It’s my habit to drive to the neighborhood Barnes and Noble and drink a venti Starbucks coffee while I work on my laptop. I could write at home, but writing entails a certain amount of pausing to think, and we all know that nature abhors a vacuum. Too often that “pause” time becomes filled with the household chores that need doing. Or I won’t write at all for an hour or more of good mental time because I’m involved in knocking out chores. Consequently, I like to go somewhere---specifically, the bookstore with its café---and write. Somehow the distraction of browsing in a bookstore isn’t as defeating to my work as the dreaded (and therefore finished-so-I-don’t-have-to-think-about-it) laundry and dish-washing
I did find a book at a display table yesterday, Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide (New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003), and passed some time leafing through it. It‘s a thick book! I learned from amazon.com that the author is the son of Mel Brooks, and the family sense of humor has clearly been passed to the new generation. What a funny book! It‘s funny in its earnestness about how one can survive zombies: what to do and what not to do, how to defend yourself, how to prepare yourself beforehand (for instance, exercising regularly so you can run quickly), and so on. I thought--not intending to be mean or critical--that a few of church-ministry/volunteerism books I’ve read over the years unfortunately have a similar, deadpan style of certainty that these tips contained in the book will work.
I checked to see if the book had any advice for churchgoers. Sure enough, on pages 81-82, Brooks cautioned that churches (and other places of worship) are not necessarily safe places to go in a zombie attack. Although many churches have heavy furniture that can be used to barricade doors, they are also places where many people (hoping that faith and prayer will help them) seek shelter from zombies. The zombies, in turn, will sense that many, many potential meals await at the house of worship, and so a church will certainly be attacked relentlessly by the undead. A better strategy is to gather a small group of people, suitably armed, who can protect each other while staying on the move.
So there you go. If zombies arise in St. Louis, I’ve good advice. And not just St. Louis! Zombie preparedness might be a topic you'd want to raise at your next parish board or council meeting...