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Tall Tales of The Bible Belt

Welcome to the Bible Belt, where pigs talk and bibles fly and burning bushes report the news, sports and weather, not to mention quotes from the American Stock Exchange. And Satan lives just up the street. Drives a red convertible. And angels will give you a lift to church, if you don't have one.

Here is where the child evangelist Billy Bible who by the age of seven saved three thousand souls, and farmers grow vegetables big as houses, so they rented them out. And talking rabbits travel the Appalachian Trail preaching the gospel in small country churches, possums will read your fortune. We got singing bears, the ghost of Elvis Presley attending Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, Bibles giving birth to children, and an assortment of lamb's tales, cow's tales, pig tales. Farm animals possessed of gifts to spread the gospel.

The Evangelical Spectator particularly enjoyed the one about the church offering plate that floated around the sanctuary of the First Methodist church in Blountville, Tennessee. The offering plate would hover above the congregation and dip to allow tithing. The plate would spin after each contribution and whisper its gratitude. As well, we enjoyed the splendid tales about the Devil. The Devil Bakes A Cake, The Devil and His Chain of Barbecue Rib Restaurants, and The Satan Sings On The Radio.

We should also mention the little known facts collected in "Tall Tales of The Bible Belt." Interesting tidbits like how the Devil hates the rain, snow or any other wet precipitation. It tends to blister his skin. And swimming is entirely out of the question.

In addition, we can't express say enough about how much we like the idea of the Devil being a member of the community. And of course, he is just that. If somebody sees the Devil then why not tell about it. What the Devil does should be of interest to the Christian community. We need to look out for signs that he's coming or has been here.

Atheists, for example, in Virginia have gathered together to form an all-atheist jazz-band, an all atheist baseball team that travels around the country, an all atheist country club and an all atheist bowling team.

To quote a passage from the book, "We think atheists live in high-rise caves. Or they could be cliff-dwellers. We know they eat grass, leaves, insects, rodents, lizards, snakes, rocks and the occasional bag of dirt."

Not to mention the various strange wild flowers observed growing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Zenobia Red Tulip, for example, has the scent of scrambled eggs, and if you're not careful will provoke passersby to spin in circles while reciting scripture. The Wild Orange Mum grows only in east Tennessee, and has a powerful sleep inducing effect on any creature or man causing the rabbit or man to lie down and snore loudly. This would explain why so many men in east Tennessee snore loudly when they go to bed.

As well more incidents of folks walking on water, talking in tongues, a strange and magical foreign and dead languages in praise of the Holy Spirit, often accompanied by wiggling, hooting and rolling on the floor. We were pleased to find the old story of the rabbit raised from the dead and the red-headed truck-stop waitress named Betsy who wrote a bestseller, "I Waited On John The Baptist." And of course, that windstorm that blew through Murfreesboro, Tennessee, traveled on to Nashville and appeared on the Grand Ol' Opry, sang alongside Willie Nelson.

We would mention "Tall Tales of The Bible Belt is the best thing since apple dumplings. It can make you feel so good you think you're at the lake fishing for blue gill. It began as a way for Christians to understand themselves and the greatness of the Bible Belt.

Christians got a sense of humor. They got it like the porcupine's got quills. We know what and why and wherefor. We know the Bible. In our community, we got many small churches that sing hymns so sweet you could make honey.

We got enchanted forests, farms, domestic and wild animals, and mountains on which spirits roam. We Christians try darndest best to strengthen our faith, and convince visitors not be frightened. The heroes and heroines and villains in these parts being the stuff that faith is made frion. A huge and ferocious belief in the Lord.

Some stories got exaggerated. A little, maybe. Faith has a source of power that lends itself to enlightenment and therefore, the pulling of a leg now and again was okay. As long as the truth was behind it, somewhere. Maybe snuck in the back-door. But handy. Tall tale tellers could spin a whole town around. The wildest tall tale fantasy left a taste in the mouth like honey.

The Bible Belt, if the truth be known, is about the most exciting, wonderful and amazing place there is. And then some. We don't know why anyone would leave it.