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The Zombie Mission Field: CCSCF plans for 2015 conference

January 19, 2015 No Comment

CCSCF-2015-webEDMONTON – The zombie mission field is all around us and is “ripe for the harvest,” says Rev. Dr. Bill Anderson, Director of the Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith (CCSCF). But there are also “zombie missionaries”—Christians who are mindlessly wandering around in endless missionary activity yet not realizing the opportunities that are right in front of them. Or as Kevin Sherwood puts it in his song Abracadavre: “They [zombies] show me that we are the same.”

Sherwood is the composer of the zombie music for the acclaimed video game series Call of Duty. He is also the keynote speaker at the CCSCF’s 2015 conference on Religion and Pop Culture, to be held May 1-2 at Concordia University College of Alberta (CUCA) in Edmonton.

This year’s conference is expected to be quite different from the last three conferences hosted by the CCSCF; organizers expect a number of non-Christians to be in attendance because of the subject matter and the draw of Kevin Sherwood from the gaming world. A choral performance of Sherwood’s music will be a precursor to the conference on April 30 in CUCA’s Auditorium, with Elena Siegman and Malukah serving as principle singers.

“Many of the same themes in zombie culture originate in the Garden of Eden and subsequent fallout,” Dr. Anderson explained. “In some ways zombies are an expression of Original Sin. They represent our deepest fears and insecurities about life and death. They picture the fear of being trapped in ceaseless activity with all our pain and suffering. They are meaninglessness and hopelessness. In short, zombies are a dead end. There is no Gospel of Zombies.”

Organizers of this year’s event picture the concert as Law and the following CCSCF conference as Gospel—providing a window into mission opportunities in a pop-culture context. “While Christianity may be in steep decline in Canada, Canadians demonstrate a deep interest in religious ideas (however false and idolatrous), Dr. Anderson noted. “The mission field in Canada is ripe with zombies—who know they’re lost, messed up and in need of salvation—but are open to something more. They are open to something beyond 9-5, consumerism, and being endlessly busy with meaningless activities and entertainment.”

“Even as Christians, we are ‘zombies,’” Dr. Anderson continued. “But the difference between us and the other zombies is that we have experienced God’s grace and have been raised from the (spiritually) dead by being ‘born from above.’ We have experienced the One who came to us in our baptism and saved us—who continues to commune with us in His body and blood—which are real food and drink (John 6:55) leading unto eternal life. We have been redeemed from the curse of sin, but while we live in this body and in this sinful world, we are tempted to remain zombies. Unlike zombies, though, we have the sure promise of a glorious resurrection.”

The CCSCF invites Lutheran Church–Canada members to come and explore zombies and other pop-culture subjects like shopping, technology, video games, movies, TV, comic books and tattoos from a Christian perspective. They especially encourage congregations to send their youth groups, young people who are constantly exposed to zombies in the pop-culture around them. You can get tickets for the concert at www.zombiegig.ca. For more information on the conference visit www.canscf.ca. Register online at www.onlineservices.concordia.ab.ca/ops_new/ccscf/form.php.

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Rev. Dr. Bill Anderson is Professor of Religious Studies at Concordia University College of Alberta and the Director of the Canadian Centre for Scholarship and the Christian Faith.

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