Saturday, June 3, 2006

On a Stack O' Bibles

The dump in this little town is not so much a dump as a transfer station, and by frugal Yankee standards not much of a station at that. In some towns, the books are stacked and sorted, clothing and toys are displayed in freestanding buildings and the food container bins are covered to minimze infesttaion. Here by the dam, the recycling center is clean and attended, but limited in its pickin's of free stuff. You can take one bucket of sand, and as much as you want from the book and magazine bin.

Some visits yield more than others. I watch out for interesting finds for friends, old textbooks, the occasional first edition. I once scored a 15 vol. set of Dickens. I began rescuing the Bibles because it made me sad to see them there. I didn't really have a plan; I just couldn't walk away and leave them to the pulper. (Let me add at this point that I would also rescue a Koran if I came across one. Let me also add that you wouldn't likely find a Koran in a dump.)

So the situation now is that I have about a dozen Bibles of all ages, translations, and sizes in a box in my garage. I still have no plan.

A chaplain friend, involved in prison ministry, advises that it is more difficult to donate books to prisons than you might think. You see, I could have soaked the pages with some illicit substance, designed to either intoxicate or poison the inmates and staff. I am reluctant to give them to a shelter (unless it is run by the Salvation Army, who declare their motives right there in their name) because it is hard enough to get into a shelter without having to literally sell a little piece of your soul to do so. I also want to be sure that the recipient is going to use them, and not send them back to the trash.

I thought about taking them to hotels and leaving them in the drawers, which made me wonder how the Gideons manage to get away with that behavior, and why hasn't anyone written a book about that? (one site calculates over 100 Bibles placed every minute, but my experience is, that just like NASCAR fans, an actual Gideon is never found in one's personal circle.)

If you don't click that Gideon link, you will miss the sentence, "The manager of the Central Hotel ...asked traveling salesmen share a room in a crowded hotel, which was hosting a lumbermen’s convention."

Say what you want about Christians (and none of you ever hold back, either way -- I should really get you all together), they have embraced the Internet in all stripes, and it only took a few clicks to find, The Bible Foundation. (searching will also turn up a lot of Bigfoot stories, which is such a delicious juxtaposition it ought to be its own post.) The Bible Foundation will gladly take your stack o' Bibles. They do not guarantee they are NOT soaking them in peyote, but I will have to trust they are not. I have asked them for some info. I'll let you kow how that turns out.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, the Gideons, and their suits and smiles and boxes of kelly-green New Testaments. At Gigantic Midwestern U., they were older men, many of whom wore gentlemanly hats. Here, at Smaller New England State U., they are much younger, sometimes just in SHIRTsleeves. Historically, I've been a failure at refusing those little green bibles, so they're scattered all through my life (a couple in the office, a couple in the yard sale box, one, oddly, in the sock drawer). And, yeah, the same part of me that really struggles to REFUSE them also has a problem with tossing them out.

    Interesting to hear about the prison-gifting difficulty -- J. will be interested to hear about that. Fun summer project -- illicit book-soaking.


Comments Build Community! We thank you for yours. Spam comments are not welcome and will not be posted.