When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

02 December 2007

Jesus and Mary on a flapjack

For those of you not of the Southern terroir, Raleigh News and Observer columnist A.C. Snow has some useful thoughts on Protestant Christianity below the Mason-Dixon Line:

There's no doubt but what Southern religion has a distinct flavor, more emotional, and, as skeptics argue, more irrational. It is deeply rooted in unquestioning faith and the power of prayer.

For example, while we were visiting our Florida family at Thanksgiving, the St. Petersburg Times reported that a woman in nearby Port St. Lucie had been flipping flapjacks made from a $1.25 package of mix from Wal-Mart when she noticed the image of Jesus and Mary on one of the pancakes.

Promptly posting the pancake on eBay, she soon had an offer of $338 from an Alabama woman who wanted it for a going-away gift to her husband being deployed to Iraq. When the deal fell through, an Illinois man snapped up the pancake for $29.

Could this happen outside the South?

(Well, as the secondary buyer was in Illinois, I'd argue that it *did* happen outside the South in part, and that believers have been seeing images in inanimate objects for untold centuries all over the world, but let's not quibble.)

Snow goes on to observe, however:

Author Flannery O'Connor once aptly described the South as a "Christ haunted land." How true. It still is and will probably remain so. However, pure "Southern religion," as we have known it, like Southern charm, is on the wane.

The South's burgeoning population is becoming more and more diverse, forcing people to accommodate different religious beliefs and forms of worship and, let us hope, leading to a greater degree of religious tolerance.

Southern religion in "Christ-haunted land" (A.C. Snow, The News and Observer, 2 December 2007)

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