LONDON - During a recent trip to Great Britain, California native Todd Flanter was surprised to discover that nearly everyone there talks exactly like American worship leaders sing.
"I always assumed it was some sign of spirituality that our worship leaders all skipped a lot of consonants and exaggerated the A's," said Flanter, who has attended church regularly since childhood. "You know, saying things like 'yow ah byoo-iff-oh' instead of 'you are beautiful' or 'owpin the aiyze of mah haht, Loahd' instead of 'open the eyes of my heart, Lord.' I just figured it was maybe like a light version of speaking in tongues or something."
Flanter says it was challenging to mentally adjust to hearing the accent everywhere.
"It's weird. Every time someone talked there, I felt like they were about to lead me in worship!" Flanter said. "You know, when they said things like 'moin the gop' (or 'mind the gap,'), I expected them to finish it with 'mind the gap of salvation, Lord' --or something like that!"
"And it doesn't help that they have actual lords there," he added. "So, like, I never knew if they were talking about a regular person, or just praying."
Flanter says there were a few times the worship leader accent was so thick, he prayed for the gift of interpretation.