I am sure you have watched, or at least seen the previews and hype around the T.V. show called “The Walking Dead.” We are actually hooked on the show and watch every episode! A virus has broken out and spread so quickly that it shuts down civilization in a matter of weeks… the Zombie Apocalypse. The virus turns people into the “Walking Dead”—they can walk, but their brains are dead, their bodies are deteriorating, and they have no soul. They are attracted to fire, noise, or whatever is the next distracting thing, and they eat everything that is living. Once bit, you turn into one of them, and then you are off to kill every living thing. Zombies slowly follow after anything and everything they hear or see. They walk around bumping into things, bumping into each other, basically dead and unaware until they find something to devour.
Lisa and I live in Colorado Springs—arguably one of the most beautiful, amazing places on earth! The city also has a lot of promise over it. We are surrounded by military bases where young men and women are being trained to protect and serve the world. Many would tell you they believe Colorado Springs is here to serve and launch a generation of young spiritual warriors that serve the nations. That promise is dead, or at least it seems to be. The dream has been devoured by a religious institution called the Western Church. An institution usually unaware that wanders around trying to eat the dreams of those that have survived and seen the truth. We are marked with jealousy, envy, tribal thinking, (which is very small thinking), and our negative words kill more than we know…
My heart is for the Church. Community, life together, serving one another, fathering, passing on a blessing and anointing, empowering the next generation, and operating in power and humility. I am talking about the church that has turned into a business. A CEO (pastor) that runs programs, has very little influence, and uses people’s talents and gifts to keep the salary coming and the mortgage on a building paid and survives purely for ego and attaining… America, the church, our schools, the workplace, is full of The Walking Dead. People that are following the next “fire,” or “idea,” or “message,” and trying to make everybody, including the rest of the world, just like them. Lost, deteriorating, bored, wandering and wanting everyone to feel the same to justify their state of existence. We have become The Walking Dead.
Rick is the star of the show. He is trying to lead a group of misfits through the Apocalypse and has failed. He has lost his wife and friends and has grown cold and cynical, and he does not have much hope for survival. Rick’s biggest battle is not the walking dead, but the ones who have not been bit and have turned into murderers, rapists, and even to cannibalism. He has no hope that things will ever get better, so he is just pissed off and becoming lost himself.
We talk to people every week that, when asked where they go to Church, they all say the same thing: “Nowhere, really. We have checked a few new places out, but really don’t have a home or a place we go.” Most of these people are, for the first time, experiencing freedom from what they thought was “Holy.” They are on the journey of discovering it’s not about right and wrong or where I go, but a place of finding their faith for the very first time, and that’s really good.
What we have to be careful of is becoming bitter. We have all been hurt, many of us devastated by the Church! But many of us are operating out of our wounds instead of our brokenness—we accuse, blame, and devour our own when it seems it will never change, but it is crucial that we find our true faith, pure grace, and total forgiveness when we are wandering. If we do not, we are cannibals with no other purpose but to destroy. We have to remember that most of the church has not seen, or chooses not to see out of fear or lack of trust. It’s easy to have grace, and we can forgive much more quickly when we find the true living God out here in the world of the zombies.