Yesterday, Tony London, a childhood chum of mine posted a photograph of a church advertising “drive-thru prayer” on Facebook. Tony’s comments on this were a lament for living in a place and time where “instant gratification and technology are against the law.” OK, Tony, I’ll give you an “A” for hyperbole regarding the “against the law” part. You can’t really mean that where technology is concerned (?), but “instant gratification”? I can dig having less of that and there is no doubt that technology brings “instant gratification” to a whole new destructive level.
We all know how well our bodies have done with drive-thru food, now we have drive-thru prayers! Yea! Our spiritual lives can now be malnourished, too! Becoming cynical and snarky, I went outside to prune my roses and ponder the implications of drive-thru prayer. There is just too much going on here not to write about it.
I’m not religious. I’ve honestly tried to be. I really have. You name it, I’ve probably tried it, but it hasn’t worked for me. I respect it all, and appreciate people’s choices and practices. If it’s good for them, it must be good for all of us. I like “goodness”. I’m sure the Pastor at the drive-thru prayer place is well intended. He, no doubt makes people feel good by offering this service. I wonder, though, about the intentions of the people participating in drive-thru prayer. What propels someone to pull off the road, go through a drive-thru and pray? How does it work? Do they have set hours or are they open 24 hours like Taco Bell? Is it like a thirty second Lord’s Prayer; put your dollar in the plate, and drive off kind of deal?
I try to get passed the mechanics of it to explore the idea of intention, which another friend, Melinda Potter Bloom chimed in about and she is absolutely spot-on. If it’s all well-intended, then surely this is a good thing, right? I just can’t get around the mechanics of it, though because it is so surface oriented; so convenient. Where is the depth? Where is the meaning?
“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” Start your engine, put ‘er in gear and move along. “Next?”
Maybe this gets to why congregating to pray has never worked for me. I’ve never viewed prayer as something you do “on the surface”. I’ve participated in a lot of different kinds of group prayers and mostly they were quite mindless, at least for me; a monkey see, monkey do kind of thing. I just couldn’t dial into it. I’ve never viewed the concept of prayer through the idea of consumerism, or convenience, either, which brings me to my current literary project, the iconic classic symbol for mass, mindless, lazy, convenience driven consumerism, the zombie. Please read the blog on Thad David’s, my collaborator, website for some more insight on this literary symbol: http://thaddavid.com/2015/03/11/zombies-without-prejudice/.
Are we spiritual zombies?
These issues run deep. They’re personal and yet universal. I think of Joshua Blair, one of the main characters in Divide Then Conquer. He’s a young devout Christian with a huge personal secret. He’s handsome, educated and his community, Savannah Safe Zone is surrounded by zombies. Now, he is faced with having to come to terms with the concept of the spiritual zombie. He sees it in himself and witnesses it all around him. As his physical world crumbles, will Joshua be strong and honest enough in body as well as spirit to forge a new more authentic life for himself and awaken the spiritual zombies around him, or will he follow the spiritual zombie horde and remake what’s left of his world in the image of the time before the Zed invasion when spiritual zombies ruled?
Pass Christian, MS