Prayerapalooza: The Response at Reliant Stadium With Rick Perry and a Packed House
Our country's credit rating was downgraded just less than a day before The Response event at Reliant Stadium opened its doors. The world is scary and getting more so by the day. People are afraid of the future, like we are living in a sci-fi flick, and those that don't know what else to do but look upward, pray. For the rest, they look inward. Options are scarce, you know.
Groovehouse Governor Rick Perry leads Reliant Stadium in prayer on Saturday morning.
It just so happens that the 30,000 Christians and spirit-minded have a mainline to God and following the lead of Governor Rick Perry, took to Reliant on Saturday to raise their hands to the sky, which was obscured by a closed roof.
Following the instructions I had seen on the Response Web site and its literature, I started fasting on Friday evening after polishing off a man-sized meal from Popeye's. Maybe I would gather some sort of insight from not taking in food for 24 hours, and touch a glimpse of clarity.
Once I got into the stadium Saturday morning, I realized that most of the concession stands were open, and what was a fast for some was just a loose rule for most. People eating stale nachos covered in canned cheese while intermittently praying. I can get behind that.
Photo by Groovehouse
Here's my feed from the day's events.
-- I walked on the Reliant grounds around 10 a.m. A group of protesters are set up on Kirby, a few feet away from the media entrance and the Houston Texans weight room. Dr. James Dobson is at the podium talking, but you can barely understand him for the Spanish interpreter speaking behind him. It's like a weird, bizarro echo. People hear the word "prayer" or "America" and cheer.
-- Now it's Bible study time, and out come the worn Bibles in the crowd. Rick Perry is here in an hour, according to the program the media was given upon entry. It's like waiting for the headliner at a rock show.
-- At least twenty thousand here now, according to officials from The Response team. Praise and worship going down now. It's a very multiracial crowd. Black, white, Hispanic. This seems to not be the "white" event it was supposed to be. This is religious and spiritual.
-- There are reporters here from all over the world. I have seen people from The Guardian shooting video with teams from other far-flung places milling around the media room. A freelancer from the Boston Globe and the Atlantic is here, too; he parked next to us in the parking lot. There is a VIP section to the side of the stage, for donors and important worshippers, I assume.
-- The speaker just tried to say traffic was backed up to "the airport." Really? Which airport? Hobby? Bush? Ellington? Is Houston evacuating and we don't know it?
-- Lots of teens look like they were dragged here. Playing on their phones. They look up every now and then to smile or nod. Still, a lot of them are fervently worshipping, with hands held high and eyes sealed shut. One kid is in the corner by the media aisles, singing along to a song about abortion, making hip-hop stances like he's at a Linkin Park show.
-- People praying in the concession lines waiting to get hot dogs and nachos. What was that fasting business about then? It's the worst line I have ever seen at any stadium in town.
-- Members of the Texans are working out in their weight room, which you look into as you walk in the bowels of Reliant. They don't care what's going on. Eric Winston is doing lunges with small cars.