructive force that taints all they come in contact with. Zombies act like they are alive, but they are dead. They just don’t know it yet.“
It is kind of humorous but, “They just don’t know it yet?” That is the saddest part! These “zombies” have mentally cut themselves off from the Body of Christ, like a leaf from a branch. They look alive but, alas, they are not and soon they will wither. This is the “disease” that Edwards is looking to heal. Is this book the healing? The vaccination? Perhaps it is more like a vat of ice water to wake up the complacent Christian and break the Zombie fever!
Edwards makes a lot of good points and there are a lot of great quotes to be had from this book. There are some that you nod your head in agreement: “God is cool. No matter how many times we get it wrong, He is still right there to offer us life. Who else does that? Who else offers such perfect love and forgiveness to such undeserving people?”
Edwards addresses many of the failings we all seem to have from time to time. He talks about how people do what’s safe and what’s easy, and, ultimately, what’s politically correct.
“We can try to make religion safe by hiding in the woods, but that only makes us undead; to truly live we must face God’s expectations of faith and courage regardless of personal consequences. Our effort to preserve our life, to hide, is sometimes the very act that endangers it.”
I like this one:
“When we become more concerned about offending people than about transforming people, we have lost what it means to be Christian. Too much focus on comfort or conformity makes us spiritually sterile.
As we tame new generations of Christians, we make more copies of the same problem. The call of God is to a fanatical mission that requires fanatic devotion. When you answer the call of God, you answer to no man. God’s call is not to enslave you with laws and regulations but to send you out like an arsonist to a flammable world. When we make it something less, we take God out of it.”
This is more strong language that is not all that “politically correct” but, in this case, that is a good thing! I like the idea of being a zealot, for sure. BUT, and this is a big but, we have to be kind, loving, and not too over-zealous about it. Edwards points out that, “Few people are crueler than a Christian who disagrees with your theology.” Ever visit an online, Christian chat site? Oh my! “Some of the most belligerent people carry extreme views on nonessential biblical issues, and if you even hint at disagreeing with them, they would all but try to revoke your Christian privileges and stamp you with the mark of the beast.” I chuckled at that last remark but it is, unfortunately, so true. I have seen exactly what he is talking about here.
Then he talks about those who try to make deals with the Almighty.
“God, if You will fix this mess I made, I will pray more.” I have tried to make my faith a spiritual investment where I get as much out of it as I can while putting in as little as possible. Ever done That? This attitude degrades the church. Oftentimes we show up looking for what we get, not what we have to give up.”
There are so many topics that Tyler Edwards touches on which actually relate to our personal relationship with God. Then he talks about our relationships with each other: “It is almost as if everyone glares at you for “intruding” into their perfect setting. There may have been life there once, but now it is gone.” How cold and/or distant are we with other members, and most of all, with new visitors who are searching and seeking a relationship with God?
This book definitely makes you think. It may not all relate to you, but I can guarantee some of it will!
I liked this one: “God is not getting His list of who will be saved from church rosters.”
There are some quotes that sum up the content of this book quite nicely: “Living Christians feed on the life that Jesus offers while zombies feed on rules and rituals.” Okay that could be a reference to those who just “go through the motions.”
Sometimes what he writes does become problematic. Further on in the book Edwards says, “They expect to find Him in the laws and traditions. They search for Him in routines and theological debates. They seek the living among the dead.” A statement like that one is a sweeping generalization and a definite overstatement. I like structure and I like knowing what is expected of me. I also like rules that prevent chaos. Tradition is a wonderful thing and I would never want to be without it. I’m just saying.
Perhaps we all need to check for zombies from time to time. We are all prone to behaving like spoiled children, especially when we get tired. Nobody can do everything and we can often suffer from over-zealous burnout! At some point, like a child, you stomp your feet and say, “I’m not doing it.” But, like a family, there is always someone who will — someone who will do what needs to be done to support and nurture the community. Let them. Maybe they will do it better. That is family life, that is a living Church!
All in all, this is a good book. Any Christian will gain a lot from Mr. Edward’s thoughts and ideas. My chosen quotes just skimmed the surface! In fact, I marked a lot of others that had me thinking but they would have taken way too long. You need to read it!