I know what you’re thinking. Christians…and zombie killers? How much more oxymoronic can you get?
But I like mindbenders, and the title of this book alone was enough to intrigue me. Still, I wasn’t expecting much more than a thrill and maybe a laugh.
This is not another half-hearted attempt to mishmash some cliches from popular culture with lukewarm Christian theology, which I suspected it might be as I leafed through the first few pages. Written in the style of The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks, The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook is a blend of fiction infused with essay-style segments in between chapters, which sometimes tempts the reader to skip ahead to find out what happens next when Kinley ends a section at a particularly agonizing moment.
And yes, the narrative side is somewhat lacking–the characters are a little flat and some of the descriptions of the zombie attacks become repetitive–but what redeems the book is Kinley’s theological discourses and his ability to move between his apocalyptic drama and the premises he seeks to defend.
The opening pages depict the main character, Ben Forman, discovering a zombie’s victim–bloody and brainless. Shortly afterward, we are given a lengthy but chilling history of zombies and the deadly Z-38 virus that causes it with a Biblical timeline in the background, melding into a depiction of the fallout after sin’s curse and the entrance of evil into our planet. The attacks in the small town Ben lives in come closer and become more personal as the story grows ever nearer to zombie apocalypse. Throughout, Kinley weaves in the treacherous reality we all face–maybe not recognizable zombies, but a form of zombies nonetheless. And occasionally, he injects a bit of humor into the grimness.
Overall, this book was well-worth reading. The author’s insights were valuable and thought-provoking, and lend a fresh perspective on society’s zombie craze.
“When your identity is found through being accepted by others, you will never be able to understand who you really are. You won’t be able to discover the person God meant for you to become because you are constantly morphing into someone else, blending into the environment in order to be accepted. [….] God doesn’t want you to conform to some cookie-cutter Christian image. There’s only one character image you should ever seek.” (p. 113-114)
“Perhaps the freedom we’re all looking for isn’t freedom to do what we want, but rather freedom from the con artist inside.” (p. 81)
“And though we commit individual ‘sins,’ sin itself is the evil principle that inherently dwells within us. It’s more than some invisible disease we’ve acquired or a spiritual condition. It’s actually a part of who we are. Inseparably intertwined in our spiritual DNA. It’s as much a part of us as our gender or skin color, illegitimately encoded in us the moment our first parents bit into that fruit.” (p. 31)
“Until you look in that dungeon soul mirror and see the grotesque image staring back, you will never really understand what Jesus did for you. You might want to go back and reread that last sentence again. To rappel down to that pit of your heart is the best field trip you could ever take.” (p. 97)
“This is your Jesus. Your conquering Hero. Your zombie-killer.” (p. 242)
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