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I am so glad you are here. I am a wife a mother, a grand mother. I love to make old things come back to life. I live in a small town in North Alabama. I'm a dental hygienist for the most wonderful dentist. I am a sinner saved by GRACE.I sing in the choir at my church. I was raised in a conservative home that believed it was a sin to be wasteful, so therefore I am VERY frugal

Friday, April 1, 2011

Snake Handling in our church--NOT!!!

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you,

Most of my childhood was spent in the backwoods of Winston County in the early 1960's,where the most lucrative industry at the time was Moonshinin'. My father was a football coach and teacher at a nearby high school and his salary was so low he supplemented it by raising cows and pigs, chickens and cotton.  So,growing up under those conditions qualifies me as a true country girl.
   We went to a small, conservative, Baptist Church in the community.  The only time I can remember anyone saying anything "negative" about any of the other churches in the area was if there was "Church of God" or "Pentecostal" in the title. "Those" people dressed and acted differently. After seeing more than my share raised eyebrows at the mere mention of their name I developed a certain, unexplainable prejudice toward them.  That is until, I married my husband and found out several of his family members attended a Church of God and they were very normal, loving, and caring people.  So, I got over it.
   But not everyone has.   I commute about 15 miles to my job. I work as a dental hygienist(I clean teeth) that occupation puts me in very close proximity to people.  We chit-chat about different things and one day a few years ago a lady asked me, "what church do you go to?"  I immediately responded, "Oh, I live in Falkville and I  proudly announced, "I go to Fairview Church of God".  All of a sudden it was as if a cold wave just swept through the room.  I recognized it immediately--"the raised eyebrow."  I still cannot believe what I heard come out of that woman's mouth after that. "DO YA'LL HANDLE SNAKES?"  I rushed to answer, "NO", then laughed and said,  "Do I look that "backwoodsy"?  But, believe it or not, that was not the ONLY time I was asked that question. It's probably happened at least a dozen times.  One man asked where I went to church and decided I would be a bit mischievious and I thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head when I answered in jest, "Oh, yes, we handle snakes and I can tell you right now there is nothing like it.  When you take that rattlesnake and put it around your neck and the Spirit starts moving...."   He eased backwards just a bit and immediately changed the subject. The bad thing is, I never told him any different.  I assumed he knew I was kidding.  I'm afraid he and some others may have a distorted opinion of the people in my little town. Sorry ya'll.
   Now, mind you, I'm not making fun of someone's religious beliefs, in fact it has fired up a crazy obsession to read everything I can get my hands on about Serpent Handlers. It is very difficult for me to grasp the fact that someone could believe something so strong that they are willing to face the possibility of death. That is fascinating to me and has caused me analyze my own beliefs.  I do, however, believe it is a gross misinterpretation of the scriptures.

   Several years ago a gospel group called Wendy Bagwell and the Sunlighters was on television on Sunday mornings.  I remember Wendy was sort of a comic and told a story about them going to a rural, mountain town in the deep woods of Kentucky.  He was sitting on the second row of the church awaiting their turn to sing, when all of a sudden some men started pulling these black boxes out from what appeared to be nowhere.  A man reached in a box and pulled out a rattlesnake and promptly wrapped it around his neck.  Other men and women followed suit.  Wendy, not knowing exactly what to do with this situation, leaned over to one of the members and whispered,  "Where is the back door in this church?"  The man replied, "Oh, we don't have one."  Wendy quickly responded, "Well, then where do you want it?"  My sentiments exactly!

   Praise the Lord, that our faith doesn't have anything to do with a list of rituals or works. It's based on GRACE.  But for some of you who have dead churches, come on down to our church and we'll rent you one of those little black boxes! lol  Ray Stevens used a squirrel to get the Mississippi Revival started maybe we could start a session of Snake Handling 101  here in North Alabama . lol (I am kidding)  That should wake the dead, or I don't know it might kill them.  Until later......
Love, luck and laughter,
Paula the hillbilly

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