At lunch yesterday with George Meadows I learned about a tradition I never new existed: snake handling. A small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S practice this religious ritual. According to Wikipedia, “it began as a practice in the early 20th century in Appalachia, spreading to mostly coal mining towns.” It supposedly only plays a small role in the church service and is inspired by this quote from the Book of Mark:
And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)
And, as always, there’s an excellent, short video about the subject on YouTube:
Seems a bit like Appalachian voodoo, kinda wild and very, very particular.
There was a church that did that near where I went to HS in ALABAMA. One of my friends was a member.
When we tour the real South that’ll have to be a stop. We’ll subsist on noodled catfish, drink moonshine and sleep in barns and snake handling churches.
You will have to take a vow of silence or you’ll get us killed though.
Ya know, Tom, I was thinking of you when he started taling about snake handling services. Seemed exactly the kind of extreme Southern sport worship you’d be into 😉
Jim, you might want to pack some BC powders and Carter’s Little Liver Pills for that trip – though I’m not sure how effective the Carter’s pills will be outside of southern West Virginia.
For more on taking up serpents, check out Dennis Covington’s Salvation on Sand Mountain.
Sand Mountain is not too far from my old stomping grounds. . .
You know I want to, and it is nice to see you are blogging again. I have been on and off my reader the last weeks, but just saw you’ve been back at it, pretty awesome.
Ha. If only. There are so many children now. Maybe in the summer. How cool would that be?
I have returned from the blogging dead. I have to practice what I preach, lead by example, and try not to suck quite like I normally do.