Thursday, August 10, 2006

They Shall Take Up Serpents

"And these signs shall follow them that believe;
In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

or not.

On Monday morning (Minister John-ed.) O'Kain was riding his bike through a wooded area near the camp's health center when he saw a thick-as-your-wrist rattler, maybe 3 1/2 feet long, sunning itself in the middle of the path.

"I figured the best thing would be to catch it and move it to another part of the mountain, away from the campers."

Good thinking Reverend O'Kain. You just pick up that snake, hop back on your bike, ride to the other side of the mountain, and let it go out of everybody's way. You're going to use your bare hands for that right?

He trapped it and was attempting to pick it up when it bit him near the nail on his right thumb. "It was more of a glancing blow with one fang, at first I couldn't even tell it broke the skin,"

A mere flesh wound.

Within a minute, his lips and face began to tingle.

Probably just the exertion from the ride.

Within three minutes, his arms and legs began to stiffen.

Lactic acid build up and muscle stiffness following an improper cool-down. Just need to walk it off...

In five minutes, his stomach began to cramp and he vomited.

Just something I ate.

In 10 minutes, his lungs and throat began to tighten and he had trouble breathing.

That's not good. Does anyone know how to "lay on hands"?
Emergency personnel gave him anti-venom medication. But because of his breathing problems, doctors had to also perform a tracheotomy. He was in and out of consciousness.

Well, at least he's not one of those guys who rejects science in favor of religious dogma.

Dr. Eric Lavonas, a toxicologist with Carolinas Medical Center, said O'Kain's reaction with breathing problems was extremely rare for a snake bite.

"Snake bites here in North Carolina are not rare. We average more than 400 a year, but mostly copperheads; we're ground zero for copperhead bites," said Lavonas, who also works with the Carolinas Poison Center. "It sounds that if without quick medical care, this man could have certainly died. We have only one or two deaths a year. He's lucky."

First, I'm happy that Reverend O'Kain is all right.

Second, no matter how good your intentions, never pick up a 3 1/2 foot long rattlesnake.

Third, I take this story as strong evidence that The Bible was NOT meant to be taken literally.

The only blog inspired by a Bumper Sticker.

Comments on "They Shall Take Up Serpents"


Blogger RevJohnnyCowboy said ... (8/23/2006 12:44 PM) : 

First, I'm happy Rev. O'Kain is alright, too . . .or I wouldn't be leaving a comment.

Secondly, it's a point well made that good intentions aren't nearly as helpful at moving rattlers as shovels are. I am not, nor do I aspire to be, a snake-handling preacher.

Third, read the redacted ending of Mark how you will, or even Acts 28, to point out where I came up short. It was really more my literal take on Luke 6:31 that made me react in the way that I did.

Fourth, while I am not "one of those guys who rejects science in favor of religious dogma", I will reject scientific dogma in favor of authentic religion. It is relevant to me that the wisest scientists and theologians among us have not found the purposes of science and theology to be contradictory or mutually exclusive. For the way in which your blog encourages that conversation, let me say thanks.


Blogger Pharma Bawd said ... (8/23/2006 4:14 PM) : 

Bravo Reverend O’Kain!

I hope you’re recovering nicely.

“... good intentions aren't nearly as helpful at moving rattlers as shovels are.”
Fantastic! May I quote you on that?

Regarding Luke 6:31: When it comes to rattle snakes and doing unto me, I would have them give me a very wide berth, and not much else! I suggest the same for you in the future, although I suspect I’m not the first to have expressed such sentiments to you by now.

“It is relevant to me that the wisest scientists and theologians among us have not found the purposes of science and theology to be contradictory or mutually exclusive.”

Another great sentiment. I’m sure this experience will be the jumping off point for many great sermons!

Take care.


Blogger RevJohnnyCowboy said ... (8/24/2006 1:41 PM) : 

Thanks, I am recovering nicely. My tracheotomy hole should fully close on it's own in another week or two, and I predict my hand will lose the "pins and needles" feeling in a few more days. As for my judgement, it may be beyond repair. Case in point--I actually paid to see "Snakes on a Plane". Obviously, I'm not thinking clearly yet. But I do feel as abnormal as I ever was. The Charlotte Observer is even going to run a follow-up story on me to say I'm all better.

I leave you with quotes from William James, a respected thinker in both disciplines of Science(Psychology) and Theology. First, "When you have broken the reality into concepts you never can reconstruct it in its wholeness." Secondly, "It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true." Interesting words to chew on.

Finally, James writes this "There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see."

Pleasure blogging with you.


Blogger Pharma Bawd said ... (8/31/2006 7:33 PM) : 

The pleasure's all mine Reverend.
I posted this today:

I understand that your Church, Presbyterian Church USA is a part of the National Council of Churches. I'd be very interested to know what you think of Concerned Women for America's position from a theological point of view. Particularly with regard to Matthew 25:34-46, or any other verses you feel are relevant.



Blogger Pharma Bawd said ... (8/31/2006 7:36 PM) : 


Link won't fit you'll have to reconnect it and paste it in the address bar to take a look.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4/28/2008 1:43 PM) : 

I know this is an old article, but it is also written, "do not put the Lord your God to the test."

This was the response Jesus used to counter Satan's challenge that he should put himself in harms way because scripture said he wouldn't be hurt by falling.


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