Book Club

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Salvation on Sand Mountain Questions

I am starting to write down some of the questions I have about Salvation on Sand Mountain.  I hope others will add their own questions here, too.  In fact, we don't have to wait to start discussing.  If you have some thoughts on a question asked, go ahead and post them, too.

One of the first descriptions of snake handling is on page 43.  "It makes you feel different.  It's just knowing you got power over them snakes."  This is a little different than the very first description on page 3; Uncle Ully describes snake handling as a connection to the Holy Spirit.  Asked why some people get bit, he answers, "In that situation, somebody must have misjudged the Spirit."  How do you compare their descriptions of snake handling with Jesus' temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11)? 

Pages 79-80 describe one of the most interesting spiritual experiences in the entire book and there is no snake handling in it at all!  In this moment, an unexpected duet of tongue-speaking and tambourine-playing, the author goes from being an outsider to "Brother Dennis."  Long before, he had warned about "inevitable treachery" between journalist and subject (p. 20).  Indeed, throughout the book, you sense that the people are being drawn powerfully together while simultaneously pushing each other away violently.  Is the "unnerving intimacy" he describes connected to all the personal divisions we see throughout the chronicle?


Book Club Meeting Times

The first meeting for Book Club will be September 23 at noon.  Light lunch will be provided.

Future meetings of Book Club will follow church on the last Sunday of the month.

We'll discuss the book of the month while fellowshipping over a light meal.

Book Club Begins

The Holy Cross Book Club begins reading Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington.  This book introduces us to Appalachian snake handling churches.  I don't think any of us wants to start snake handling at Holy Cross!  Rather, reading respectfully about about these Christians opens up discussions about what it means to worship, to understand the Bible, and to be strangers in a strange land (1 Peter 2:11-12; Hebrews 11:13).  We'll meet once a month to discuss a book in person.  In the meantime, questions, thoughts, and nominations for the next book can all be posted in this space.