Last Friday my wife and I went on a date. We decided to take in the remake of Footloose.” I remembered seeing the original and enjoying it; we had both heard good things about this latest version. The story takes place in the South a few years after five teens are killed in a car crash. The crash is blamed on dancing. The reaction to all this is that the town leaders, led by a local preacher, ban dancing. From their perspective dancing led to drinking, sex and reckless driving and all of this resulted in five dead teens. The movie tells the story of a boy who has just moved to town, a rebellious preacher’s daughter and their “need” to dance.
About half way through the movie it dawns on me that I grew up in a church where dancing was wrong. According to my mother, dancing led to sex. Since I was the preacher’s kid Satan was trying extra hard to entice me into dancing sex. I never went to a dance until my senior year of high school. By then I was so afraid of dancing sex that I refused to get out on the dance floor.
This year my wife and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. I still don’t dance. After years of worrying about dancing sex I am now afraid of embarrassing myself.
What is the point of all this?
I missed out on a lot of fun by not being able to go to school dances. The family and church reasons for not going – the dance sex – only served to give me an unhealthy view of sex, my body and the opposite sex. In many ways I am still working through consequences of living in that paranoia and fear.
I am not sure that the Christian faith was meant to be lived in fear. In my youth it was dancing and what that might lead to. Today there seem to be a lot of Christians who are afraid of anything that sits outside their particular world view – liberals, conservatives, Muslims, immigrants, socialists, and the list could on.
What would happen if instead of condemning the unfamiliar and different we start with the assumption that our ideas and perspectives might be wrong?