Several years ago I mentioned reading Salvation on Sand Mountain, a book about the small number of loosely connected churches scattered around the Appalachians that practice snake handling. It was extremely interesting, in that it was the springboard for many discussions I had with a couple of close friends about family, spirituality, and simplicity. Beyond being a great read at the time, it's been one of those books that has lingered in my mind for lengthy period of time. In a way, you could say it has haunted me.
Anyway, if you haven't read it, I think you'll enjoy it.
Because of the phenomenon of youtube, I was able to get a glimpse into one of the churches the author, Dennis Covington, wrote about. (The reason I know he covered them is because the middle aged lady in the blue dress toward the end of the video is on the cover of the book.)
There are obvious reasons to look at this and laugh, because it is humorous. But once I get over my feeling of intellectual superiorioty, I then have to be honest in acknowledging that, while I'll never handle snakes or drink poison, there is something deep, primal, and gloriously communal about the activities going on here.
I'd be interested in hearing what you think.