Serious, strange,or silly? In the original 1984 movie Footloose we journeyed with a rebellious teen who moved to a small town where rock music and dancing were banned. The movie portrays the timeless struggle between innocent pleasure and rigid morality. I offer you this as a segue into one of the most interesting things I've heard during coffee hour since I arrived in the summer of 2013.
YOUR MINISTER HAS BANNED DANCING IN OUR SERVICES! Serious, strange, or silly? Silly. Tis' silly but allows me to reiterate some things I'm quite serious about. I stated during a Teaching Thursday program weeks ago that I preferred, my personal preference, services where there is no dancing. It's a remnant of my Catholic upbringing. I congratulate service leaders who include such things in worship. I don't have the chutzpah!
Why am I entertaining and acknowledging this silliness? It is because I'm serious about not letting silly become something that divides us. It is because, as you learned at the Teaching Thursday where I answered questions, I am an open book and believe things should be named before they become larger. It is because I need you to know that I am OK, I'm here, and am staying here at the will of the Board and Congregation. Silliness will never turn my love for you, even when I'm the one causing the silliness! I won't let that happen to us.
My personal preferences influence decisions, but I never will -- nor should I be -- afforded the ultimate say about many things, especially dancing in the sanctuary! My personal preferences should never be turned into edicts. This Congregation has had some experiences with that type of ministry. I assure you it's not mine.
The expression of our faith takes many forms and our worship is richer for it. Will you see the Dance of Seven Veils during my services? No. But you will come back next week and find poetry, art, and dance offered by another service leader, like yesterday when the youth danced with members of the assembled Congregation. Isn't that wonderful?
The minister is never the single source of transcendence and inspiration. This is our beautiful tradition; innovative worship and a polity that gives the minister the role to guide not rule. I honor both. Join me in singing hymn #311 Let It Be a Dance.
In faith, Rev CJ