All my life, I have been associated with the Methodist church. Methodist churches are generally pretty tame places. The people are friendly, but usually subdued. The sermons are matter-of-fact, and usually subdued. The music is generally mainstream hymns or well-established praise. No surprises.
Well, the subject of speaking in tongues came up the other day with a group of friends. I wondered aloud what would happen if someone began speaking in tongues in our church. After all, it has never happened before. Someone said that EMS would be called and that person would be whisked off to the closest emergency room for treatment of epilepsy.
Someone else opined that most of the congregation would also require treatment. Probably so.
This topic also arose in a comment stream on another blog I follow---"LION'S SHARE MAJESTY". It's an excellent blog that I encourage anyone of faith to explore.
But---what would happen if our sedate Methodist church (we can also include most mainline Christian denominations here) experienced a worshipper's eruption in tongues? I can tell you that it would shake our church to its core.
The problem, of course, is this: it is biblical. It happened in scripture, and more than once. It happened to the disciples (Acts 2), and everyone understood what was being said, even though various "languages" were being spoken. And it happened to others later (1 Cor 14:2 and 1 Cor 14:13---18) when the words were not understood.
Speaking in tongues, also known as "glossolalia", is the vocalization of speech-like syllables in religious practice. Some consider the utterances to be meaningless jibberish. Others firmly assert the practice to be the use of the holy language of God.
It has been said that the practice is a sign of mental illness or hypnosis or a learned behavior. Those who do not practice it are usually at a loss to explain it. Those who do practice it are at a loss to explain why all Christians do not practice it.
But, just once, how I would love to see a few individuals in attendance at our church service who spontaneously erupt in a volcanic explosion of glossolalia. How delicious would that be?