Category Archives: TV

That Bible verse in Fear the Walking Dead

Photo from AMC
Photo from AMC

A colleague asked me last week about the Bible verse in Fear the Walking Dead.

She and I regularly have Monday debriefings about Fear the Walking Dead—particularly if she finds any religious symbolism or content. I have to admit I really dropped the ball on last Sunday night’s episode (9/20/15). My niece and my colleague both asked me about the Bible verse that showed up in that one, and my response was, “Ummm….”

I did notice there was a Bible verse on a wall, but beyond that, it sort of zipped over my head. In my defense, I was very tired from a long road trip that day so wasn’t retaining things very well. Still, as I realized later, the verse showed up not just once in the episode, but twice—meaning the writers really wanted us to notice it.

So I looked online to refresh myself. The verse in question was Revelation 21:4:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV Bible from BibleGateway.com)

Now, one tricky problem for me when my colleague asks me for the “Christian” meaning of things in TV shows (she’s hoping for insight on where the writers are going with the plot) is that show writers may not be using or interpreting things the same way we would in church.

Here’s an example I found on a website called MoviePilot interpreting Revelation 21:4 in that FTWD episode: “Yeah that all seems pretty apt to me. No death, sorrow, crying and pain? These are all things that people no longer have after being turned into walkers. And ‘for the former things are passed away’ certainly seems to reflect how the world as the characters knew it is gone, this is a whole new way of life now.”

I felt like screaming, “No, no, nooooooo!!!!!!”

This reminds me of the scene in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry reads the verse on his parents’ headstone that reads, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26). Harry is upset this is written on his parents’ headstone because he interprets this as a Death-Eaterish idea of trying to live forever on Earth and avoid death. But Hermione reassures him that the verse is talking about living beyond death…the Christian concept of eternal life, in other words.

In the same way, the Revelation verse from Fear the Walking Dead is most assuredly NOT about settling for some earthly existence such as we have now…it’s not about rotting bodies shambling around with no personalities or minds, no way of relating to God, no emotions at all. That is NOT the new order of things that God offers us.

It’s always best not to take one Bible verse out of context, and even just expanding out a paragraph or so tells us that (as in the verse that Harry and Hermione discussed), the Revelation verses are talking about a very different eternity:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21: 1-4, NIV, from https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=revelation+21&version=NIV )

 Life on this Earth—with or without a zombie apocalypse—is hard.  And in many parts of the world, I have no doubt that it’s so difficult, the folks might as well be in a zombie apocalypse.  In Christianity, we are always asked to hold onto the promise that this Earth and its decay are not all there is. Like Harry Potter, we are promised victory—over decay, over death…even over zombies.

 

 

 

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Fear the Walking Dead…and a Writing Dilemma

Fear the Walking Dead writing
Photo from www.amc.com

 

“Would you believe I’m watching Fear the Walking Dead?!”

“WHAT?!”

That was a text exchange last night between my niece and me—the niece who has been trying unsuccessfully to get me hooked on The Walking Dead for years. She’s sat me down and shown me a few episodes on several occasions, but even though I enjoyed them sell enough, I haven’t gotten hooked enough to watch the show voluntarily, on my own.

Of course, partly that’s because I have a very low tolerance for gore, but we’ll leave that out of the equation for now.

My niece assumed I was watching last night because she had told me the actor who played the teen Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was going to be in it. That wasn’t the reason—I had actually forgotten—but wow, Frank Dillane was just as amazing as Nick as he was as a creepy future young Voldemort.

Actually, I was watching because of what I missed in the original Walking Dead series…how we got here.

I think I’ve mentioned before my absolute favorite kind of suspense. I love the slow build, the mystery, the characters’ discovery of all the weirdness and putting two and two together. In the original Walking Dead, Rick is shot, wakes up in the hospital, and the world has completely changed. We miss the mystery, the discovery, the build-up.

My favorite scene in Fear the Walking Dead was when Madison and Travis were driving on the freeway, discussing what was consuming their lives: the son’s drug problem. Life was going on as usual for them, even though we know it isn’t usual at all. Suddenly, traffic slows and stops. They’re still wrapped up in their son’s problem. We hear sirens. Lots of sirens. We see lights from helicopters. They fret about their son. My heart is beating—I know that something BAD is going down, that civilization could be collapsing right there on that freeway. Suddenly there are gunshots. Now they start to get it. They forget about Nick’s problems long enough to wonder what’s going on. Their attention has changed. Life is changing.

Very powerfully written…at least to me.

Which brings me to my quandary as a writer. I was texting with my niece as I watched, and I told her I was loving the pace and the story—so I bet it was way too slow for usual WD fans. Sure enough, this morning I’m hearing a lot of bad reviews and disappointment with the show, for the very reasons I liked it.

I have noticed before that the books and movies I want to emulate, that have a great effect on me, aren’t necessarily the ones that are most popular, or even hailed as the best written. Often, the most popular works, the ones that sell well and excite everyone else, leave me cold.

I realized awhile back that I had spent years paying for writers’ conferences, edits and critiques and classes that were trying to teach me to write in a way that I wouldn’t enjoy reading, myself. Which helped explain why writing was becoming a chore.

I decided to ditch that pursuit and go back to trying to write the books that I myself would like to read. And yes, trying to identify that niche market is sometimes tough. But writing is more fun. I aim for a “what-the-heck” mystery on every page, especially in a suspense like Jordan’s Shadow. Fun stuff!

Now, to find readers who enjoy what I do!

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