Drive-Thru Prayer

Jesus is a convenient guy

Want some spiritual comfort, but not badly enough to get out of your car? Houston — where else? — has got you covered.

The Christian nondenominational Succeed in Life Center near Shepherd and Tidwell has been offering drive-through prayer service to members and nonmembers alike a couple of Saturdays a month since October, and pastor Damien Jackson tells Hair Balls the event has garnered praise from participants.

"The reaction has been great. The people who drive by say everything from, 'I've never heard of this, this is such a neat idea, this is so helpful,'" says Jackson, adding they regularly see between 20 and 30 cars an hour.

Jackson explains that participants drive up to a window and fill out a request sheet, then drive to another window where they receive the prayer and a "quick word of encouragement" from a pastor.

And SiLC's drive-through exists to serve salvation to everyone.

"We're not just doing this for the Christian community, we're doing it for everyone," Jackson says. "We have people who say they're not a religious person, but they could still use a prayer: 'This is convenient, I don't have to get out of my car, so yeah, sure, go ahead and make a prayer for me.'"

Jackson tells us there's been no shortage of folks seeking consolation, with financial and family woes topping the list of troubles. According to the church's site, it can directly help with a ton of stuff like that, including "good health, good relationships with family and friends, enough money to live well and be worry free, peace and spiritual fulfillment, [and] a great love life." Damn, we'd settle for just the money and the love life.

And if you want to take it to the next level, you can sign up for the Campaign of Israel and have the church's clergy pray for you from atop seven different mountains in the Holy Land. Of course, they ask that your prayer request be specific and your "sacrifice" (to be accompanied with the request and submitted in an envelope, presumably) be "extreme."

And no, just getting out of your car doesn't count as an extreme sacrifice, at least not to the Lord. Blake Whitaker

TRYING TO CATCH LOUISIANA

The legislative session is only a month away, and Rick Ferguson knows exactly what he wants out of it — a plan to help Texas, and Houston especially, catch up to the moviemaking boom going on in ­Louisiana.

Texas has fallen behind states like Louisiana and Michigan when it comes to offering financial incentives to companies seeking filming locations.

"Shreveport — who would have thought, three years ago, that Shreveport, Louisiana, would become a film mecca? Go figure, man," he tells Hair Balls. (Among other films, a stadium in Shreveport stood in for Arlington Stadium in Oliver Stone's W.)

Some states can be more flexible than Texas because they have state income taxes, which offer more opportunities for deals.

Ferguson, who heads the Houston Film Commission and the Texas Association of Film Commissions, wants to bump Texas's "rebate" to filmmakers to 15 percent from its current 5 percent.

Essentially, if a film company spends $10 million on a production in Texas, they'd eventually get a check from the state for $1.5 million. (In Louisiana, the percentage is 25 percent; in Michigan it's a whopping 42 percent.)

Ferguson would like a further bump for companies filming in Houston (naturally), but that seems less likely.

There's no real organized opposition to the move, but Ferguson worries that lawmakers may be hesitant to mess with finances in the current uncertain climate.

"Any kind of question, if it arises, will be with regards to the financial state of the state itself, not anything specific to film production," he says. Richard Connelly

 
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