St. Louis, MO—
After years of alarming increases in gun violence statistics, several local Evangelical groups decided to join together every Monday and take turns hosting “prayer lock-ins,” in which they prayed for hours on end imploring God to put an end to America’s weekly and oftentimes daily mass shootings.
“After one of the big mass shootings we had a couple years ago—I don’t have the foggiest memory of which one because there are so many of the darn things I can’t keep them straight—several members of my congregation got together and we were talking about praying for America’s soul,” explained Randall Rhettson, 58. “In that conversation I had a moment of honesty, and I admitted that I always say I’ll pray for people, but it was starting to dawn on me that I don’t actually pray as much as I probably should. I was always forgetting throughout the day who and what causes I had promised to pray for, and I got to thinking that maybe I was letting my fellow Christianity members down. Then some of the other members of my church agreed that they too had had their doubts about their commitments, and pretty soon all of us were talking about changing things up and devoting one day a week to undistracted prayer. So we created the concept of our prayer lock-ins where we would pray as a big group in order to hold each other accountable, and have a wonderful potluck at the same time. This way we could make sure that issues like gun violence finally got the prayer attention that God was probably waiting for in order to reverse the trends and turn America into a utopia of peace and love.”
Mr. Rhettson hosted the first lock-in at his house, and he and his friends prayed all night to end gun violence.
“It was so wonderful at first,” said Sally Goernig, 46, “We thought for sure God would appreciate our efforts as we really committed ourselves. We went back and forth between praying independently and then collectively taking turns leading the prayer and punctuating each sentence with loud ‘amens.’ But then another nationally shocking mass shooting happened, and another before the next Monday. So we invited every Christian we knew, and before long our prayer lock-ins were being replicated all over the state with dozens of churches participating, but still the mass murders just wouldn’t stop!”
God’s apparent silence on the issue began to trouble the lock-in participants.
“You know, I’ve been a god-fearing man my entire life,” explained Thomas Bodely, 39, “But I’m losing my patience with God’s inaction. I’ve spent my entire life crusading against abortion in order to save as many lives as possible, and I mean I’ve really committed myself. I’ve thrown eggs at abortion doctors’ houses; I’ve screamed at and taunted the scared, vulnerable women going into Planned Parenthood who, statistically, are going inside for healthcare treatments other than abortion; I’ve ruined more parties by hijacking topics of genial conversation and turning them into rabid arguments about baby-killers than I could count… and it just seems like I’m doing more to promote Christian values than God! With these prayer lock-ins I have devoted literally hundreds of hours praying so hard that I get migraines, and nothing’s changed! Abortion is still legal, mass shootings happen every week, and Hillary Clinton is still not in prison! God could just snap his fingers and make these things happen instantaneously! So why am I doing all the legwork here?”
Other Evangelical lock-in participants were more bitter.
“I’m beginning to think God is just a big dick, and that He actually loves mass murders,” shouted Cletus Anningway, 42. “Why else would they be happening? All my life I’ve believed God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving, but He obviously can’t be all three if American streets are more dangerous than Vietnam! And a liberal friend of mine really blew my mind when he shared statistics on how many pregnancies naturally end on their own in miscarriage, with some medical estimates being as high as 70% of all pregnancies failing for one reason or another if you include all the eggs that get fertilized—like good Christians do—but don’t get implanted into the uterine wall. And then there’s the reality of sudden infant death syndrome. And the fact that 100 Americans die from gun violence every day. God could stop all this if He wanted to! So he must not want to! In which case, God’s a total dick! So why are we praying at all? We clearly aren’t changing God’s mind, and we really tried! He’s apparently perfectly happy being an asshole! Sorry if this sounds crude, but I’m just doing the math. When it comes to problem-solving, God is just not pulling His weight around here!”