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?