I Hope You Dance

Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4

My parents met and married at Hardin-Simmons Baptist College in Abilene, Texas. There were two other private, faith based colleges also in Abilene: Abilene Christian College (Church of Christ) and McMurray Methodist College.  Everyone knows Baptists don’t dance. Well, a lot of Baptists, in fact, do. In the last century the traditional position was that dancing could lead to real problems, like un-holy music and lust.  The mantra was “We don’t dance, drink, smoke, or chew, and we don’t go with girls who do!” So, we had no girlfriends. My mother told me the Methodists would all go to a dance, then go “out to the sticks,” meaning they would drive out in the country and enjoy some physical affection. She further stated since the Baptists couldn’t dance, they just skipped the dance and “went straight out to the sticks.” My father said, “A dance is the only setting where the vilest of men can embrace the purest of women and it’s socially acceptable.”

My older sister, with mild parental protest, went to the high school dances. She also taught me to dance, or tried. Actually, she said, “You dance like a frog in a blender!” I can’t help it. When the music starts groovin’ and my feet start movin’ the spirit takes me over. In the end, it always seems to result in a strange mix of the jitterbug and The Curly Shuffle.  Somehow I’m semi-conscious of people laughing and pointing and cameras flashing. In high school, one of the drill team captains invited me to join her in a dance contest.  We actually won second place! That netted me a nice $5.00 gift certificate to the local drive in. She opted to let me have it, rather than accompany me to spend it.  My children waffle back-and-forth between embarrassment and wild laughter when I dance around the house.  My wife laughs until the tears flow.


There’s something else about Baptists you should know. We also pride ourselves on being “a people of the book.” That means the Bible is the ultimate guide for any situation of life. It seemed a bit contradictory to me that the Word of God clearly instructs his people to dance, but deacons forbid it.  Just before I graduated college, I was interviewing for a position as a Youth Minister at a local First Baptist Church. Early on in the interview, I was asked “What do you think about dancing?” I’m not sure why, but I simply replied, “Well, David danced naked before the Lord.”  The interview seemed to abruptly end, and I never heard from that church again.

Here’s the position I’ve come to after a half-century of life. Little children instinctively dance. It’s good exercise to dance. God said dancing was an appropriate form of praise. The next time the music moves you, let it.  I think I agree with the lyrics sung by Lee Ann Womack:

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance… I hope you dance.


Published in: on February 15, 2016 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  

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