Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Living Dead

Ever ponder the depth of vampire lore? Why are we so fascinated and intrigued by it? Of course there are many who would simply dismiss the fascination as a result of twisted sexual desire but I think there's something more to it than that. For starters, I think they provide an amazing commentary on our society.

In Charlaine Harris' series (made popular by the show True Blood on HBO), vampires are a part of regular society. They are a reality. The reactions of the human beings are varied and in some cases, quite extreme. Some humans accept the vampires after some initial skepticism. Sookie dates the vampire, Bill. But another group burns down a house while the vampires are asleep in their coffins inside. Another group is obsessed with the vampires and enjoys being their "blood donors."

Is this an analogy for how we accept the bizarre, strange, abnormal things in our world? How much do we scorn or accept what is different or other in our reality? I still encounter people here in Montana and beyond who struggle with the ordination of women and GLBTQ persons. They quote scripture to rationalize or justify their hatred and closed doors. And personally, I find I am most challenged by working in the dementia care unit where most "normal" social skills and cues are out the door, literally.

I think we are characterized, both as humans and Christians, by how we encounter "the other" in whatever world we live in. Do we accept without clarification or question? Burn houses? Go crazy?

If vampire folklore is any indication, we do a little bit of it all.

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