Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pray at the Pump?

[HT - Lucas Pehoski]
According to the Associated Press:

ST. LOUIS - Two prayer services will be held at St. Louis gas stations to thank God for lower fuel prices
and to ask that they continue to drop. Darrell Alexander, Midwest co-chair of the Pray at the Pump movement, says prayer gatherings will be held Monday afternoon and evening at a Mobil station west of downtown St. Louis.

Participants say they plan to buy gas, pray and then sing "We Shall Overcome" with a new verse, "We'll have lower gas prices."

An activist from the Washington D.C. area, Rocky Twyman, started the effort, saying if politicians couldn't lower gas prices, it was time to ask God to intervene.

The group thinks the prayer is helping, saying prices are starting to fall below $4 a gallon.

I thought Michael Spencer had some good thoughts on this approach:

For example, one evangelical has taken his particular view of rising gas prices and started a movement called “Pray at the Pump.” Somehow, the rise of gas prices is a sign of the end times and praying at the pump for God to lower prices will apparently prove that he’s in charge.

Of course, one wonders if it ever occurred to anyone that the inconvenience to the American lifestyle of mobility and affluence isn’t really something that God would respond to as an act of mercy. Most Americans are inconvenienced by gas prices because of the value they place on mobility and the decisions they’ve made about the kind of life they want to live, decisions made with the assumption of cheap gas in the background.

So somewhere a homeless man or a family struggling to put food on the table will see a group of middle class suburban Christians gathered around a gas pump, praying that God will have mercy and get things back to where we can all go about our business.

I don’t have to spend much time asking if Jesus would join such a prayer meeting.

This is the imagination and mindset of American Christians: God is committed to our lives as we imagine them. He is committed to the gas, the SUVs, the economics, the houses, the conveniences, the investments, the stability, the politics, the military and the religion that maintain the lives we lead.

And if you question this, you risk going down a hole labelled “Fanaticism.”

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