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Today in weird internet news, Twitter user @nuns_on_film shared a video featuring what seems to be a Pentecostal preacher speaking in tongues while checking his phone. Making the scene even more confusing he appears to be sitting at a restaurant table, with a waiter’s tattooed arms coming into view to wipe and bus the table while the preacher speaks a mixture of English and nonsense into his microphone.
This video of a preacher checking his phone while speaking in tongues is my favorite video on the internet right now pic.twitter.com/I9iqZpCQmF— deathray (@nuns_on_film) October 1, 2019
Thickening the plot even further is the fact that, according to a lot of Twitter users with a background in Pentecostal and charismatic churches, this isn’t actually what speaking in tongues sounds like. Speaking in tongues, known as glossolalia, consists of words that are either from no known language or a language unknown to the speaker. While some of what the preacher, identified as televangelist and Pentecostal minister Perry Stone, is saying appears to be from an unknown language, the fact that most of it is in English has even led some Twitter users like @TellUsWhy2017 to accuse him of faking it:
Except this isn’t how it sounds when people are truly speaking in tongues. He’s exhorting (badly) but he’s also speaking English. Praying in tongues, the language of the Holy Spirit, is only understood & translated by the person speaking it. It isn’t in English. So he’s faking.
Except this isn't how it sounds when people are truly speaking in tongues. He's exhorting (badly) but he's also speaking English. Praying in tongues, the language of the Holy Spirit, is only understood & translated by the person speaking it. It isn't in English. So he's faking.— therealquestioniswhy (@TellUsWhy2017) October 2, 2019
I grew up Catholic and then my parents converted to Pentecostal Christian and this is the most unmotivated speaking-in -tongues I've ever seen. I respect the non-hustle.— Robi-Ann Doyle (@doyle1020) October 1, 2019
I was never near a holy roller church and I know this is not speaking in tongues. Sound more like my uncle Fred when he was constipated and finally got some relief.— Mike Carson ⚓Go Navy⚓ (@MikeCarzmightyq) October 2, 2019
Google Translate Holy Spirit!? #BaptistFrown— Calumet Dundee (@Chet_Kincaid) October 2, 2019
Prompting some real cynicism about the charismatic churches and religion in general in the responses.
how to explain the relationship between religion and modernity in one video https://t.co/v5XqzsSD9w— hannah gais (@hannahgais) October 2, 2019
Total misunderstanding of the gospels, when the apostles were given the power to speak in tongues, it was the ability to speak in all languages not muttering gibberish, it would be funny if not for the amount of money these preachers take from trusting followers.. shameful.— Paul Buckley (@PaulBuc31614268) October 2, 2019
The definition of phoning it in to God— Robi-Ann Doyle (@doyle1020) October 1, 2019
However, given that Stone appears to be in a restaurant, it seems unlikely that he’s delivering a sermon.
Sir, this is an Olive Garden.— Tim Bowers (@TimBowers62) October 2, 2019
Begging the question, what is he actually doing? Twitter had some very uncharitable suggestions, including @GraterTrent’s cheeky zinger: “I’m pretty sure he was reading that he was about to lose tax exempt status…”
This has to be a joke. Right?— SRM (@stacey_madsen) October 2, 2019
MSG: Honey, can you pick up eggs on your way home from having your televised seizure?! Tx. Kisses— Jeffrey Foster ⏪ (@JWFoster2013) October 2, 2019
I’m pretty sure he was reading that he was about to lose tax exempt status...— Trent Grater (@GraterTrent) October 2, 2019
It turns out the video was originally uploaded to Stone’s own church YouTube account, and while it’s since been taken down, an article by Hemant Mehta on Patheos claims that it’s a recording of a prayer meeting being led by Stone. Why this appears to be taking place in a restaurant and why Stone continues scrolling through his phone throughout remain unanswered, however. The Daily Dot has reached out to Mr. Stone and his team for an explanation.
God Texted him LOL— BuckSatan (@_HypoLuxa_) October 1, 2019
They don't know he's also auctioning off the poor souls of his parishioners bidding for salvation.— Fernando Sanjérrez (@greatindoorsmen) October 1, 2019
Jesus sent him a text?— Return of the Palmpilot (@MPalmpilot) October 2, 2019
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org