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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Foreign Language (12/09/10)

TITLE: Butchered?
By Nancy Bucca
12/11/10


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"See that guy over there in the blue shirt?" whispered the stiff-necked white-as-they-come Caucasian gentleman in the gray business suit to his Chinese business partner - the man with eyes closed, hands raised in worship, voice raised in praise, who happened to be singing to God in perfect English. To the man in gray, that made him the perfectly interruptible American.

"I say," he repeated. "Did you see that guy...?"

"Huh?" whispered the startled worshipper. "I mean, what did you say?"

"The guy over there in the blue shirt."

"What about him?"

"He's of the devil!"

"Why do you say that?"

"He's speaking in tongues, and tongues are of the devil. Didn't you know that? But then, you're from China. You probably don't know anything about speaking in tongues."

Choosing to ignoring the insult, the Chinese man (who happened to be fluent in quite a number of tongues) scooted a little closer to where the man stood two rows ahead and to the right. The whole idea of spying on people during a church service struck him as a bit irreverent, not to mention disruptive to the worship. But his business partner had struck a raw nerve, one that screamed for relief.

He returned to his seat a moment later and nudged his pew mate.

"Well?" whispered the man in gray. "Didn't I tell you that murderer was of the devil?"

"Murderer?"

"Yes - murderer. Because if he isn't butchering the English language, I don't know who is."

"Well, he didn't look like a butcher to me," whispered the Chinese man. "But he was praising Jesus in Arabic."

"You're kidding me!" the man in gray exclaimed under his breath, loud enough to get a poke in the ribs from a fellow parishioner. He carefully lowered his voice. "I was sure he was speaking in tongues!"

"He was," replied the Chinese man. "And Arabic is a tongue."

"But - but - it sounds so much different from American!"

"That's because it's a foreign language."

"Foreign, schmoren! Sounds like a tongue to me."

"That's because a foreign language is a tongue. When people speak in tongues, they're speaking in foreign languages they don't know."

"Well, I still say tongues are tongues and foreign languages are foreign languages. And until somebody shows me otherwise, I'm not budging from my position."

"All right, then," replied the Chinese man. "I'll prove to you that an unknown tongue is the same as a foreign language."

"And just how are you going to do that?"

The Chinese man started speaking his native dialect.

"Hey, I didn't know you spoke in tongues!" exclaimed the man in gray. He received another poke for his uncalled for outburst, along with several angry scowls.

"But I wasn't speaking in an unknown tongue," replied the Chinese man. "That was Cantonese. I've spoken it ever since I was a baby. Where I come from, people speak lots of different languages. They don't assume that just because they don't know a language that it must be of the devil."

"Really?... Oh... Well... I... I don't know what to say," replied the man in gray.

"Then maybe we should just drop the subject and continue worshipping," replied the Chinese man, who wanted to avoid being poked in the ribs if at all possible. To his relief, his business partner agreed with him.

And worship they did, each in his own tongue.

Meanwhile all the demons looking on gnashed their teeth, frustrated and confused at this terrible alien language permeating the room. It was the language of love. Of unity. Of agreement. A language they could neither understand it nor stand under. A language that had brought yet another precious tower of Babel crashing to the ground.

Though completely bewildered and disoriented by this strange language, they weren't about to give up their fight for a one world government unified by the only language they understood - the language of pride. Sharpening their own forked tongues, they hungrily looked about like lions seeking some unsuspecting soul to devour.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Colin Nielsen 12/16/10
Nicely written. Right on topic. And truth spoken with skill. Excellent reading. Thank you for your entry.
Sunny Loomis 12/21/10
Good story. We may not understand each other here, but we will in Heaven. Thank you.
Lollie Hofer 12/22/10
Interesting turn of events in the last two paragraphs. Lots to consider in this story.
Noel Mitaxa 12/22/10
You bring us through some real growth in understanding here, at a human and spiritual level. Very well done.
Troy Manning12/23/10
This discussion of tongues was a different approach than one often hears. I believe tongues were humanly interpretable languages & not the ecstatic utterances one often hears today (& as practiced by some non-Christian religions), though I don't know that this was part of what was being communicated here. I do think you nicely captured the emphasis that such discussions should be undertaken charitably/lovingly. Thanks for the reminder!