Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Dance...

A friend recently shared an interesting debate she encountered while organizing a dance for a Christian education institution, apparently there was some question regarding the music. Specifically, someone asked if Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” would be inappropriate. I mean she's a PK, right?

I don’t know, would it be inappropriate for an institution that advocates abstinence, purity, and combatting an “oversexed” culture to sponsor an event where Christian boys and girls dance together to a song discussing teenage romance, co-ed road trips, drinking, sex, and skinny jeans?

Hm, let’s pray about it.

But, honestly, this issue bothered me more than it should have. I suspect because I love dancing and…and I listen to Katy Perry.

Sure she celebrates kissing girls and wearing daisy dukes, but her music is fun--yes, it is--and who can hate on the song Firework?

This came up again on Easter when my brother broke out his recently acquired a Kinect and, with it, the game Dance Central. A group of Christians celebrating Resurrection Day by spending the afternoon dancing to Lady Gaga, Soulja Boy, Lil Wayne, and Pitbull.

Oh, and my 5 year old niece got in on the action too.


But, oh man, we had a good time.

Maybe it's just me, I am, after all, a dirty girl with a potty mouth, but it has never sat well with me that, if I wanted to dance, I had to go outside the auspices of Christianity to do it. And widely outside of it.

The unfortunate truth is that I wouldn’t be comfortable playing this game with certain groups of my church friends.

(Not because I’m afraid I’ll look stupid, I’m an awesome dancer; I have Shaun-T and my Hip Hop Abs dvd)

I think the breakdown occurs when we equate dancing with sex and then, in turn, equate sex with sin (another conversation for another day).

But this doesn't have to be.
Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. Exodus 15:20
And David danced before the LORD with all his might… Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD… 2 Sam 6:14, 16
In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:6
Maybe the question shouldn’t be, “is dancing a bad thing?” but rather, “Why don’t we dance around here?”

Maybe it’s time for The Church to reclaim the art of the dance (cue Spanish guitar riff).

I’m not exactly sure how to do that. The truth is, I can’t think of a lot of Christian dance music, though I think David Crowder could be a contender. Even so, I just can’t imagine shaking my booty to DCB the way I can to Lady Gaga. And I do like to shake it. I’m talking, like-a-polaroid-picture, shake it.

(It’s the timbrels, we need more timbrels...)

I’m hoping that I simply led a sheltered existence, are there churches wherein dancing is a thriving part of worship and fellowship? Where are they so I can start attending?

What do you think?
  1. Why are we afraid to dance in the church
  2. Which Christian artist would you dance to?
Church Music - Dance[!]
Church Music - Dance[!]


Because God likes thinks its funny to make an idiot out of me approximately three seconds after I posted this, someone mentioned Beckah Shae. I was pretty cynical because I don't have a lot of faith in Christian female artists (I know, sorry) but I'd dance to this. Virtuously!

It was also a huge oversight not to mention tobyMac, the patriarch and, arguably, the MVP of Christian hip hop.
(this is for you, Whit)


  1. For me, the fear comes from disapproval of parents. I have been married for almost 4 years, but when we go to weddings, I refrain from getting on the dance floor because I know it will offend them. I really wanted dancing at my wedding, but again, that just wasn't possible, especially with my parents paying for the wedding.

    I have taken a ballroom dance class with my husband and we both loved it, but I still feel funny doing it........maybe because as a child and teen, it was so ingrained in me that it was wrong.

  2. I know exactly what you mean! Its incredibly how strong those childhood influences can be!

    Christian weddings are always interesting. People think its sweet when the bride and groom or the parents or older couples dance but if the "kids" get out there things start getting immoral fast.

    It makes me sad that we have yielded this ground. Dancing, like singing, is hardwired into how we express ourselves. There's a reason it is so fun and freeing! For some, it is as essential as breathing, worshipful even.

    In fairness, you can't pretend that "sexual immorality" suddenly doesn't exist on a dance floor. Even ballroom dances can get racy especially latin dances ;) I just we didn't jump ship altogether.

  3. A few years back when I was in search of a church home I went to a DecemberRadio concert, and it was so much fun jumping up and down and dancing and praising Jesus all at the same time, and I seriously told God I would love to find a church that was like a rock concert...low and behold, the following Sunday a friend and I visited a church (a mennonite church of all things), and God answered my prayers :)

    I love my church because we have a good mix of contemporary, the occassional hymn, and there is always atleast one or two songs in worship that you will find the congregation jumping up and down and rocking out to. I also love that our worship is long...about 45 min. usually.

    I remember when I was young I went to a church that did not believe in dancing, and I would come home and make up dance routines to D.C Talk and Out of Eden, Kirk Franklin, etc.

    Sorry to make this into the longest comment ever, but I think dancing is something wonderful that God gave us to use within the right context (like sex), and the world has made it something else. We need to reclaim it :)

  4. Rebecca,
    "Long comment" are you kidding? I love that stuff! I consider 2 paragraphs a "short" comment ;)

    That's awesome about your church, it's crazy how worship can be such a divisive issue in the church! Seriously, I think the top 3 causes of church splits must be affairs, predestination theology, and worship style. Is there a WRONG way to worship God? Do my weird dance moves shame Him?

    Maybe it is because we are so uncomfortable with expressing ourselves publicly, or maybe we're all just bad dancers :)

    P.S. When I was 12, a friend and I choreographed a gymnastics routine to DC Talk's "In the Light," ( & no I'm not a gymnast, I was terrible!).