Lloyd-Jones the Welshman
Murray opens up the chapter with these words:
The controlling principles by which ML-J lived were not Welsh, but in a thousand secondary things he was Welsh through and through and proud to be so. While he condemned ‘carnal nationalism’, and regarded any idea that nationality continues in heaven as ‘dangerous speculation’, he also rejected the idea that because a person is a Christian he should lose his national identity, or change his temperament, or leave the culture into which he was born. ‘Greek and barbarian, male and female’, do not cease to be what they are by nature when they are made one in Christ. Just as the variations between individuals are not removed by regeneration, so the differences between national groupings and national characteristics remain among believers.
Welsh was the language in which Martyn almost always spoke and wrote to Bethan. He read Welsh newspapers and listened to Welsh radio. He deplored the Welshman who deliberately tried to lose his accent, regarding it as the attitude of a serf wanting to please his English masters.
Perhaps it is in his letters to his mother, written to her in London when he is on holiday in Wales, that the depth of his interest in his native background comes out. These letters are often so full of things Welsh—relatives, farms, agricultural shows and so on—that it scarcely seems possible that he ever lived anywhere but in a rural locality (Murray, 273-274).
Furthermore, Murray describes the ways in which Lloyd-Jones retained his Welsh culture in his day to day life. He says, "Welsh was the language in which Martyn almost always spoke and wrote to Bethan. He read Welsh newspapers and listened to Welsh radio." In his most intimate relationship, ML-J spoke and wrote in Welsh. This is telling and informative. With the person he was most comfortable with, his wife, Lloyd-Jones spoke that which was most comfortable to him--his native Welsh language. During the most common daily activities, reading the newspaper and listening to the radio, ML-J preferred to read and hear Welsh. He not only spoke and wrote in Welsh, read Welsh newspapers, listened to Welsh radio, but he also preached in Welsh when the context called for it. I do not think I am making too much of this. I find that when I am with my wife I'll let my tongue "loosen up" a bit. I speak English, of course, but a different flavor. We often try to think of phrases or words unique to our area and then repeat them to one another. Our room often echoes with the sound of that good old mountain music called bluegrass. There is something about our home culture that never leaves us, nor should we seek to rid ourselves of it. It is more than just a characteristic. It is a reminder of the providence of God and in his providence there is comfort.
Next, Murray points out that ML-J "deplored the Welshman who deliberately tried to lose his accent, regarding it as the attitude of a serf wanting to please his English masters." I find it quite funny that I perceived myself to have no accent prior to moving outside the mountains. But I did and I was most surprised when the kind folks of Louisville and elsewhere around me began to point it out. I felt like Peter, in the midst of his denial of the Lord Jesus, "After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, 'Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you'" (Matt. 26:73). My accent betrayed me. I could not hide my vowel gliding or whatever else characterizes mountain speech. Although ML-J spent a majority of his life ministering in London, carrying out his pastoral duties in English, he still "deplored the Welshman who deliberately tried to lose his accent." I concur with the Doctor, as he was called. I take great pride in my accent. For many, the temptation to throw of the accent is strong because of the popular association in people's minds of the Appalachian accent and ignorance. So many become the serfs of the Standard American English (SAE) masters. Others code switch depending upon their context, using SAE in their academic circles, for example, and switching to their native accent when around family. So do I deplore the Appalachian who deliberately tries to lose his accent? Maybe deplore is too strong of a word, but I do look upon this decision with questions. When one casts aside their accent, they are casting aside more than pronunciation. They are casting aside history, culture, and, in a real sense, identity.
Finally, Murray notes of Lloyd-Jones, "Perhaps it is in his letters to his mother, written to her in London when he is on holiday in Wales, that the depth of his interest in his native background comes out. These letters are often so full of things Welsh—relatives, farms, agricultural shows and so on—that it scarcely seems possible that he ever lived anywhere but in a rural locality." In closing, if you are from the mountains of Appalachia, I would encourage you to read about your region. There are plenty of books available discussing the general history of the region, cultural traits, important events, religion, etc. Do not think that just because you grew up there that you know everything about the place. I can assure you that you do not. Be interested in your region's past. History is the story of God's providence, not of chance causes and chance effects. Maybe our children will say of us, "It scarcely seems possible that he ever lived anywhere else but in the mountains."