Isaiah Says “Light the Highway”?

So I was listening to NPR the other day and I heard a news story on this organization called Light the Highway. Have you seen this insanity anywhere on the news? This is the first I’d heard of it. Apparently it has become quite a popular movement in conservative Christian circles in towns all up and down the I-35. Various churches form prayer groups and they pray generally and anonymously for the communities up and down the highway. They also go to certain black communities and homosexual districts and sing praise songs on street corners.

Ok, I don’t want to sound like I’m judging these people (but I really am) because I consider myself Christian as well, and to be honest if I hadn’t been awakened to the reality of life and society and the purpose of Christianity in the world I would probably be part of these prayer or praise groups warding off the “impurities” that pose threats to the godliness of the highway… or other such Christian jargon. Anyway, I was driving and listening to this story on the radio completely flabbergasted because it sounded so ridiculous. Who has time to do this kind of stuff? My first impression of this organization was “Are you kidding me??”. It’s actually quite sad that people think that things like that are acceptable. Who really thinks that they are going to somehow touch someone’s life by praying for unknown communities in states hundreds of miles away? I’m sorry Light the Highway but you do not make an impact that way. I don’t care how much news coverage or attention you are receiving now, people are not being personally brought into this. At least not the people you are hoping to impact. The way you make a difference is by developing relationships with people. You go out into society and engage yourself in service or simply just spending time and talking with the very people you are trying to “save”. You don’t see them on the street and start yelling worship songs at them. That scares people way. That makes people think you are freaks and makes them not want to have anything to do with Christianity. It also gives Christianity a bad name. It says that Christians want to make change in the world but aren’t willing to get personal and get their hands dirty. They don’t want to reek of shit and sweat and hard work because that would mean they had to go outside their secure bubble of Bible verses and I heart Jesus t-shirts and substitute curse words like “fiddlesticks” and “firetrucks”.

A word to these… zealous ones-

Look at the life of Jesus when you are determining what a Christian should be doing. He hung out with the social scum all day, ever day. He ate with them, bathed with them, laughed with them, cried with them, taught them, learned from them. He wasn’t standing on street corners singing like a freak or proclaiming damnation to the sinful. God was incarnated into human flesh and that is what he decided to do with His short time here. So, isn’t there a message in that? I think His actions are stronger than anything written by Paul or Moses or any of the prophets. If any part of the New Testament should be taken seriously it’s the gospels and their portrayal of the life of Jesus.

But who am I to have this strong of an opinion? Just a student of Christian theology for more than 15 years. I’ve been a part of conservative Christianity for most of my life and I’m just now intelligent enough to see that life should be more than sitting in church every Sunday and engaging in shallow once a week relationships and pretending I’m super spiritual by crying during worship songs and talking about my “walk with God” as topic number one. Living life should be about growth, whether that growth is for the purpose of serving God or serving yourself. And the only way you grow is if you go outside of what you are comfortable with and you learn to adapt to hard situations. So here is my advice to Light the Highway: instead of staying inside your nice warm, safe churches and praying why don’t you go out and live on the street for a week to see how hard life really is when you are one of those “unfortunates”. And then go sing your songs on the same corners. Let’s see you do that.

The truth is that there are always going to be groups like this that make Christians look like weirdos. It makes me sad. I know I’m not a weirdo. I know I’m a perfectly normal individual with deep views on life and with intimate relationships with my friends and family. I know my friends and family are pretty normal too. So if it is possible to function well in society even if you had a hard childhood or had your id or superego messed up why can’t more people do it? I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with any answer to the question.

More later on this one I’m sure.

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2 responses to “Isaiah Says “Light the Highway”?

  1. I think you may have disregarded (wittingly or unwittingly) that it is not people you are up against when they do the Great Commission, but it is God himself. These groups believe that God still moves mountains this way, and I don’t understand why you see anything un-religious/un-Christian with that. In the Bible, we see Jesus as a man of action most of the time, but there were times when He just knelt down and pray. In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah himself responded to threat by prayer, and if you would check, the Israelites were able to rebuild the walls. Sanballat and Tobiah’s opposition did not matter at all compared to God’s power. God is moving in ways we may not understand all the time, because His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, but I know, after praying for these people, God is already working in them. So the next time you may want to go and knock on a door the owner of which has already been the object of prayer, God was there first before you…

  2. I think you are missing the point. I’m not against prayer. I think it’s important. I’m against the fact that this is all they are doing to help these communities. And still, the Great Commission is irrelevant here. I don’t see how having prayer groups is doing anything but give them a better sense of spirituality. They are stopping at prayer and not going on to the next step. It’s one thing to pray for someone you don’t know and never attempt to go talk to them and actually see what they think about Christianity and it’s another to pray for them and take the initiative to go say “Hey, how’s your day? What are your opinions on life?” and then take them out to coffee and develop trust and feedback. I have more of an issue with the anonymity than the prayer. Also, God gave us a commission in Genesis before he ever sent Jesus- “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on earth.” I’m an advocate for spreading the gospel by taking care of the earth and all it’s inhabitants, including the people living in it. Preaching can come next.

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