American churches have big parking lots. If it’s a successful church, it’s got several parking lots filled with lots of cars. One car per family. Or maybe more. SUVs for the family. Big cars that show our prosperity.
Everybody drives to church. Some people drive a long way to church. In fact, some church staff live a long way from the churches they lead, and they have to drive a long way several times a day and several days a week.
Active church members are driving to worship, children’s activities, sports, Bible study. men’s groups, women’s groups, elders meetings, prayer meetings and so on.
American Christians are typical Americans. They drive a lot. Their lives are, to a certain extent, ordered around the freedom to drive and access to gasoline.
As I write this, gas is about $4 a gallon.
The vast majority of conservative Christians that I know want cheaper gas. They are angry about gas prices. In fact, I’d say that gas is going to become a very important political issue. Candidates will be promising to lower gas taxes, lower gas prices, lower the price of oil, produce more oil and so on.
The gas is just too high, say most Americans. So say most American Christians. They are sure it’s wrong for gas to be this high.
Most of them have no idea what the rest of the world pays, and they don’t care.
Now…..imagine that gas keeps going up. Five, six, seven dollars a gallon.
What will Christians be saying then? What will pastors be preaching about gas prices and gas use? Will pulpits have anything to say?
Will churches change continue to operate on the assumption that everyone SHOULD drive to church to do things for God? Will churches change what they do?
Will anyone be asking, “What does Jesus have to say about gas prices?” “As a Jesus follower, what should I be doing? How should I be responding to high gas prices and the changes this brings?”
I’m sure a lot of people will say “Jesus has nothing to do with gas prices. It’s those evil Muslims that are making the gas prices so high.”
Some people might, however, think about how higher gas prices could change the way we live our lives. They might see the situation, like other times of resource shortages in our nation’s history, as a time when good things could happen.
People might stay home more. They might share more. They might help their neighbor more. They might think we’re in the last days. Or they might think about how we are using God’s world.
Or perhaps they might look at their lives and see how much of it depends on the access to oil, gas, cars, roads and so on.
Maybe someone will ask “What DOES Jesus have to say about gas prices?”
What do you say? Does Jesus have anything to do with gas prices? What would he say to American Christians who are going to make choices that might result in spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gas so they can continue their “lifestyle.”
What does Jesus have to say to us as gas prices rise and rise, with no stopping in sight?