Saturday, October 6, 2012


I know some would say you can dance without music, but dancing without music is like someone reciting the happy birthday song to you instead of singing it. The positive energy and uplifting experience comes from within the song.

You can’t do the Texas 2 step without country and western music. To properly head bang you need to listen to some big hair band rock and roll. Without the Village People there would be no dance party fun of the YMCA and to enter into the adventure of swing dancing you need to not only listen to, but embrace big band jazz.

While in seminary my wife Tricia and I, along with other seminarians, took swing dance lessons from our friend and award winning poet Jill Alexander Essbaum. Jill’s proficiency and gift of turning simple words into the experience of poetry were transposed into being able to turn the mechanics of a dance step into a relational experience of the soul. Private dance lessons would not have allowed our souls to open up in the same way as our group lessons; lessons that in the beginning made us feel vulnerable, but in the end brought laughter and a sense of wholeness with each misstep and stumble.

Tricia and I could have learned the mechanics of swing dancing from a book, but to really learn to dance we had to be in a learning community and we had to actually show up. We had to attend to dance... attendance was vital.

As Christians we are called to dance with God through the music of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We can learn the mechanics of this dance through studying the Bible, but simply learning the mechanics doesn’t mean we’re actually dancing. To learn to be in relationship and dance with God, we have to first be in a learning community and we have to actually show up. We have to attend to dance... attendance in worship is vital.
Secondly, God created this dance we are learning. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable enough to let God lead.

Thirdly, we have to realize that we will sometimes try to take over the lead from God. When we do we have to remember that we are students of this dance and at times we have to admit our missteps, dust off our wingtip shoes, and laugh in God’s Grace.

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