Churches and Christian Organizations

Religion has for years been the second largest business in Music City; Nashville, TN In addition to being the headquarters for the Southern Baptist convention, Many other religious organizations are either based there or have a large presence. Religious publishing is a very important part of this and has a world-wide effect.
THE GIDEONS - This organization comes to mind first for me because of the good work that they do in placing bibles in hotel rooms nearly everywhere in the country. I know of many musicians who read Gideon bibles while traveling in the music business. They were always there when wanted. When back in Nashville, I could always purchase one of their bibles at a reasonable price whenever a friend or I needed one. I also felt it worthwhile to stop and make small donations at their headquarters in Nashville at various times.

Given the experiences above over the years, I could not have been more surprised at the reaction when I again visited the Gideons, this time with a camera and prepared to take notes on whatever they felt was important for the world to know in this short writing. The receptionist called to an office in the building on the phone in front of her. She then gave me the phone number of person to whom she had just spoken and said I would have to telephone him. (That did not get rid of me because I had a phone in my pocket on which I made the call.)

The phone in front of her rang, she answered, I let her know it was me (standing in front of her), calling as instructed. She re-connected to the office and told the party on the other end that I am now calling on the phone. My call was then forwarded to that office. A very polite gentleman came on the line and asked me not to take any picture of the outside of their building because they were not really open to the public and would not want anyone attracted to it (I suppose they should take down their sign in that case). He further declined to offer any information about the Gideons at all. He seemed to feel that they should give out whatever they wanted people to know and not let anyone else write about their work.

I have to state at this point that I feel the Gideons do very good work and have a positive effect on travelers everywhere in the U.S. because of the bibles they place free of charge at hotels and motels. I never considered them a "secret" organization. However, they do seem to want to do their good work in secret or at least out of view of the world. I am sorry not to be able to say more about this Nashville organization, but, next time you are in a hotel, pick up the Gideon bible and read what they are willing to let you know about them in the front of that book. They quietly continue their benefits to everyone - out of sight. The benefits of their work have been felt by countless travelers including a number of Nashville road musicians.

THOMAS NELSON PUBLISHING CO. is a printing and publishing company specializing in religious books. They are one of the worlds largest printers of the bible and have been doing this good work for more than a century. I must also say that the welcome there was one of the warmest I have received anywhere. As time permits, I hope to expand what I write about this company to a full profile. It is good to see a commercial business which has such a positive effect on the world and such a positive spirit in their employees. Their Nashville offices and warehouses are large, and they deserve to continue to grow.

METHODIST PUBLISHING COMPANY distributes religious and educational materials. I know of people as far away as Malaysia who have learned about Christianity and Christian principles because of this organization. I have been deep in their building a number of times many years ago doing technical backup for a company which kept some internal systems going for them and met many nice people who worked hard on their mission. Unfortuanately, on this trip, the receptionist I met when I came for information was the coldest I have encountered anywhere. She said that all anyone needed to know was on their plaque (which only showed the starting date in the late 1700's). She suggested I just take a picture of that and was otherwise abrupt and indifferent. She and another employee had attitudes which convinced me that I should just tell you they are there, they are an important part of Nashvilles relgious publishing, and the effects are long term and far reaching. The effects, in my opinion, did not reach the lobby as I would expect in a Christian organization.