Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Every Inn Is a Jesus Inn

This motel sits on a dusty roadside about 15 miles from my home. The first time G and I saw it we had to snap a picture. I wanted to memorialize it for two reasons: First, I love the campy font. Second, I could not stop thinking about what it must be like inside. Are there TWO bibles in every room? WWJD-embroidered towels? A chapel full of road- and spirit-weary travelers? Is it safer than other motels? Does it smell better? Is there wine in the minibar (grape juice for non-Catholics)? And the biggest question of all: How on earth did the Gideons manage to get a bible installed in EVERY SINGLE HOTEL ROOM in the entire country? What’s their secret?

As it turns out, it’s no secret at all. This, from the Gideons International website:

“The Gideons International, founded in 1899, serves as an extended missionary arm of the church and is the oldest Christian business and professional men's association in the United States of America. A board of distinguished Christian laymen, international in makeup, supervises the worldwide Gideon ministry, ensuring an efficient, economical operation. The association has more than 236,000 members, located in 179 countries of the world. They are united in carrying out the same program using the same methods to accomplish the one objective of winning others to Christ.

“Annually, The Gideons International is placing and distributing more than 59,000,000 Scriptures worldwide. To God be the glory! This averages one million copies of the Word of God placed every seven days, or 112 per minute! A non-profit organization, The Gideons International is generously supported by pastors and churches, who realize that presenting people with the gospel message is an indispensable element in winning people to Christ. Every dollar contributed by members of the churches is used to make it possible for others to have their very own copy of God's Word.”

Get this: If there are 236,000 members placing 59,000,000 bibles per year, that means each member places an average of 250 bibles per year, or about 5 per week. And not one of them is getting paid for it. I’m reminded of a famous quote attributed to Margaret Meade: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I’m not a practicing Christian, but I can’t help but admire the Gideons’ tenacity. They had to start somewhere. Whatever our cause--religious, political, social, or artistic--let us remember the lesson taught by their success. We all have to start somewhere.


Anonymous A girl called Spike said...

Given the crowning with thorns, the dying on the cross, the filthy sheet worn throughout the ordeal, you'd think an innkeeper would think twice about such an appeal. Depends on the demographic, I guess.

11:29 AM, April 29, 2005  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

M -- have you been there? We should rent a room one night. I wonder if they take pets...

11:47 AM, April 29, 2005  
Anonymous A girl called Spike said...

I think I spent my wedding night there. . . .

11:53 AM, April 29, 2005  

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