by Joey Davis
When I was working for South Central Bell, I had the opportunity to travel all over the United States to classes and seminars. My favorite place to visit had to be the midwest...Columbus, Chicago, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The people in these cities seemed so friendly. I know, you're thinking, "Chicago...friendly?" Yes, even Chicago!
After traveling to the midwest a few times, a fellow classmate who lived in the area, drew my attention to the fact that every waitress in the restaurant was taking their turn serving our table. And they were all asking me unusual questions. I thought it was my good looks and charm that attracted them to the table.
My friend said, "Good looks and charm? Get real! It's your accent!" He was right. It seems that these folks were willing to give me good service in exchange for a slice of Southern dialect.
When I found out that this is what was getting me served, I began speaking with my phoniest and thickest Southern drawl. Usually, after a few visits, one of the waitresses would finally ask, in her best midwestern accent... "aa youse frum Tyexess?" (Southern translation: Y'all from Texas?) "No, Tennessee."
I realize that I do not have the classic southern drawl, but it's not because I am trying to hide the fact that I'm from the South.
I'm proud of being a Southerner and realize that my accent is part of the definition of who I am.. .and if it gets me all of the bread and iced tea I need in Yankee restaurants, that can only be a plus!... .
. ...Peter had trouble denying Jesus. A bystander recorded in Matthew 26:73 puts it this way, "Surely, you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away." They could tell by Peter's accent that he had been with Jesus. The way he spoke and the things he said (and didn't say) gave away the fact that he belonged to the Master. His rich Galilean dialect told his story loud and clear. Just from hearing Peter, they knew he had been with Jesus...
...We are part of a diverse congregation and brotherhood. Just walking through our building on any given Sunday morning you can hear Southern, Midwestern, and Northern dialects. They could be disguised, but why? Our accents tell the world of our heritage.
But does your speech give you away when it comes to being a Christian? Can people listen to you and say, "He/She has been with the Master?" Can people know of your Christian heritage by what you do and don't say? Do you hide the Galilean part of your accent? If so, why? May the world know we belong to Him by what we say! Let your accent tell the world of your heritage.
March 6, 1996
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