I will freely admit that when I first heard of The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook, I presumed it would be along the lines of the Zombie Survival Guide or perhaps a tongue in cheek guide like the ones created by Scott Kenemore, such as “The Zen of Zombie.” So even after I had read a few pages into the book, I was still waiting for the punch line or the snarkiness to come out. I guess that despite expecting something different initially, I can’t say I’m surprised that a Christian minister has embraced the concept of zombies in an effort to use the rotting buggers as a euphemism for original sin. The proposal here is that each of us has an inner zombie-an evil that dwells inside that is genetically encoded into our DNA. It isn’t something we can get rid of, because it’s been there since Adam and Eve ate the apple. This zombie makes us pull away from God-we are driven to pull away because of the lusts and desires that we are always battling with inside. The zombie is our dark passenger that rides with us everywhere we go, and is always urging us to step away from the light and the promises for salvation that Jesus offers.
In tandem with the extended sermon that Jeff Kinley serves up, he gives us the story of Ben, who lives in an alternate universe filled with real zombies. They crop up every so often, killing the innocent, before they are put down by the police or other authorized execution squads. Ben’s story is doled out in bits and pieces, between each chapter of the sermon, and it really doesn’t go anywhere. It might have been more interesting had it come to some sort of conclusion that allowed it to be a stand alone tale, but since its whole purpose is to create parables for each individual chapter of the book, it is sorely lacking.
I don’t think it would be fair for me to judge this book based on my misplaced expectations when I first opened it up. I think it better that I stress something to anyone who has not yet read the book: this book is a sermon that strives to make you accept that if you are a Christian, you are undeniably weak and fallible, but that Jesus loves you like that, and expects you to be strong, and resist the temptations put to you by your inner zombie which manipulates and twists you into wanting to serve your own needs above all else. It is that simple. The author uses the increased popularity of zombies in our society to drive home this point. Jeff Kinley recognizes that zombies, since they first appeared in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, have been used as symbols in one form or fashion both in books and on the big screen. We are the zombies-drones who robotically go about our routine, driven by lust and greed and undeniable urges to do evil. With that said, I don’t necessarily buy into the author’s analogy here. I think vampires would be a more apt representation of our dark, greedy, evil side. Because while zombies do represent undeniable urges in us, they are mindless feeding machines that (for the most part, in most movies and literature) are not evil, but just forces of nature. Evil requires thought, and zombies do not have thoughts. They just do what they are designed to do. If each of us had an inner zombie, I seriously doubt we could resist its urges, since they are not based on any sort of debate on whether we should be good or bad people. Zombies just do what they do, with no compunction and no guilt. Again, I would propose that the vampire-tormented by its desire to drink blood and to kill, while at the same time corrupting others as it does so, is more of an apt metaphor for original sin. Doing battle with our inner vampire makes more sense to me.
This was not a book for me, thought I might find it interesting to discuss the concept of the inner zombie with the author, as well as zombies in general. This is a book that can and will find the right audience, though I suspect that quite a few people will never be attracted to its message. Even so, for the right person, this book has a very compelling message.
You can find the The Christian Zombie Killer’s Handbook here: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Zombie-Killers-Handbook-Slaying/dp/1595554386/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326852129&sr=1-1