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Grumpy Old People…SLICE Style

Scott on December 6, 2006 at 9:47 pm

Something new over at Slice of Laodicea a breath of fresh air as they take a break from their Warren-Watch and turn to something much more edifying – complaining about how people are doing church! Oh, never mind…I guess they do that every day. I guess that’s life in the trenches of a “watchman ministry.”

This time around, Ingrid and the gang are all bunched up and hyperventilating about the use of dance in church. I’m not here to defend all churches that use dance, dance ministries, “dance worship,” etc. Some use it well and others don’t. I’ve been at some churches where it was really embarrassing to be in the audience, and I’ve been at others where it was really cool (though since dance isn’t my thing, I would probably pass on it in most circumstances).

The post (titled, “Body Worship-The Latest Trend”) and the accompanying comments make Ingrid and her fan club sound like a bunch of old codgers complaining about how the younger folk do things differently, and different is bad! What’s nice, though, is that they spice up their commentary with pious, self-righteous judgments and self-congratulations, which provide a great perspective to the whole thing. Oh, never mind I guess they do that all the time, too. So when it comes down to it, this SLICE post isn’t really anything but the same old thing-bad tasting no matter how you “slice” it.

I especially liked this snarky comment from Ingrid that included this priceless gem:

” our church doesn’t feature pole dancers and such for worship of the Lord. We attend a stodgy sort of church where worship is comprised of Scripture, hymns, preaching of the Word and prayer.”

OK, Ingrid, we get the point. Anything that isn’t like your church is bad, and anything that doesn’t match up to your expectations is bad, and anyone who does things differently than you do is bad. And certainly, any church that is using dance in some way CAN’T be worshipping Biblically and CAN’T be using Scripture and the preaching of the Word properly. And it goes without saying that nobody who dances in church or who supports the use of dance would be prayerful in their Christian life.

Here’s the problem that Ingrid and her Slice-based Inquisition seem to miss. They speak as though dance is bad in church no matter what. It is wrong through and through without exception. At the beginning of the piece, Ingrid describes a recent “experience” she had with her husband:

Not long ago my husband and I were at a Christian high school talent show when six teenage girls in tight low-riders and even tighter t-shirts came out on stage and began dancing to a song called, “When the Spirit Moves”. Let’s just say that all that was moving that night were three immodest and extremely carnal young women, cheered on by the males in the audience, comprised of fathers, brothers and other male peers.

I don’t doubt her word, but I do doubt her perspective. First of all, she begins with 6 girls in tight t-shirts, but then drops that number to 3 “immodest and extremely carnal young women.” Which was it 6 or 3? And were they dancing carnally and immodestly, or were they dancing like the people in the videos she linked to? The people in the videos were certainly dancing, but I don’t think you could point to anything they did during their dances that could be characterized as being “immodest” or “carnal.”

And once again notice her inflamatory slant to the issue:

I didn’t realize I was witnessing an evangelical trend because our church doesn’t feature pole dancers and such for worship of the Lord.

Were they indeed “pole dancing,” or is it just that people are dancing at all? At the risk of sounding like Kevin Bacon in the movie Footloose, Ingrid seems to have conveniently forgotten a very important source used to support the use of dance in the church The Bible, and one of the prominent dancers in the Bible King David.

2 Samuel 6:13-15
When those who were carrying the ark of the LORD had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the LORD with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

Ingrid et al have also forgotten that we are told that there are appropriate times for everything, including dance:

Ecclesiastes 3:3-5
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

Both Psalm 149 and 150 contain exhortations to praise God through dance:

Psalm 149:1-3
Praise the LORD.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the saints.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with tambourine and harp.

Psalm 150:3-4
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,

Now obviously, we don’t know what David’s dancing looked like, nor do we know what kind of dancing Solomon had in mind in Ecclesiastes or what the Psalmist(s) had in mind when mentioning praising God with dance. BUT we do know that dance is mentioned in a positive light and as one of the useful “tools” for worship, praise and celebration.

But I guess, since dance isn’t practiced in Ingrid’s “stodgy” church, it shouldn’t be practised in any form in any church.

Good to know, Ingrid. I’ll make the appropriate changes to the text of the Bibles in my house. I wonder if she would prefer that I just blackout the offending Biblical passages with a Sharpie, or perhaps I should resort to an Exacto knife and just cut the passages out completely, ala Thomas Jefferson.

It sure is nice that Ingrid can keep us informed on these changes to scriptural perspective.

What would we do without her?

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