Sunday, April 22, 2007

I spy a Gideon...with out a tie.

Friday was the California State Gideon's International Convention Pastor's Appreciation Banquet. This really is a cool thing the Gideons do at all their conventions and I've had the privilege of attending at the local, state, and national levels. It always involves a catered meal for both my wife and I. So I arrange for a sitter and make it a hot date. In all honesty there's this sweet old guy named Ray who always invites us and I just can't tell him no. My wife and I are always by far the youngest people there. It is also always an adventure in Christian sub culture. Friday night, my wife somehow got to the hotel with two left shoes. So we headed to San Berdoo's fabulous Carousel Mall (worth an entire post in itself) to search out a new pair of matching shoes. This caused us to be about 30 minutes late, and the Gideon's always start on time. Our hosts were so gracious in getting us a seat, but everyone at our table had already eaten. This set off a whole situation comedy as the other 6 people at our table communicated to the help; "These two haven't eaten", "Those two right there, they need plates", "I already told them! It should be here by now", "I'm sorry you're waiting so long...I told them you needed plates", "Can we get plates for these two?", "Who's in charge here?", "I would prefer decaf", "Does she have a dessert?", "Excuse me, they haven't eaten". It was hillarious and mildly embarassing. Makes me wonder if Christians are the service industry's worst nightmare. I'm pretty sure the wait staff was not leaving the hall talking about the graciousness of these Christ followers. Gideons are so quirky. After almost three decades of hearing Gideon presentations I'm still not sure what qualifies you as a "Christian business or professional man". Also the whole "MAN" part is a little freaky to me. The way they seemingly disciminate against women, hold the King James Versions in such high esteem, and become strangely territorial about their camps are all reasons for suspicion in my book. But despite these suspicions, I have a hard time not celebrating an orgaization that works so diligently to distribute scripture. Did I share that they usually only give away half the Bible (a testament), and that what they call "the plan of salvation" fits on two testament sized pages? Despite these additional frustrations I love these guys! They "get" the whole narrative concept... and I love to hear Gideon testimonies, when they don't put me to sleep. This last bash was so refreshing and fun because the speaker was captivating and entertaining. I found out the Gideon's were working hard to change the image of the old school boring Gideon presentations, and were actually doing some training intensives to make sure they were "on their game". Big news... they are now printing some testaments in the NKJV! Also found out some old friends of ours are part of the state leadership. She is the state president of the Gideon Auxillary (where Gideon's send their wives to pray for them and not teach men). All right I'm taking my tongue out of my cheek. Sounds like the Gideon's are getting a little bit progressive. If this wasn't enough we had the State V.P. at out church this morning for a 10 minute presentation (Thank God, they don't get the whole sermon time anymore). During our contemporary service he took off his jacket and tie! A Gideon with no tie, holding a NKJV, and nobody fell asleep, it was a beautiful morning! Why doesn't everyone go here and make a donation just because you're thinking of me?! May God Bless the Gideon's International!

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