Monday, March 12, 2012

Dance and Covenant Community

Dancing is, in my humble opinion, an excellent symbol of the covenant community, or church. My family and I attended the 2012 Family Economics Conference/Liberty Day, where the celebration closed out with historic dancing. Some people believe that dancing is, if not inherently ungodly, at least fatally flawed. I disagree with this position (see Point #2), but send me a comment for a more in-depth discussion on the topic.

In the three different dances at Liberty Day, I noticed several important things. I am certain that there were exceptions, yet the atmosphere encouraged community and discouraged individualism.

1. Bearing with each other
In the dance, it could be easy for the "veterans" to look down on the "green hands." However, this was not the case. Those who understood would explain (quickly) what someone should be doing. And those being corrected would take correction and immediately change. This was also the case with the instructor/caller.

2. Unity
In many modern dances, the emphasis is on the couple or person. I believe that the abuses from this cause many to reject dance altogether. When anything is focused on man, trouble is always near. Not so here. The emphasis (especially in the circular dances) was on the covenant community, who have come to encourage, challenge, and enjoy each other. Even in a paired dance (Virginia Reel) the emphasis still was on community. Could one pair do this all by themselves? Of course not!

3. Joyfulness
As important as all these lessons are for the church, they pale in comparison to this one: joyfulness. Too many Christians are so gloomy. The Democrats will sweep the elections this year! The Antichrist will come soon! The weather is wet and rainy!
We serve the God who is winning. Shouldn't we be joyful? And these dances were joyful. Of course, many of the dancers were as well.

These are a few of the important lessons I learned at the historic dances. And, yes, I enjoyed myself heartily.

For further study, Peter Bringe’s outline on
Trinitarian Dance is excellent, as is Kevin Swanson’s radio show called “Dancing with the Stars”, which presents the right and wrong views of dance.


  1. I actually just went to my first prom ballroom dance this May. I'm afraid I found some of the boys a little hard to bear because they tended to be over-the-top with protocol (as in walkling you back to the table on their arm, even though the table was only two paces away!)and not very friendly.

    Just in case that doesn't make sense, I'll put it more plainly: They came off as cold and aloof when what I was hoping for was friendliness and warmth.

    Furthermore, some of them took forever to ask the girls to dance and just hung around with each other in the corner! Frankly, I heartilly think that in some situations the girls should be able to ask the boys to dance too as opposed to being stranded at a table for more than half the evening!

    I understand the concept and beauty of chivalry and protocol at these sorts of events -- I BBC Jane Austen adaptations! But sometimes, when boys act too "different" around girls, as if they are some sort of strange breed from another planet, it just doesn't make for a pleasant evening! I'd much prefer talking and teasing :-)

    1. I understand and appreciate your concerns. The practice of boys treating girls awkwardly bothers me. Frankly, I think that boys who do that (myself included) are behaving cowardly. They think more of their own comfort (or other people's opinion) than of treating a young lady with warmth and friendliness. And if they hide their treatment behind some idea of "protocol", well, that makes it even worse in my opinion.

      "My brethren, these things ought not so to be."--James 4:10

      I hope this helped, at least somewhat.


  2. Thank you, Jordon. It's comforting to know that there are those who understand what I'm talking about, and I think you summed up the situation very succinctly.

    I do try to be sympathetic about boys being uncomfortable around girls, but it's difficult when....well.....I'm the one they're acting weird around!

    Anyway, have the people who attend your dances been pretty friendly and easy-to-know? Or have you found them somewhat awkward at times?


    1. All at the dances I have attended have seemed friendly and willing to mix. In some other venues however...not so much.

      Thank you for your comments and for sharing your concerns! I agree that this is an area for young men to work diligently to overcome.