One of my friends was asking me about speaking in tongues… this, is a little of my personal experience with it…
I mentioned before about how we switched churches a few times when I was a kid… Starting off Baptist, and then each change leading to a more jubilant Pentecostal/Full Gospel type. We were at one in particular from the time I was about 7 or 8 – until I was about 14 yrs old. I went in there a wide-eyed, full blown Baptist believer kid… and left a skeptical and somewhat bitter teen.
I’ll never forget my first Sunday at that church. The pastor was Italian and screamed constantly. People clapped and shouted “hallelujah!”, raising their hands and yelling “AMEN!” here and there. I was shocked and scared. I felt like I had entered the twilight zone. Surely, my mom wouldn’t like THIS noisy place. Wrong. My mom loved it and promptly made us members.
At this church, speaking in tongues was the norm. My mother claimed, she was already a believer of it, and that was a big reason she left the Baptist church. She was right. Why, she was really good at this game! I was impressed. She could speak in tongues in over 30 languages!
It wasn’t too long before I started feeling pressured too. Each service, they had alter calls.. and even though I was already “saved”, they also encouraged anyone to come front who the lord was speaking to and needed prayer. I remember wondering, “is God talking to ME??”. I didn’t think I heard anything… and I didn’t WANT to go forward, but, felt like I SHOULD… to make Mom happy… or the pastor. The pastor sounded so needy… “You KNOW who you are! The LORD wants you to come forth. Please, just come forward”. I wish I would have listened to my gut, and stayed put in my pew… but, something else made me feel like I needed to do whatever they were telling me God wanted me to do. Who the hell was I to argue with God???
So, at the ripe age of about 8 or 9, I blurted out my first sentence in tongues. Probably more of a whisper… I closed my eyes… raised my hand… swayed with the music… and let it rip, “ah sha ka al lee do ja boara! (or insert gibberish here)”. Hmmmm?? That wasn’t so hard. And, wow… I did feel hot! Was that the holy spirit? or just my immense embarrassment?? Whatever it was, it sure made mom proud. And, it wasn’t like I was alone. Nope, now I belonged. So, I did it – but, only ever so often to keep up appearances. LOL. I never really felt comfortable doing it though. Some part of me always knew it was me… putting on a show.
Eventually, I also fell down on purpose too… so that I could be “slain in the spirit”. Again… every one else was dropping like flies when the pastor would put his hand to their foreheads and loudly pray of them… in English, and in tongues. So, I decided to let it go… he put his hand on my head… and I’m ashamed to admit that I took a dive. Nope, I’m not proud of it… but, there ya go. The power of peer pressure… or elder pressure in my case. Besides, in my defense, I think the Pastor pushed me.
I think , I stopped doing this by the time I was about, 12. It was too weird… even for an experienced tongue speaker like me.
When I was about 14, we switched to an even more dramatic church. Here, every Sunday one person would break out yelling in tongues while people raised their hands and prayed and swayed… then, there’d be a brief silence… and then, someone else would miraculously KNOW what the first person said! Not only WHAT they said, but, WHO needed the message directly from God. (directly? Well.. sort of)
So, the “interpreter” would walk over to some poor lost soul, (it was always very suspenseful to see WHO was going to get yelled at by God that time), and they would lay their hand on them and say loudly, “and the LORD SAYETH UNTO YOU!!!”, and then proceed to give a big lecture on something. And the person getting the message would cry and thank God for telling them that they were such a loser and needed to change their ways.
I remember wondering why God didn’t just tell the first person what he was saying?
And why did he have to go thru the tongues translator?
Could the person who needed the message not hear him?
And, why didn’t he just tell the first person in ENGLISH what he was saying?
And, how could God be doing these miraculous things – speaking thru Brother Bob over there or whomever, EVERY Sunday? 3 – 4 times sometimes?
And why was it that the one guy that always seemed to know what God was saying, was in my eyes, one of the biggest ex-losers on earth – but, now, all of a sudden he’s “saved” and we were all suppose to take his advice as being GOD’s?? It so happened this was the same way I felt about the “teen leader”. (That guy was just plain creepy!!)
Anyway – just a little reminiscing…
Ahhhhhhhhhh… the good old days… yeah… I miss that.
Okay, I don’t. Not at all. As if? Who needs that kind of craziness in their life? I have ENOUGH to figure out. But, I guess, it would be nice if someone would slay me in the spirit once in a while… I could use a little break – even if it was laying on the floor.