Snake Church

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Richard Paradon, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    There are many different sects of the Christian Church and although I am not of that faith, I am especially curious about the snake handlers. Now I have found a very interesting site, and won't express my feelings regarding the author, but it seems to be a bit bizarre to say the least.

    I have never attended one of these services and am sure that I would not even if invited with a round trip first class ticket. Have you ever seen or perhaps even belong to this sect?

    I am not putting them down, because we all practice the faith or path that is comfortable to us.

    http://holiness-snake-handlers.webs.com/
     
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  2. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
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    Good question Richard! The practice of snake handling and drinking of poison has been an established practice of many religions. But, in the Christian faith, Mark 16:18 in the Bible is the cornerstone of the practice.
    The debate over the canon of the 4 verses surrounding 16:18 has been going on since 1611.
    Most bonafide theologians disagree with the canon but state the the verses in question can be catagorized as hyperbole similar to Jesus' statement concerning moving a mountain, therefore the verses stayed as written.
    The problem with snake handling, other than the obvious, is it is based on "works." Eph. 2:8-9 to paraphrase tells us that we're saved by grace and not of works.

    So many Christians do find it necessary to "show" how much they love and trust the Lord by doing things that actually put God to the test. Wrong move. They think that their works will somehow earn something extra from God and show everyone the power of God. Rather than accepting the gift of God (grace) they feel as though they need to buy it. Of course, the handlers will not admit to that but essentially they are trying to buy salvation by a show of their faith.
    There is a fact though that James did say that he would show his faith by his works but he wasn't talking about snake handling. He was talking about the fruits of the spirit, which is another study.

    I do believe, with ernesty, that your love for the Lord can better be expressed on how well you handle other people rather than how you handle a snake.
     
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  3. Allie Seay

    Allie Seay Active Member
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    I used to live in East Tennessee. Just about as far east as you could get and still be in Tennessee. I was often hearing of these kinds of churches back then. Not that they were on every corner, but they were around. Back then I used to hear that even the children were allowed (required) to handle the snakes.

    I'm not one to want to belittle anyone else's religion, either, Richard. In fact, I'm quite curious about most religions or different expressions of my own, but this particular one I've always felt was steeped in ignorance.

    Still, to each his own.

     
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  4. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    @Bobby Cole @Allie Seay Thanks to both of you for your input. Think I will stick with Buddhism...just a bit safer!
     
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  5. Allie Seay

    Allie Seay Active Member
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    So long as you aren't inclined to mummify yourself inside a statue of Buddha. The problem with all religious texts is that the words look innocent enough there on the pages. And they are! But run them through the filter of a mind--any mind--and you then have something that is part substance and part perception, with different minds coming up with a different ratio between the two.

    God help us!
     
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  6. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    There are not very many churches that practice snake handling. I believe that it is restricted to a few Pentecostal churches in the Appalachians.
     
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  7. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    As a young man I actually visited one of these churches that practiced the handling of snakes in their services. I went to three different services. The last service I went to was quite eventful for me. While handling the snakes up at the front of the church with others, one of the women laid a snake down on the floor at the front of the church. Four or five people were dancing around and no one paid attention to the snake on the floor, which began to crawl out among the audience. The place was not well lit and soon the snake disappeared out under the chairs. A couple of men with flashlights quickly found the snake, picked it up and brought it to the front of the church where they placed it in a container. I had an excellent view because when the snake went under the first row of chairs I stood up in the pew and watched the proceedings. There is also a very entering book out on these church snake handlers.It's, Salvation On Sand Mountain" by Dennis Covington. I met him five years ago when he gave a talk about his experiences. At that time he was a professor teaching Creative Writing at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.
     
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  8. Val White

    Val White Active Member
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    The nearest I have been to snakes and worship was when I lived in Penang. My path used to to take me past the Azure Clouds Temple and I would often pop in to leave an offering. I was assured that the burning incense made the many vipers that draped everywhere drowsy and that the resident 22ft pythons were harmless. Being barefoot carried its own hazard

    It has changed much because of tourism since I was there and either due to a decline in vipers, or for safety reasons, there are not as many crawling and lying around now

     
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    Last edited: May 17, 2015
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  9. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    @Bill Boggs That is a pretty cool experience. Did you handle them as well?

    @Val White Thanks for the video! We have King Cobras here but I have not seen one up in the jungle and that is fine with me.
     
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  10. Val White

    Val White Active Member
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  11. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    Great site, Val! Our largest reclining Buddha is next to the Royal Palace in Bangkok at Wat Pho. It is 150 feet long and 49 feet tall. When I lost my D drive, I also lost one of my favorite Buddha pictures. It was at Buddha Mountain, about 2 miles form my home. A much smaller Buddha but at his feet, was a live kitten peacefully sleeping!
     
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  12. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    HAHAHA! This brings back memories of my childhood! We attended a small country church, with people who really were the salt of the earth. There was one old man who was a long-standing member, but for some reason, he decided that it would be a good idea to bring in a basket of rattlers, and pass them around to the congregation, so people could "prove their faith in God!" Fortunately, our preacher got wind of it, and met him at the church door that Sunday night. He told him that he was welcome to stay, but he could not bring his pets into the church. Poor old Fred was so disappointed, he quit the church, then and there, and never came back. The Bible tells us that we are not to test God in foolish ways. He doesn't do "parlor tricks."
     
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  13. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I thought I had mentioned this but don't see it, There is a very good book, written by a reporter who was sent to Sand Mountain to investigate a preacher who was on trial for murder by rattlesnake. He was supposed to have forced his wife to hold he hand in a bucket or large can containing rattlesnakes. This reporter ccovered the dtrial and later became infatuated with these folks and indeed did practice the handling of snakes. Later he3 became a professor. I met him him when he was at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX where I lived for forty-seven years. He was still excited to talk about this practice. After i told him I had attended several services, we talked for forty-five minutes.. I knew enough about this movement to know he was authentic in his knowledge.
    Unknown.jpeg
     
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  14. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    I would love to read this book! I'm going to look for a copy. I have no doubt that these believers are devout, I just don't agree with their methods of worship. :eek: I certainly wouldn't condemn them for it, but I don't think it's a good idea.:D
     
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  15. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I wouldn't do it either but I was raised up to know about these folks and had visited their churches some and when this professor gave a talk to the Friends of the Library and to library personnel. I thought his knowledge on the subject very authentic and I knew he had intimate knowledge of what he spoke about. I was interested because as a young man I had made a visit to a Sand Mountain and I wondered if his Sand Mountain and my Sand Mountain were the same. Turned out they were not. Mine was in Georgia; his in Alabama. Still I thought the book was a worthwhile interesting read. Anyway, the practice is illegal everywhere in West Virginia. Cheers.
     
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  16. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    Amazon has the book. I don't remember what it sold for, seven something but I don't know if that was the hardback or something else.
     
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  17. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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  18. Brittany Houser

    Brittany Houser Well-Known Member
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    Thanks Bill. I have put that on my list of summer reading.
    And Richard, that's a rattlesnake that I can definitely wrap my mind around! :D
     
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  19. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I could handle that one, Richard.
     
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  20. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    I was looking at the news today on NBC News online and ran across three "snake" stories. I grew up in areas where rattlesnakes were common to the area and sometimes cotton mouths and copperheads. Back in the eighties when I was in a camera club, I used to hunt rattlers to photograph for a monthly contest. I've had a couple of close calls where I might have been bitten if not for luck. I guess the point I am trying to make is I have enough material to write a snake blog for my Thursday blog if I can get it written. Snake stories fascinate me but I'm afraid of them. Anyway reading the comments here in Faith and Religion section has given me cause to think about some of the stories I know about and have never mentioned.
     
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  21. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    I am sure i am not the only one here that would enjoy reading your stories, Bill!
     
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  22. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    To tell the truth Richard I got up out of bed to delete my last post or replace with a new comment. It appears I am trying to promote my blog which certainly was not my intention. My blog is not worth promoting. Basically I have three things I can do because of my health. I frequent my library looking for large print books I might be interested in reading, I write a blog, and I frequent a couple of forums here and one in Australia. I've even learned to speak some Australian. I guess if the boss here don't mind I'll leave it up. I do appreciate your comment. Cheers.
     
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    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  23. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    I am not an "old timer" on this forum, Bill, but I have found that Ken (the boss) seems to have a very open mind and is not going to see your last as a blatant attempt to promote your blog. Many of us here are interested in a large variety of subjects. If my crazed stories don't get blasted, than I am thinking that there is no problem!
     
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  24. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Very Well-Known Member
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    Thanks. It may not be necessary to write a blog. I just discovered your Tall Tales and Fabrications Forum. I read a number of them. All my blogs tend to be rather long-winded and not suitable for this forum where only short, shorts are presented, but perhaps I might cut them down to something more manageable. I started the blog as a way to write about my disease but quickly found that was not feasible. My wife suggested I write some family history or some things about my own life. I did that for a while; found it boring. I fell in with a small herd of bloggers writing current events or personable tidbits about their own lives and that's where my blog has evolve to. It's still a bore. So much so that only one blogger still reads it. But it keeps my mind working and I hope forestalls Alziemers like symptoms.
     
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    Last edited: May 20, 2015
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  25. Richard Paradon

    Richard Paradon Well-Known Member
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    I can not talk for everyone here, but quite a few of us, including me, love to read stories about the life of people. Family stories, serious or humorous are always eye catchers! I have written some things about my life that I thought was boring but got a nice response!
     
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