So on Monday I posted a reviewish blog on the movie Warm Bodies...which I loved...which is, yes, a zombie movie. And also a rom-com...one of the best in years, in my Roger Eberty opinion.
I noted in that post all the things I loved about this movie--the humor, the romance, the story--but it's the metaphor of the movie that stuck with me the longest.
ALERT: Plot-wise I'm not going to divulge anything in today's blog you couldn't already figure out by watching the trailer for the movie. BUT if you haven't seen it and you plan to, I'll totally still be your friend if you quit reading now.
So anyway, I mentioned on Monday that there is a palpable sense of longing all through Warm Bodies. R, the main zombie in the film, wants to be different. He's tired of being lost and lonely and unable to express himself. And we see him gradually change throughout the movie as he befriends Julie.
And like the trailer says, soon their relationship starts impacting all the zombies. (Again, that's pretty clear from the trailer, so I'm not playing spoiler queen.)
The spiritual metaphor in Warm Bodies is clear (and wonderfully unpretentious!)--love and its ability to bring "zombies" to life. As a Christian, I believe God's love is what truly makes us alive. It's what flips that spiritual switch in our souls--from dead to undead. (Author Clay Morgan has a fabulous book on this--Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn.)
Here's the cool thing, though--and this didn't hit me until a few days after seeing the movie: It's not just the corpses who come alive in Warm Bodies.
It's the humans, too, the ones whose hearts are already beating at the beginning of the movie.
When the movie opens, the humans we're introduced to--Julie and her friends--they're living a kind of worn down existence. They're walled up in a city, caught in a pattern of hiding and remembering what life used to be like with temporary spurts of zombie-killing. Julie, especially, is less than convinced of the purpose in her life.
But when R befriends her and later, when she agrees to help him, she goes through a transformation of her own. It's internal--her eyes and skin don't change--but it's just as poignant. By befriending and learning to love the formerly unlovable, she comes alive in a new way. She finds new purpose...and a hope that life can be different.
And I can't stop thinking, what if that's us?
If we know Christ, perhaps we're not living as zombies anymore...but are we sometimes living like the humans in Warm Bodies? Dispassionate, unconvinced of our purpose, sometimes even caught in destructive patterns? Sometimes just...blah.
And what if combatting those spiritually listless seasons is as simple as actively, even sacrificially, loving others? Maybe, especially, loving the people the world has labeled unlovable?
In fact, to take the metaphor further, I think as Christians it can be tempting to live like the humans in Warm Bodies--insulated from the deadness around us, only emerging long enough to fight with a culture we don't always like.
Maybe that's going too far, and I certainly don't want to stereotype...but it's something to think about. Because a walled-in life might be safe, but it's not abundant. It's not living out "Go ye into all the world and make disciples." It's not loving the way Christ loved.
In the end, it all comes back to love, doesn't it? God's love breathing life into us...that love actively and intentionally extended through us to others...and in turn, making all of us more fully alive.*
So tell me, what do you think? Does the metaphor work for you? How do we actively love each other?
*And here is where I really, really want to talk about the closing scenes of Warm Bodies and how the imagery is just so perfect for everything I've just rambled about. But I'm still attempting the spoiler-free thing. So, just go see the movie, okay? :)