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Check out The New York Times video mini-documentary above.
The filmmaker Lauren DeFilippo notes:
Driving from my parents’ house on the A1A highway along the east coast, I stumbled upon the Daytona Beach Drive-In Christian Church. At first the idea of sitting in a car to go to church seemed deranged to me. What could be more vacant of spirituality and human connection than going to church sealed off in the most alienating of American inventions, your car?
I decided I had to go to a service. I was surprised to learn this wasn’t some kind of fly-by-night operation — the church has been offering services from the convenience of your car since 1953. As I spent more time with the members of the congregation, my thinking about the bizarre place started to slowly shift. I realized that many of them had very personal motivations for attending a church like this. Some were debilitated by illness and found the easy accessibility of the space a plus. Others had lost a loved one and wanted privacy as they mourned. A few more just wanted to attend service with their pets. Whatever their reason, they were all seeking some form of comfort and strength in one shape or another.
I filmed at the church over three Sundays, and you see footage from all three days in the film. On the last Sunday, when the pastor gave a sermon about the insidious nature of technology and the divide it creates among us, it echoed deeply for me. What I realized in making this film is that in many ways, we’re all just sitting, isolated in our own experiences with the windows rolled up and the air-conditioner blasted on high, wondering why we have trouble connecting with our world and the people around us.