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Friday, August 17, 2012

"Undead" (Clay Morgan)

TITLE: Undead: Revived, Resuscitated, and Reborn
AUTHOR: Clay Morgan
PUBLISHER: Abingdon Publishers, 2012, (208 pages).

This book is not so much about death and dying, but life and living. The title is provocative. Do not let the dark and sinister looking book cover deceive you. It is very much about declaring the hope and joy we can have in Christ. Morgan reminds me of a kind of living that appears more dead than alive. Like living purposeless, and living without a sense of hope. There is also a kind of dying that appears more alive than dead. This is living with a purpose and with full of hopefulness. This is exactly the life that Christ has promised to all who believe and follow Him.

Beginning with "The Living Dead," Morgan takes a wry sneer at some of the cultural depictions of death through movies, cartoons, and stories that look more like a humourous literary scarecrow. More importantly, he notices that our world tends to be generally afraid of death. He makes an observation that most people have "zombies" in them, so self-seeking that they fail to see life beyond themselves. He brings out the reality of eternal life and eternal death, through stories from our ancestors, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, and other ancient peoples of the world. In fact, the topic of death is so popular that it is constantly being talked about through the generations. The true undead are people who are brave and uncompromising about truth. People like Gandhi, Martin Luther Jr, and Jesus, whose unwavering focus on truth helps them live powerful lives. The key point Morgan asks is this: Do we want to live well, or do we simply want to exist?

Morgan highlights some biblical stories that deal with death and dying. He even refers to Ezekiel 37:1-10 as a "zombie psalm." Yet, death meets its match through the revival narrative, like the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings, and how Elisha manages to resurrect the dead with the help of God. Morgan makes a case for the existence of miracles, and how God can continue to do miracles today. Think about that. If God is the Only One Sovereign over both life and death, is He not then worthy of our worship? The author is quick to acknowledge that death and dying is a fearful thing among mortal people. He does this well with constant references to the Giver of Life, and how God continues to manifest His presence through hope, faith, and love. The outcasts are accepted. The dead is resurrected. Hopelessness turns to hopefulness.

Jesus is Ruler. Jesus is Friend. Jesus is Life. Jesus is Savior. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No vampires can match the Power of the Cross. The Resurrection proclaims that death has lost its sting. Morgan also deals with the issue of death and dying through his personal experience with his grandmother who died of cancer. Looking at the face of death is a terrible experience. Looking at someone you love, having to go through pain, suffering, and death can be even more painful.

Morgan makes several insightful comments about living. He notices that children are easily victimized by LSD: Lost, Strangers, and Darkness. Adults are fearful of loneliness. Self-deception and worthlessness leads to despair.

My personal take away from the reading of this book is this. Each of us ought to learn to live well and to die well. If we are prepared to die at any time, let our present lives reflect that. Otherwise, we will easily become victims of the fear of death. We succumb to the paralysis of the unknown. We live weak lives under the falsehood of fear. If death is certain, Jesus shows us that the resurrection and the life is even more certain. We are all going to die by default. Yet, Jesus has shown us that we need not be utterly helpless. We have Jesus. There is no shame in dying, only pity when we fail to live well. If this book can wake any of us up from a meaningless life, of a life of slumber and mere existing, to point us to the Giver of Hope and Life, it will be worth the price of the book. The author ends the book with an invitation.

"Life and death have both been set before you. The choice is yours. Choose life now." (Clay Morgan)

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Abingdon Publishers and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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