As I started reading Matt Mikalatos’ “Night of the Living Dead Christian”, my first reaction was “Okay that was weird”, and then I read a little bit further and found I couldn’t put the book down. Hmmm, that happened with Mikalatos’ other book *Imaginary Jesus* too.
Although I never had an opportunity to read a book quite like this in a systematic theology class in Seminary, this book does address the issue of soteriology: the study of the doctrine of salvation. You may not recognize it as theology at first, but in this age of the 30 second sound bite, and all sorts of horror movies, (and love stories dealing with werewolves and vampires) this book speaks to all of us Christian or pre-believer, about what salvation looks like.
In asking the question “what does it mean to be truly transformed?” the author invites us to look at the monsters within. And by the way, we spend a lot of time learning and cultivating bad habits, sometimes it takes a while to stop them from managing our lives. Mikalatos comically uses werewolves, vampires, and zombies as metaphor for the sinfulness that we still carry with us, and that rears its ugly head on occasion, no matter how hard we try to keep it buried, or to run or hide from it.
You may know some of the friendly monsters we meet in this book, the zombies that rally around the idea that Jesus wants our brains and not our hearts; the werewolf with the buttons that set him off, the vampires who are selfishly out for blood, and even the monster killer, convinced that monsters can never change or be changed. There’s a pastor who still has issues, and the main character, Matt Mikalatos (where have I heard that name before?) is a Christian who still has some growing to do. Maybe you’ve even gotten caught up in some of the conflict between the dark and light sides in your community, your church, your family or your life.
This book offers glimpses of the church, and allows us to poke some gentle fun at the things we do in the name of Jesus. Sometimes we get it right for the wrong reasons; sometimes we have the right reason, and get it wrong anyway. And sometimes we’re lucky enough to experience so much grace that we have to try to spread the message, whether we realize or not that we don’t have all the answers. And some days all any of us can say is “maybe we should go to church”.
You’ll probably end up crying over this book, sometimes when you see grace, love and transformation, and other times because you’ll be laughing so hard that you can’t stop the tears.
Check out this video clip of the author discussing his book: http://www.blogger.com/goog_118248295
Check out Matt here: http://mattmikalatos.com/ and check out the publisher here: http://www.tyndale.com/
By the way, I got a copy of the book for agreeing to write this review, and Matt and the nice folks at Tyndale let me have another copy to give to one of you. Leave a comment by 12/22/2011 to be considered for the random giveaway. (It helps if you leave some contact info so I can contact the winner – and I promise I won’t send monsters to your house if you don’t like my review.)