May 30, 2012

"Serpent-handling pastor profiled earlier in Washington Post dies from rattlesnake bite."

WaPo reports:
Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction. He believed that the Bible mandates that Christians handle serpents to test their faith in God — and that, if they are bitten, they trust in God alone to heal them....

The son of a serpent handler who himself died in 1983 after being bitten, Wolford was trying to keep the practice alive, both in West Virginia, where it is legal, and in neighboring states where it is not....

And so they were gathered at this evangelistic hootenanny of Christian praise and worship. About 30 minutes into the service, his sister said, Wolford passed a yellow timber rattlesnake to a church member and his mother.

“He laid it on the ground,” she said, “and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh.”...

“I promised the Lord I’d do everything in my power to keep the faith going,” he said in October. “I spend a lot of time going a lot of places that handle serpents to keep them motivated. I’m trying to get anybody I can get involved.”

31 comments:

Quaestor said...

Hooray for the snake!

John said...

Obviously this is a 'will of God' situation.

pm317 said...

I want stats on how many times he was spared.

MadisonMan said...

Did he learn anything from his Dad dying the same way?

Scott M said...

"Snake bites man"

John said...

On second thought I am voting for 'natural selection'.

Big Mike said...

See, you unbelievers, see what happens when you let your faith waver, even for the tiniest fraction of a second?!?

Or, you could call it evolution in action.

Besides, timber rattlesnakes don't like it when you call them "yellow."

MadisonMan said...

It's interesting to me that the religious practice of Pentecostal Snake-handling is illegal in some states.

How is that law Constitutional?

I suspect it's yet another law that's never enforced, until it is.

Pogo said...

"Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

AllenS said...

Obviously, God didn't think much of “Mack” Wolford.

Lyssa said...

I took a "Psychology of Religion" class in college, and these religions were the prof's favorite field of study. He visited the churches a lot (they were surprisingly welcoming to him, even let him video tape them for use in class). One day, the prof even brought in a member of the church that he had written about in our text to speak with us. Again, I was amazed at how non-defensive and open he was about discussing this.

One of the main players in the text was a man called "Pumpkin", who died after a bite. Several months later, his wife was also bitten and died. They had 4 kids. I asked him about that, the fact that this had left four children orphaned. He said that it was simply God's will, and they had to accept that.

Facinating stuff. Crazy, but facinating.

Pogo said...

Only the good die young.

That's what I said.

deborah said...

I read a story when I was young, in the Weekly Reader, I think, about a woman who had pet poisonous snakes. Before being photographed for an article, she took her glasses off, and one of the snakes bit her and she died.

Fritz said...

Trust in God...

But Steer Away from the Rocks.

Scott M said...

"God say, 'You must die, Kemosabe.'"

Rumpletweezer said...

God's going to slap him when he shows up.

"Idiot! I gave you eyes and legs so you could avoid snakes, and what do you do? Idiot!"

Michael said...

Salvation on Sand Mountain. Great book which very respectfully deals with the topic of snake handlers

rhhardin said...

Garter snake sniffing.

Dog religion.

traditionalguy said...

Taking pride in religious faith is a dead end.

God wants worship in humility, not daredevil stunts that bring the man's courage all of the glory.

But labeling that insanity Pentacostal is a cheap slur at no extra cost.

Mitchell said...

Some people will do just about anything to get attention.

Scott M said...

Some people will do just about anything to get attention.

Some snakes, apparently, as well.

deborah said...

No, rh, that's scientific endeavor; she worships you, I am sure :)

cassandra lite said...

Thus does He cull the herd.

edutcher said...

He was called.

Bender said...

Mark Randall “Mack” Wolford was known all over Appalachia as a daring man of conviction

Sounds instead like a foolish man of pride, who thinks that God is so unsophisticated and dull-witted as to not be able to speak in metaphors in Mark 16:15-18. And because of his lack of understanding, he was bitten by the "serpent" of falsehood and lies before he was bitten by the literal serpent.

roesch/voltaire said...

While working in Appalachia my family and I were over-night guests of a preacher whose church practiced snake handling- there was a bag of snakes on the front porch. Both he and his wife were gracious but stern folk who kept to themselves, and I know it was a stretch for them to host outsiders from the north. They lived a simple life and as I got to know them, I gained a respect for the intensity of their faith,which seemed to pervade the household. Still I thought this dramatic test of faith a bit misguided, and did not accept an invitation to the service.

Jason said...

Signs Following!

Chip Ahoy said...

That's the Lord's way of saying to the very hard of hearing, "stop it."

William said...

One could argue that the intensity of their faith pays dividends in other ways. However, early death trumps most arguments.

phx said...

Aren't you surprised the snake didn't die?

snakeman said...

When it is all looked at from afar, I can say with authority the priest may have benefitted from a few snake handling courses and then would have probably had the good sense to deal with the reptile and it's potential bites more appropriately.