Halloween and the Werewolf Within
I snuggled up close to my daughter as we each cracked open our brand-new books, ready for some quiet reading time. It lasted about 30 seconds.
"Listen," Greta said. "You'll love this." She launched into the description the narrator—a 10-year-old boy named Zach—gave of himself:
And I guess I've always been sort of interested in weird stuff. Stuff like werewolves and vampires and zombies and houses where you go into the bathroom and turn on the faucet and out comes blood. Stuff like that.
"He's just like you, Mama!"
My children know me well. Indeed, I share Zach's interest in weird stuff. Not so much the blood out of the faucet, but the monsters and spooky houses? Yes. Love it. At least in stories. In fact, I've written about my love of the "ooky-spooky" here at Her.meneutics, and have defended my love of Halloween and all the accompanying creepiness as things that actually draw me closer to God.
So you can imagine my delight discovering that not one but two new books—Night of the Living Dead Christians: One Man's Ferociously Funny Quest to Discover What It Means to Be Truly Transformed (Tyndale House) by Matt Mikalatos, and The Zombie Killers Handbook: Slaying the Living Dead Within (Thomas Nelson) by Jeff Kinley—were hitting the shelves this month, and also propose that monsters can play a key role in our spiritual development.
In Night of the Living Dead Christians, Mikalatos—a Portland-based speaker, writer, and Cru staff member—takes readers on a fictitious journey through days in the life of narrator Matt and his troubled friend and neighbor, Luther the Werewolf. In this funny, campy quest to rid Luther of his wolfiness (without out-and-out killing him, the way yet another man wants to do), Matt discovers a neighborhood and church full of other monsters, including out-of-control, life-sucking vampires and believe-whatever, brain-dead zombies.
In The Christian Zombie Killers Handbook, Kinley—pastor and founder of Main Thing Ministries in Little Rock—mixes fiction with nonfiction to point out the "zombies" in our lives. Instead of using zombies as "brain-dead" churchgoers, as they are in Mikalatos's book, Kinley uses zombies to symbolize the sin that eats us alive. Kinley intersperses didactic chapters—explaining the power of sin as well as the need to confront it—with the gory tale of Ben Forman and his family's quest to stop a global zombie epidemic. The book's target audience is teenagers, so it should not surprise that I—someone two decades beyond teenage-dom—related to and enjoyed it less than Mikalatos's book.