Fits, Trances, & Visions

I just started Ann Taves’ Fits, Trances, & Visions and my mind is blown. Blown. Blown. I stopped to write this because I am enjoying the anticipation of reading more of it.

The thing I am most shocked about is that, in the introduction alone, I basically felt like I found my own religious transformation given historical context and… yeah… I’m not doing anything new.

I also feel like Methodist history is a lot more interesting than we were lead to believe in confirmation class. We just glossed right over the “fits, visions, and trances” part.


So, Davis-Kidd is closing and people are bummed. I, personally, am not bummed. I know this is because of my deprived childhood, but we didn’t have bookstores nearby. If we went to the mall, I might sometimes get to go into B. Dalton or Waldenbooks, but I could rarely buy anything because that’s what the library was for.

Fair enough. Though I got plenty of books as presents, so someone was driving into the “city” to get them.

And, I’ll admit, I loved the big box bookstores when they came into being. I mean, I am pretty sure the first time I walked into a Barnes & Noble, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

And then there was

You didn’t have to go anywhere to get books. You just came home, no matter where in the United States home was, and there they were.

And now, you don’t even have to go home. You can just pull your iPhone out of your pocket.

Granted, no author is going to make an author appearance on your iPhone, but damn, it’s amazing.

It’s sad that Davis-Kidd is closing. But the reason why is a pretty spectacular life improvement for a lot of people.

The Other “Anti-Choice” Shoe

We are, of course, supposed to believe the “pro-life” people when they claim to be “pro-life” or else we are big meanies and hateful commies. But then the “pro-life” folks in Tennessee start declaring that some babies shouldn’t get birth certificates and some mothers shouldn’t have access to pre-natal care and some babies shouldn’t even really fall under the 14th Amendment, and you start to realize, this really isn’t about being “pro-life” at all.

If Stacey Campfield were genuinely pro-life, he would not back measures that make it harder to get babies health care.

But he is not pro-life. His stance towards babies he doesn’t like is proof.

What he is is anti-choice. He doesn’t believe you should have the choice to abort a pregnancy and he doesn’t believe other women should have the choice to have children. He believes the state should decide which women are allowed to have children and which aren’t.

He can say what he wants, but that’s the only thing that makes sense of his position of denying birth certificates and health care to some babies.

He’s a eugenicist. He wants more babies of the “right” kind and fewer babies of the “wrong” kind and he’s willing to use the weight of the state to make that happen.

And he’s not alone.

Edited to add: I also have to say that this–“Todd later told the AP he prob­a­bly should have used the phrase ‘anchor baby’ instead.”–doesn’t even make any sense. “They can go out there like [anchor babies] and mul­ti­ply then, I guess” is what he thinks he should have said? It’s laughable on its face. Dude’s an asshole. One wonders how he’d like it if his family was compared to disease carrying vermin. And don’t even get me started on the historical context of this kind of nonsense.

But it makes sense of why “pro-life” doesn’t apply to brown baby citizens, doesn’t it? Todd and Campfield can’t quite see them as human.

Edited one last time for added snark: I can’t wait to see how Oatney tries to spin this into proving what a great humanitarian Campfield is.

I Did Not Read a Whole Book, That I Liked!

I am done reading Cox’s Body and Soul. I didn’t read the whole thing. I skipped the end of a chapter I thought was boring and I skimmed his chapter on Indian Spirits because I lost interest.

I cannot begin to tell you how strange this is. I liked the book. I just didn’t want to read it all. And so I didn’t.

Never in my life have I, for pleasure, just read the parts of a book I wanted to. If I opened up your first page, I was in to the last page. I was diligent. I was thorough. And then I read for my job and I couldn’t read for fun at all.

But slowly, it’s coming back. And, as it returns, I’m learning some new stuff–like you can just read the parts of a book that hold your interest.

So, I will say that the parts of Cox’s book that are interesting to me are really interesting. You might find the stuff on Indian spirit guides interesting as well, I just didn’t.

Obviously, I really liked the sleep-preachers. But I also really enjoyed and am mulling over his chapter on Black Spiritualists. He discovered two things that caught my attention–one is that the Southern states with the highest reported rate of Spiritualists were Louisiana and Tennessee, in that order. I don’t think it can be any coincidence that the two centers for urban voodoo/hoodoo (I use the slash not because they’re the same thing, but to indicate a continuum of spiritual beliefs along that axis that I’m not going into right now) in the South, at least in this part, are New Orleans and Memphis.

So, yeah, I wish he’d spent as much time going into the Tennessee end of things as he did going into the Louisiana end, but his stuff on the Creole (used in this case to mean free blacks who had French roots) Spiritualists in New Orleans is really interesting. And yes, these Spiritualist circles were operating at the same time Marie Laveau had her ministry.

Whew, that seems ripe for looking into–Cox makes the Spiritualist circles out to seem mostly lead by men. And Laveau obviously was not. So, then you wonder if that means anything. You wonder if Spiritualism sat side-by-side with Catholicism as easily as voodoo did?

Well, lots of stuff to wonder about.

But I have to get in the shower.