Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Spiritual Arm-twisting

Emphatically, I would like to dispute against your notion that “speaking in tongues” is within the category of “contemplation” even though I would not argue against the origin or the nature of glossolalia that you mentioned.

In short, an act of “speaking in tongues” is, I think, an antithetical to contemplation per se, and I would rather go further defining “glossolalia” an antonym of contemplative practice.

In the first place, two words, glossolalia and contemplation, are, by nature and by definition, describing utterly opposite means…in their attempted desire to meet a god, the former is demonstrated by an unintelligible words and unrestrained display of ecstatic movement and the latter is almost and always non-active and without words.

As glossolalia is derived from Greek, glossa (tongue) and lalia (to talk), a person engaging in glossolalia relies constantly on foreign, gibberish, meaningless, or unintelligible tongues “in order to aspire to get in touch with god” (to borrow from your words).

On the contrary, the contemplatives employ the form of meditative prayer like a close relationship between two friends who can sit enjoying each other’s company.

It seems utterly bizarre to read that you are eager to incorporate glossolalia into the realm of contemplative life…


You may put “speaking in tongues” as one of the components of worship traditions, as contemplative prayer, flagellation, fasting, and other physical pains have been accepted to various religious groups a modus operandi to achieve a goal to meet god.

Would glossolalia become more respectable, honorable, intelligent, scholastic, or civilized methods in search of god, if it were classified a contemplative prayer?

In the secular society, gibberish utterance is referred to self-hypnoticism, schizophrenia, hysteria, or dementia that require the engaging person receiving the clinical treatment if he or she shows psychopathic symptoms.

In other words, an extraordinary level of engaging glossolalia may be construed an act of craziness possibly harming others life.
I personally witnessed long time ago that one of my friends had gone in delirium after attending the two-week sessions of Christian revival service, destroying all of his belongings and finally tried to harm his sister with a sharp object, and he was placed into the psychiatric ward permanently.

Imagine two groups, one sitting on a hemp mat dressed in white robes or saffron meditates opening their mind without any preconceptions to the truth, while another jumping and gyrating up and down with no constraint, hollering the gibberish and rolling on the floor along the guidance of a charismatic leader…it’s beyond anyone’s imagination that two are on the same boat.

Yes! They are on the route to meet a god, but their paradigms to achieve their goal are quite different from each other.

Therefore, I think that an attempt to incorporate glossolalia into the category of contemplation is like “spiritual arm-twisting” in order to elevate and exalt “gibberish” up to a pedestal where the contemplatives have been enjoying for centuries.

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