Monday, March 26, 2012

Night of the Living Dead Christian by Matt Mikalatos

The man living next door to Matt is a normal looking man but turns into a werewolf when he gets angry. His wife and daughter have left him, fearful of angry outbursts. He hopes Matt can help him with insights into the transforming effect of being a follower of Jesus. “If claiming to be a Christian meant personal transformation, our world would be a far different place. As it is, I know far too many Christians who are worse men as Christians than they were as pagans.” (53)
That sets the stage for Matt's not-so-true book on spiritual transformation. Should Matt kill the werewolf? “Destroy it so that my wife and daughter can return to me and I won't ever harm them.” (57)
What is it that aids spiritual transformation? Going to church? Right theology? What really makes one a Christian? Is it belief, regardless of behavior?
And there is the vampire. What really makes one a vampire? Is it sucking blood or something else? “It's a question of selfishness, of putting yourself and your needs ahead of the people around you.” “...[V]ampires don't make sacrifices, they sacrifice others to themselves.” (140)
Then there are the zombies. They are Christians who do everything their leader commands and believe everything he says. Some are zombies wearing makeup to look alive. Others are humans wearing makeup to look like their fellow zombies.

What a fun yet penetrating adventure. Christians in various stages of spiritual growth are portrayed as monsters. They may look so normal on the outside, sitting on the church pew. But inside they are hiding their monster traits. And there there is the question of how Christians deal with those monsters within. The answer may surprise you.
On occasion the action and dialogue seem a little too contrived. It seems Matt had a certain topic he wanted discussed and created the scene to do so (such as the discussion about translations in the Secret Lair).
Nonetheless, the issues covered in this book are clear. How does that transformation of becoming Christlike really take place?

This would make a great discussion book for teen and college age groups (although as a retired person, I really liked this book). There is an extensive discussion guide at the back, designed for small group use. You can also go to for help and additional resources.

Be sure to check out the monster guide at the back of the book. You can find out if you are one!

See my review of Matt's earlier book, My Imaginary Jesus

Matt Mikalatos works with a Christian nonprofit equipping college students for overseas missions.  He lives near Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three daughters.  You can find out more about Matt at

To buy this book, check out your local Christian bookstore!

I am taking part in the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour

Check our these other bloggers to see their reviews of this book:

Gillian Adams
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Theresa Dunlap
Amber French
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Janeen Ippolito
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte
Crista Richey
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Dave Wilson

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Good post, Joan. Yes, I think teens would love this book, but us old uns can still get a chuckle and learn from it. I know I did.


Julie Bihn said...

Good writeup! I think in some ways it would be MORE fun to discuss the answer to those questions in a group...I felt some of the questions weren't necessarily answered completely in the book, but talking them out with people would probably lead to a lot of shared insight.

(For the record, I am a robot.)

Matt Mikalatos said...

Joan, thanks for the great post. I've had a few small groups read the book together and write or call me to say that they enjoyed getting to know each other and talking about these issues together. Do let people know that if they read the book in a small group I'm glad to Skype or call in to their group at some point to discuss the book with them!