michal kalina was joking.
in some churches, people still use old languages when repeating well known parts of the service that most people don't understand.
one example is in the russian orthodox church, where they use 'church slavonic' (very old type of russian) instead of proper russian.
he is suggesting that this is just as useful as speaking in tongues (that is; not useful).
i have written a 3 page reply to the original post!
i will spare you by summarising it (yes, this is the short version!), but if anyone wants to know more about my experience, please let me know.
i thank the other posters for distinguishing between xenoglossia and glossolalia, which are very diffferent.
when i used to do glossolalia (and i think it is the same for many protestant Christians who do it), it was an expression of love for God, and it replaced using the mind to pray. it was an elaborate type of moaning and groaning. for me, it was a sort of baby babble; an extension of how many small children pretend to talk, long before they know more than one or two meaningful words.
i started using glossolalia at the age of 6, soon after becoming Christian; my parents having converted from atheism shortly before. as i grew older and wanted to copy other people in the church, i started to pray like them. this was a conscious effort; it does not come ‘by itself’ despite how much people may insist that it does.
but because the learnt baby babble (glossolalia) was similar to my spontaneous childhood baby babble, i reasoned that this must therefore be a gift from God.
i always knew there was no strong theology to support it; just experience, but i did not want to doubt my experience. i believed like this until i became orthodox, which is when i changed this view.
soon after i joined the orthodox church, i realised that the ecstatic baby babble i had been using for prayer was completely insufficient to express my closer and more beautiful relationship with God. within a few months it had disappeared, replaced by a regular disciplined prayer time, using set prayers to lead the way into spontaneous prayers.
i found my emotions soon came into line with my rythmical, regular, structured prayer life and i became much calmer, but also more deeply happy.
the baby babble was replaced with a deep secure love which was confidently able to express itself in normal language; i am convinced that the best way to know God is through the teaching and life of the orthodox church.
i don’t just believe this because of my own experience, but because the theology of the church makes sense, and because i have seen the faithful witness of our dear church fathers and teacher who have gone before us; leaving a good pattern to imitate.
surely this is what is meant by hebrews 13:7 ‘remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct’.
so, in summary, i think there are 3 types of ‘speaking in tongues’.
1. baby babble.
this a bit like in romans 8:26: ‘…the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered’. it is used by small children and also by adults in times of deep emotional stress. this verse is often used as the Biblical basis for glossolalia, but there is no evidence in church history that it was ever interpreted this way by the early church.
it should not always be assumed that baby babble (moanings and groanings) is false and lacking in spirituality, but the baby babble does usually (in charismatic settings) lead to…
as defined by the other posters above – made up repeated syllables copied from others that is sometimes a genuine expression of a relationship with God and sometimes just deceit.
again as defined above – the ability to understand or speak in a language not learnt. this is usually spiritual, and can be a gift of God or from the other side.
as 1 corinthians 14:33 explains: ‘God is not the author of confusion but of peace…’ so this is not something we should especially crave, as saint paul explains, but instead we should desire love (1 corinthians 13) and not be full of pride (1 timothy 6:4).
then, after our lives are more pure and we leave anger, bitterness and the love of money and become full of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness (1 timothy 6:11), God may choose to allow us to experience xenoglossia, as then we will remain humble and realise it is only a sign of His love, not of our greatness.
so we should not actively seek xenoglossia, and certainly not glossolalia, but rather we should ‘not become sluggish (lazy), but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises’ (hebrews 6:12); in other words our church fathers who have handed down the Christian faith to us and whose life stories we know from history.
as for being 'slain in the spirit', it is a similar emotional experience that is sometimes linked to a genuine religious experience, (often mixed with some hysteria) and sometimes completely lacking in spiritual use. i have experienced both types.
for those who have experienced these things, i want to point out that orthodoxy teaches something deeper and more beautiful, so you will loose nothing in coming to the orthodox church. for those who want only to laugh at the emotionally delicate, i want to point out that you never know how much is genuine, so it is unwise to judge. it is wise to stay away from it yourself, but labeling all charismatics as hysterical and fake will not help them to understand how to have a deeper relationship with God.
may God guide us and protect us, and glory be to God forever.