Thursday, May 31, 2012

Snake Bites and Snow White

I don't know how many of you happened across this article about the West Virginia pastor who died after handling snakes as a way to prove his faith in God, citing Mark 16:17-18 to support his somewhat unusual theology. I was immediately interested since I had just read Jane Yolen's Snow in Summer, which happens to include a snake-handling congregation from West Virginia (no lie).

Yolen's book is a retelling of the Show White story, that incorporated just the right balance of magic and reality, blending mountain superstition into a child's telling so you're not quite sure at the end what exactly happened (and incredibly, Yolen doesn't bother to tell you so you get to draw your own conclusions). And the dwarfs were German miners. Enough said? I have to say, though, that my favourite part of Yolen's version was that there was no pathetic Prince Charming. The dwarves and the Snow White character put in the hard work and get the results without any sissy kiss from Prince Charming. Well, mostly. But I don't want to give anything away. Except that evidently West Virginia snake handlers are real and creepy and build their entire theology on two verses from the Bible that are taken entirely out of context, and we should be careful to never build entire theologies on such a small portion of Scripture. And I'm done now. For real.


  1. I'm watching Thomas, reading your blog and looking at Amanda's pics from India and ought to get some work done! You've made me want to read this book now. :)

  2. I'd like to read it too. Very important point about Scripture though...keep it in context!