Season Seven, Episode Eleven, Hostiles and Calamities

by Thom McKee

What would you do if Negan captured you and asked you to join his team?

Let that question sink in for a moment. Knowing what you know about this man, would you defy him directly like Daryl? Would you give in and serve him like Dwight? Would you pretend to serve him and wait for an opportunity to rebel or escape? (We know that this is what Carol would do.) Would you try to convince Eugene to make poison pills to slip into Negan’s soup?

Or would you do what Eugene is doing. (What is Eugene doing?)

Rebel, lie, or conform to save your life? This is the question millions

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Season Seven, Episode Ten, New Best Friends

by Thom McKee

Is there such a thing as a righteous lie? My guess is that you probably have a strong opinion about this question. My guess is that you probably also thought about this question tonight as you watched Daryl lie to Carol’s face in order to protect her. It is a very serious question and many disagree about the answer.

Is it sometimes okay to lie to people?

You may have encountered this question during

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Season Seven, Episode Nine, Rock in the Road

by Thom McKee

Ever since 1990, I have been a huge football fan. Not American football (though I did watch every single pathetic 49ers game this year), but the football that everyone else in the world watches. Here in the U.S. we call it soccer. At that time, I lived in England and I got to go to my first football match – the Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Aston Villa. An English friend who was a massive Spurs fan took me to White Hart Lane where I instantly became a huge fan. The crowds were amazing, singing songs and yelling at the opposing fans with all kinds of passion. The teams were great, and I actually got to see Gary Lineker score a goal. It was an awesome experience. Twenty-six years later I still watch every single Spurs game (go Spurs!).

My friend who took me to the game was also a fan of American sports and he asked me what I thought

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Season Seven, Episode Eight, Hearts Still Beating

Spencer-Negan-TWDby Thom McKee Jr.

Have you ever had to choose sides when it really mattered? I am not talking about Star Wars vs. Star Trek, or Dawn of the Dead vs. The Walking Dead (can I say that I like all of them?). I am talking about really having to choose sides. Maybe at work you have had to decide whether to side with labor or management. Or maybe at school you have had to decide whether to side with the popular kids or the nerds (not a difficult decision for me. Go nerds!).

I remember one time in Jr. High I even decided to

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Season Seven, Episode Seven, Sing Me A Song

The-Walking-Dead-Father-Gabrielby Thom McKee Jr.

Do actions speak louder than words?

Absolutely.

But do actions speak louder than our thoughts?

Think about it. Where do our behaviors actually come from? They aren’t all just instincts. It can be argued that some actions might be considered fight or flight. But when you really look at it, is there actually an action that we take that doesn’t say something about how we think?

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Season Seven, Episode Six, Swear

the-walking-dead-season-7-episode-6-taraby Thom McKee Jr.

Just today, my wife and I were talking about our almost 21 year marriage, and the reasons for its success and longevity (especially in our disposable culture). Without thinking, Amy immediately said “It’s because we really trust each other.” I smiled, because “trust” was the exact word I was thinking of. The fact is that Amy and I do not hide anything from each other.

But this wasn’t always the case. When I was in my twenties, I was not a trustworthy person at all. I was not a person who could be counted on, and believe me, that is a lonely place to be. But over the last two decades

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Season Seven, Episode Five, Go Getters

The-Walking-Dead-Gregoryby Thom McKee Jr.

It is hard to believe that cowards can still be leaders at this point in the show. So far, most of the characters like Gregory died within the first year of the apocalypse.

Why?

Sasha saw it clearly when she said, “He’s an idiot.” But Maggie saw it clearer when she replied, “He’s a coward. They’re more dangerous.”

The simple fact is that guys like Gregory don’t last in this world because they get other people killed, and smart people don’t help guys like Gregory.

But somehow, in the unique safety his walls have provided

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Season Seven, Episode Four, Service

Rick-Negan-TWDby Thom McKee Jr

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

This inspirational statement by Helen Keller could not be more apropos to this week’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Come to think about it, this quote could sum up one of my favorite things about this entire show. TWD is not really about zombies; it is about the choices that people make in the midst of a world with no rules, safety or guarantees (also true about Jonathan’s book, The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers). Really this show is all about character.

Tonight’s episode takes place only three days after the events of the season opener. People are clearly

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Season Seven, Episode Three, The Cell

The-Walking-Dead-Daryl-Season-7by Thom McKee

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt that there was no hope? Maybe you made a choice that caused you to lose everything that you held dear. Or maybe someone else made a choice that put you in a scenario where you felt you would never be able to endure.

In my life, I have felt this way, and it usually is coupled with feelings of guilt over the fact that I made the choices to put myself in that situation. Most of these kinds of problems in my life have been (to quote Blind Willie Johnson and Led Zeppelin) “nobody’s fault but mine.” I think that this is the worst kind of despair.

But often people are put in situations that seem hopeless, regardless of the choices that they make. You only have to look at the

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Season Seven, Episode Two, The Well

The Walking Dead Ezekiel Shivaby Thom McKee Jr.

Do people manufacture hope simply because they can’t deal with the possibility that there might be none? This is a question that is not only about how people react to crisis, but also about the very nature of meaning in the universe. Are we merely animals who are so fearful of the unknown that we create entire mythologies (or even religions) in order to give ourselves a sense of hope?

French philosopher Voltaire famously said that “if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” Another quote attributed to a first century Roman thinker, Seneca the Younger, says “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

While these ideas are somewhat elitist and maybe even a little offensive, I still see an element of truth in them. I am a pastor, a thinker, and definitely a “religious” person, but I also see

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