Friday, December 16, 2011

‘Night of the Living Dead Christian: One Man’s Ferociously Funny Quest to Discover What It Means to Be Truly Transformed’ by Matt Mikalatos – Book Review + Book Giveaway

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One of the funniest Christian authors out there today is Matt Mikalatos. I had the opportunity to read his latest book, ‘Night of the Living Dead Christians: One Man’s Ferociously Funny Quest to Discover What It Means to Be Truly Transformed,’ I grabbed it!

Here is the synopsis of this book:

What does a transformed life actually look like? In his follow-up to the critically acclaimed Imaginary Jesus, Matt Mikalatos tackles this question in an entertaining and thought-provoking way – with MONSTERS!!!! While Christians claim to experience Christ’s resurrection power, we sometimes act like werewolves who can’t control our base desires. Or zombies, experiencing a resurrection that is 90 percent shambling death and 10 percent life. Or vampires, satiating ourselves at the expense of others. But through it all we long to stop being monsters and become truly human – the way Christ intended. We just can’t seem to figure out how.

Night of the Living Dead Christian is the story of Luther, a werewolf on the run, whose inner beast has driven him dangerously close to losing everything that matters. Desperate to conquer his dark side, Luther joins forces with Matt to find someone who can help. Yet their time is running out. A powerful and mysterious man is on their trail, determined to kill the wolf at all costs…

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Night of the Living Dead Christian is a spiritual allegory that boldly explains the monstrous underpinnings of our nature and tackles head-on the question of how we can ever hope to become truly transformed.

Here is the biography of the author:

Matt Mikalatos is the author of Imaginary Jesus. He works with a Christian nonprofit equipping students for overseas missions. He started watching the Saturday morning Monsters Matinee with his father at the age of two and as a result has a natural fear of giant irradiated insects, bloodsucking rocks, and carnivorous dinosaurs. He lives near Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three daughters.

Here is Matt talking about his new book:

This book features a motley crew of characters who are trying to rid the world of monsters of all sorts, including werewolves and vampires. The main character is Luther Martin, with author Matt Mikalatos as the narrator of the tale, as well as another main character. Here is Matt trying to explain the definition of ‘Christian:’

In the end, I realized that being a Christian was hard to define. Sort of like trying to make silver bullets. I had this feeling that it would be easy, but when I actually got down to attempting it, I could get it right. (p. 61)

Luther Martin, who is a werewolf, has rejected Christianity because it did not cure him of his affliction:

And so we return to my most pressing need, the desire for transformation, the burning passion to have a more manageable and less destructive nature. Of course, the Christians say they can help with that. Or God can. But I look at their lives and see far too many zombies. That is to say, they claim to have found a new, invigorating, abundant life, but I see little evidence that it’s anything but idle chatter. They cheat on their income tax and cut corners at work and yell at their children… They’re nice enough, perhaps, but are they truly changed from what they were before? I think not. Not any more than a Hollywood starlet is changed in the hour it takes to coif her hair and slather on her makeup. (p. 95)

That is a convicting paragraph to me!

I love this comparison between vampires and the general population; this is an observation from Matt’s neighbor, Lara, who is actually a vampire herself:

…”You don’t have to suck blood to be a vampire, Matt. It’s a question of selfishness, of putting yourself and your needs ahead of the people around you. I’ll give you an example. Let’s imagine for a minute an industry that’s built around using poor people to provide cheap labor so that the manufacturers can get rich by selling goods to people who are fantastically wealthy. Can you guess which industry I’m referring to?”
“Clothing? Shoes? What are you talking about, sweatshops? I don’t know. Cell phones or batteries or something.”
“So who is the vampire in this story? The manufacturer? The stores that sell the product? You, the consumer? And what about diamonds? Or agriculture? Or the food industry?” (p. 140)

Finally, Matt explains to Luther what following Jesus should really mean:

I wanted to explain to him again that following Jesus didn’t have to mean zombified Christianity, that it could be something with real, vibrant, overflowing life. Not just a list of rules or a mantra of creeds, but something that could actually change him, something that could alter the way he interacted with the human race. (p. 166)

As mentioned, I had the great good fortune to read Matt’s first book, ‘Imaginary Jesus’ (you can read my review here).  It remains, hundreds of books later, one of my favorites since I have been reviewing on my blog. I had high expectations for his second book – and ‘Night of the Living Dead Christian’ lives up to them!! I think this book will measure up to the classic allegories of all time! Matt has described as ‘Think Monty Python meets C.S. Lewis’ – I would tend to agree with that. He shares the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with humor and relevance. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humor – and those who may not have one, but need to get one!

You can download the first chapter here.

This book was published by SaltRiver, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishers, and was provided by them for review and giveaway purposes.


Tyndale House has generously provided me a Free Product Award Certificate for thisinsightful and hilarious book! All you have to do to enter is to follow my blog as either a Google Friend or a NetworkedBlogs Follower; I’d really like to break past 200 and 150 respectively! Please leave a comment to that effect, as well as your email address.

The deadline to enter is Friday, December 30, 2011, at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. The Random Number Generator will choose a winner on Saturday, December 31, 2011, and I will send out an email to that blessed person! Blessings to all of you! 


Michael Mock said...

I'm not going to enter (because I already have a copy), but I would like to second your recommendation: this book is an intriguing look at Christianity, with a good sense of humor and an excellent sense of priority.

Matt Mikalatos said...

Andrea, thanks for the great review. Always a pleasure to hear from you!

And Michael... hey, thanks for the second!

Jen said...

I started following your blog! Great review. I hope I win :)

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