Let me begin by saying that I laud the work of Gideons, even if the Gideons themselves make me a little nervous. The Gideons tend to be drawn from those Christian groups that believe in decision theology, that faith begins with the Sinners Prayer, and the primary quality of Scripture is its inerrancy (but not its efficacy). So I am not one to beat a drum for the Gideons even though I believe that their goal of distribution of Scripture is a good one.
For as long as I can remember I have opened the drawer (usually to the night stand by the bed) in a hotel or motel room to see if a Gideon Bible is there. In the past I seldom found the Bible missing. Now, it seems, I should be ready to expect no Gideon Bible. A story in the Washington Post has supported the vanishing Gideon Bible.
A survey conducted by the American Hotel and Lodging Association and hotel research firm STR found that 79% of American hotel rooms included religious material in rooms, compared with almost all of them—95%—a decade ago. For many travelers these days, rooms with no Wi-Fi access would be unthinkable. Nearly all—98%–of the 8,000 respondents in the survey said their properties had in-room wireless internet, up from 82% a decade ago.
Read back to a previous post on how the internet has replaced God in our lives. According to the trend reported by the AHLA, we are more upset by a lack of WiFi than we are a missing Bible. That is not merely a fact, it is a sign of the problems we face and the investment we have made in truths over Truth. Sadly, even if a Gideon Bible were placed again in every hotel or motel room, it would not reverse the trend of trusting the world wide web over the Word of the Lord that endures forever.
My friends remind me that their Bible is on their phones and even Concordia Publishing House has Kindle and other app forms of the very good Lutheran Study Bible. That said, I think there is still something significant about the missing book. I rather doubt that the absent Scripture is replaced by those who turn to their WiFi in room in order to search the internet for a Bible passage. But, go ahead, prove me wrong. I would love it!