So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?
Thoughts for Today:Several years ago, the Washington Post published a political cartoon by Pat Oliphant that caused quite a stir in Christian circles. In the cartoon, former Alaskan governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is portrayed as a stereotypical Pentecostal. She's pictured standing at a podium before an enthusiastic crowd, hot-line to God in hand, and saying a bunch of non-words: "...argle bargle glooka slobber...". In heaven, God responds to Palin's prayer language, "Peter, what's wrong with this phone? All I can hear is some right-wing politician spouting gibberish."
When I first saw the cartoon, I actually laughed. However, some of my more serious friends were quite incensed. They said, "How can someone [Oliphant and the Washington Post] be so clueless about a practice that is central to the Pentecostal faith? It's a form of religious discrimination and persecution -- one more attack against Christians." A few days later (due in large part to public outrage), the Washington Post issued an apology.
I think too much was made of the cartoon. Why? Because it reflected nothing more than what Paul says in our passage today -- speaking in tongues makes believers look crazy. Therefore, it's nothing to get upset about. Rather, Oliphant's perspective is one we should not only understand but expect.
Questions to Ponder:Being wronged because of being right is one thing. Being wronged because we're wrong is something else entirely. Paul has given very specific instructions regarding the use of tongues as both a private prayer language and a spiritual gift for personal edification.
A failure to recognize and pay attention to those guidelines leads us into the type of situation we experienced a few years ago related to Oliphant's cartoon. How does it happen? Because some in the church misuse or misunderstand the gift of tongues. And as a result, non-believers think we are out of our minds. When a non-believer looks at the witness of your life, do they think you are crazy? Is it for the right reasons or the wrong ones?