A few parents got up the nerve to join the kids and dance along. Well, I have all the rhythm of a jackhammer, but I decided why not give it the ole ministerial try. As soon as I got on the makeshift dance floor next to our daughter, she pulled me next to her. I thought, “How sweet, she wants to dance with her dad.” She tugged on my shirt and got me down to her level and whispered in my ear, “You are the greatest dancer in the world.” Not! Just dreaming! What she actually said to me was, “You can leave now.”
I was crushed. But the last thing in this world I want to do is to embarrass my daughter, so I left.
All of which brings me to last week’s Daddy/Daughter Dance, an annual highlight for us dads. This time, before the dance, I told her what I just said to you: “The last thing I want to do is embarrass you. If you want me to dance some with you, I will; if you want me on the sidelines all evening, just tell me.”
Much to my surprise, she wanted me to dance with her — some. Not much, mind you, but some is better than none. I don’t think I embarrassed her too much.
I met a lady one time who was a total stranger, and when I told her I was a Baptist, she said, “Oh, you’re the ones who don’t dance.”
“We dance, just not well,” I said. “Lack of practice.”
If you read the minutes of our church, going back to its founding, you will find that some folk were kicked out (“put out”) of the church for dancing. The popular evangelist of yesteryear, Billy Sunday, would rail against all forms of dancing because such movement, “fleshly gyrations,” could lead to all sorts of sinful thoughts.
No one who has ever seen me dance has had sinful thoughts. Why? Laughing too hard, that’s why. I never understood why the Baptist church I grew up in was so against dancing and so for hayrides. Young people could get into more trouble on a long hayride than the adults ever imagined. When the driver asked where we wanted to go on the hayride, we said “Chicago. Drive slowly.” Who needs dances when you have hayrides?
I would rather our church, your church, and our faith, be known for what we do than for what we don’t do — to be known for what we are for than for what we are against. We do things, positive things every day to reveal the love of God. We teach about God’s love, we offer food to the hungry, and we build houses in Jesus’ name. Sure, there are things we against, but we are for justice, mercy, and grace to others.
So, there you have it, and with apologies to Billy Sunday, I am for dancing. I would prefer good dancing to bad dancing, and that is why I sit mostly on the sidelines and leave the good dancing to others. I may be out of step, but I don’t think I am out of line.
The Bible even says, “For everything there is a season…a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 4).
Davis is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.