While it might sound like gibberish to the untrained ear, there are actually two varieties of tongue-speaking among Pentecostals, according to Peter Marina, visiting assistant professor of sociology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.
He spent four years doing ethnographic research at a small Pentecostal church in Brownsville, an impoverished neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. He chronicled his experience in an upcoming book called Getting the Holy Ghost: Experiences in An American Tongue-Speaking Church.
Recently, a lecture he gave on the topic was featured in the Riverfront Times.
“When you speak in tongues,” Marina told the RFT, “you become truly connected to the Holy Spirit. It’s a bridge-burning act. You’ve embraced salvation.”
Click here to read the full RFT article on Marina’s lecture.