Kirkman, The Road to Woodbury

I really enjoy post-apocalyptic movies and books and such and so I’ve gotten into AMC’s series, The Walking Dead. This has lead me to start buying comic books – for the first time in my life – and I’ve picked up two novels now from my local public library. The Walking Dead: The Road to Woodbury is the second in a trilogy that follows the post-zombie outbreak life of the series’ super villain, The Governor.

This novel follows another band of survivors and how they end up meeting the Governor and staying in Woodbury. The little town is in its beginning stages and starting to set up a lot of the infrastructure and dictatorship laws. It is weird that they seem to have an unlimited supply of gas for their generators and running water for days, but this is still early in the apocalypse, so maybe they are emptying underground tanks from the local Chevron station and slowly emptying the small town’s unusually large water tower.

In total, this book is terrible. Straight terrible. The characters don’t develop, the conflict is imagined, the tension is created out of convenience not plot. At times the book tries to be a story of survival then it takes a sharp turn into existential political philosophy and critique. Then it tries to be emotional and takes a gross turn into erotica. The book has no established beginning and has no relevant ending. It’s like the authors thought up some interesting scenes, wrote them on note cards, shuffled the deck, and made a book.

I got this from the local library and I can’t decide if I should be glad I didn’t pay for it, or upset that my tax dollars did.  Either way, I’m glad the book is written at the level of a first grader because that makes it an easy read and the suffering ends quickly.  Moral of the story…stick to what you are good at – comic books writers can do movies, but not novels.

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You Can’t Find Stukeley Baptist Church

Even if you do a google search, you end up with a map and some random church listing websites. Stukeley Baptist Church, in Richmond, VA is gone. Where you think you will find it, you will instead find Light Community Church, which has recently moved into their 7,400 square footbuilding on 3 acres of land…given to them by Stukeley Baptist.

As a 66 year old church full of older white folks, Stukeley Baptist was failing to reach the increasingly diverse community around their building. Only 20 people were regularly attending on Sunday mornings. This is a perfect storm for a declining church to dwindle and end up with a broken down ministry in a broken down building. The difference in Stukeley Baptist is that they loved their community and wanted them to know Jesus; so, just blindly continuing in their comfortable pews (with plenty of parking spaces!) until the fat savings accounts ran out was not an option. Instead, they became friends with Pastor Kimberly Ridley of Light Community Church, made sure their hearts were in line as churches, and straight up gave them their church building last July.

In a country where we have far too many zombie churches – churches that died a long time ago but they are still wandering around moaning and eating people’s brains (ht:Mark Driscoll) – this is the right option to continue a church’s mission, but in a new way, in a new culture and in a new day. There are piles and piles of money locked up in these zombie churches and in their savings accounts – they did faithful ministry for decades upon decades. Unfortunately, that was decades ago. There is not a resource problem in church planting and reaching people in America – but there is an allocation problem.

How amazing it would be if we heard more stories like this! Churches being churches! Existing for the world, and not for themselves. I’m definitely putting the members of Stukeley Baptist on my list of people I want to hang out with when we all go to heaven.