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Monday, July 14, 2008

'Gadd’ and the tongues in church!!


Drama unfolded in the old days of the Jews. On the plain of Shinar in Babylonia, Noah’s descendants burnt the midnight oil planning to pay the ‘Man Upstairs’ an incognito visit.

They were somewhat tired of being ruled by someone they could not see, and began erecting a skyscraper that would take them to the gate of God.

More amused than angered, the mighty Jehovah stood on his balcony, smiled a little and suddenly, they began babbling among themselves in previously unknown languages: Rukiga, Latin, American English, Kiswahili, Greek, Luganda etcetera.
It’s known today as the Towel of Babel fiasco. Prior to that, so it’s recorded in Genesis 11, the world enjoyed a common language, not the endless dialects that confuse us today.

“Do you hear wharram sayin” is the question! Very interesting is that this lingo has found itself in church and seduced our musical “celebs” like Ragga Dee whom we hear in Mbawe going on excitedly, “My God my Lord my Gaddi…!”
And “Amen” has become “Eme!”

Pastors cry out, “Ken (can) sambaddy (somebody) give Gadd a high five!” and when it comes to the spoken English language, Christians are really kool. Their accents when they say the precious prayers! God now becomes ‘Guard’ possibly because He guards our hearts.

In high school, the born-again brothers spoke for us whenever we visited girls’ schools because we “was” (saved “Gs” have no “were” in their vocab) ashamed of our Runyankole accents. Men!!! The Jesus brothers “was” kool when they opened their mouths and poured out their Gadd-anointed “lyrics!”

Then came the tongues! “Them” folks have certainly forgotten nothing about Acts 2 when a few days after Jesus’ resurrection, the believers that had gathered in a prayer room heard a sound from heaven like “the roaring of a mighty windstorm” above them, before what looked like “flames or tongues of fire” appeared and rested on them. They instantly spoke fluently in “other languages!” so much that the godly Jews were bewildered to hear their own language being spoken by strangers.

“How can this be?” they exclaimed. “Are not all these speaking Galilean, and yet we hear them in our native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya toward Cyrene, visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs…we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”
God must be a linguist! From the Tower of Babel to this experience that came to be known as Pentecost! It is said that the Jews were amazed and perplexed (two strong words) and asked themselves, “What can this mean?”

I’ve heard it said that God offends the mind to reveal the heart. When we human beings can’t understand and explain a thing, we usually get offended. This day saw offended Jews who made fun of the tongue-speakers and hollered, “They have had too much wine, that’s all!”

Tongues in Pentecostal churches! Tongues! I’ve been to many overnight prayers in these churches and speaking in tongues is the hallmark of these prayers. Only they don’t speak like they are speaking Greek or Latin. It is words like “Bara ka rabe…santa ra kaba (not Santa Anzo)!”

With curiosity, I’ve discovered that these languages are used as a prayer language. They call them tongues of angels. A language God understands. So, when you speak in tongues, you are speaking to God, not human beings. Probably these tongues are what caused the “worldlings” (non born-agains) to cry foul. Haven’t you heard the complaints about “noise” from “Balokole on Friday nights?”

I stay in a noisy neighbourhood (disco until dawn) but no one ever complains. Well, maybe because “we” understand the language disco speaks – so we “aint” offended! But tongues! Oh my Gadd, the loud tongues! “Yah rwa basha nda ka ra…hallellujah somebaddy give preyz in tha house of Gaaaaaaadd!!!”

--Sunday Monitor, July 13, 2008