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These drive throughs don’t have a prayer

donnell collins/staff photographer Jeff Ward.

donnell collins/staff photographer Jeff Ward.

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Updated: November 8, 2012 11:46AM



When I read Matt Hanley’s report on the Aurora Church that hosted a drive-through prayer service, I was torn.

Part of me wanted to wail, “Is this what we’ve finally come to?” Has our instant gratification, no time for anything really important culture finally caught up with us? You can’t even get out of your car to go to church?

But on the other hand, it was gratifying to see a congregation step firmly into the 20th century. While the Catholics finally decided to formally apologize to Galileo, at least the Living Stone Christian Church tacitly acknowledged that evolution isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

So from Sept. 19 to 21, motorists heeding those Route 31 signs could pull into that 1391 North Lake Street church parking lot to pray with a trained congregant without as much as setting a foot on the pavement.

According to Pastor Phil Moore, some stayed for a few minutes while other talked for much longer. “They leave changed,” Moore said, “They leave different.”

I have to admit, considering the general monolithic tendencies of religious institutions, there’s certainly something to be said for a group that embraces a mountain to Mohammed mentality.

So my plan was this: Armed with that entertaining news story, I would come up with some similarly innovative drive through endeavors that any proactive Auroran might want to try for themselves. At least, that was the plan until I discovered my humorous top two had already been done.

Apparently, someone else figured the next logical step up from a drive through prayer service would have to be a drive through mortuary. Because until it closed, Gatling’s Funeral Home on Chicago’s south side offered a drive-through window complete with a camera focused on the deceased, a register, and a sound system.

“The working person doesn’t have time to come in,” Mr. Gatling said. “They want to see the body, but they don’t want to have to wait.” One has to wonder if their motto was “When the dearly departed really didn’t mean all that much to you.”

My next thought was, “Wouldn’t a drive-through emergency room be a hoot?” But the Stanford University Medical Center beat me to it.

In this one case, however, there is a method to their madness. As they explained, during a pandemic or bioterrorist attack, “social distancing” is critical. So they set up a scenario where they’d direct infected patients to a parking garage and doctors would treat them there.

Don’t laugh. They ran a full scale 50 fake patient test in 2009 which reduced the average ER stay by a full 1.5 hours. Are you listening Provena Mercy?

How about this one! While the Blues Brothers may have created the concept, Joliet now boasts a drive-through mall. That’s right! The last place on Earth most Americans get any exercise whatsoever has been replaced by a drive-through.

The business, sponsored by Sears, is called Mygofer. Customers can order anything you’d find in your average K-Mart via the Internet or phone and pick it up at the brick and mortar location without even exiting their vehicle.

Just the mere thought of it takes something away from that famous movie scene, doesn’t it?

Ah! But there’s one convenience concept that tops ‘em all. Not in my wildest dreams could I have come up with a drive-through strip club! But, following in McDonald’s famous footsteps, someone else did.

At this “gentleman’s” club in Congruity, Pa., discerning patrons can take a gravel road to the back of the building where they can observe the festivities through diamond shaped windows.

“We’re the first one in world history,” club owner Nick Climax (that’s his real name!) said. A “pay here” booth takes all manner of credit cards and the going rate is $10 a minute for individuals and $20 for two or more.

Of course, filming the performers is strictly forbidden.

All I can say is, suddenly a drive-through prayer service doesn’t seem so bad. So if you happen to be driving down Lake Street and you see the signs, why not pull into the church parking lot and give it a shot.

But as far as coming up with any other silly drive-through concepts, I’m officially far too terrified to even think about it. As I keep trying to tell you people, the truth is almost always stranger than fiction.



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