Of Zombies, Vampires & Vacation Bible School

What, to my surprise, was the topic of conversation among the second and third graders during snack time at Vacation Bible this year? The angelic little darlings were talking about zombies and vampires! Then they proceeded to get up from their snacks and act out being zombies with great enthusiasm. At one point one of the not-too-old helpers asked the kids, “What happened to Dora the Explorer?”

It amazes me that in our age of scientific dominance our entertainment choices often feature creatures from pre-Enlightenment medieval times. Yet, as one theologian put it in an article recently, this may not be all bad for historic Christianity.

Here are his thoughts on the matter:

“It is interesting to hear how, in the popular imagination, zombies and vampires are overcome. The scientific and rational world quickly gets stripped away and the superstitions of the Middle Ages come roaring back: crucifixes, incantations, magic rituals, potions, and prayer. Vampires succumb to holy water, crucifixes, and a wooden stake (the cross!) to the heart. Zombies are susceptible to fire and water. Here the church must learn that what it is often eager to throw away or hide is what the world often secretly yearns for: ancient truth, supernatural power disclosed in the service of the good, concrete salvation that does not evaporate with the whim and fads of time. The Sacraments, rich and authentic liturgy, the use of the arts and mystery and ritual all fit the imagination of people haunted by the supernatural and by dark forces they do not understand.” Paul Gregory Alms, Pastor, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Catabwa, North Carolina

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