There is something about the art of partner dancing that transcends itself past the dancing itself. Past the swings, past the dips. Beyond the sweaty moments and the awkward small talks. Beyond the skillful moves. Past the variety of personalities or cultural backgrounds. For the past three years my passion has been both swing dancing and contra dancing. It seems that the longer I dance, the more God alters my eyesight in a way that I am able to see the picture that He is showing us within the art of dancing. When you think about the concept of dancing, it is a weird deal. Think about it; complete strangers attempting to interact on the dance floor and wiggling their bodies??? Going into an even deeper layer, you realize that each person is going through some legitimate pain, struggle, or happiness. They have come to the dance floor, seeking answers. Looking for a fun-loving, joyful time! Contra dances display this picture very well. Where else will you find a woman in her 60s dancing with a young man in his 20s? Where else can you see a Taylor Swift fanatic dance with a nerdy businessman wearing a kilt. The further beauty of it is that.they.really.are.having.fun. You can see it in the way their mouths openly smile, their entire body laughs, their head tilts, the silly ways they mess up together during moves…they are having a ball together; along with everyone else on the floor.
What has more specifically caught my eye as of late, is the picture of a true biblical relationship that can be seen through dancing. If you read my older blog post, “Girls Are Cute And Atheism Is Strange (https://earnestbjohnson.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/girls-are-cute-and-atheism-is-weird/)”, you would know that I very staunchly believe that girls are the most adorable beings on the earth. That being said, I have learned a great deal of the opposite sex simply through dancing with them. Swing/contra dancing requires the male to lead the female throughout the dance. The responsibility lies on him to make sure that not only does she have an awesome time, but that she does not bleed in the process. With the same token, it is the females job to simply submit to that leadership and trust that the male will lead her into a good time. However, this does not happen easily. Lord knows it does not happen easy, ha. Dancing requires 3 key elements: (1) touch, (2) listening to the music, (3) and trust. I can dance with certain women and literally feel from her touch just how much she trusts me, and vice versa. I can also feel how susceptible she is to follow my lead. It is quite interesting. There is a certain tension/weight given that is felt when performing moves that tells me how she is feeling at the moment (good or bad). My favorite is when I can feel that extra tension, but can tell that she is trying her best to trust me and follow. Then, as the dance goes on, I can feel her tension and tightness lighten (Gosh girls are so cute) and her trust and laughter increase. On the other hand, where she gives too much tightness or sudden resistance, something is off basis there.
Why is that?
Well in Genesis 3:17-19, after the Fall, God tells Adam that everything man attempts to do will now “war” against him. So we were designed in God’s image to be builders, creators, and cultivators….. but with that “warring against”, it will not be easy. This hints that the tension that I sometimes feel when dipping a woman…that hesitation given by her….is a shadow of the “warring against”.
But how do we as men, still follow through with leading the women when dancing? How do we become the full cultivators and leaders that God created us to be in a fallen world? To answer that Biblically and through a swing dancing lens, the answer can be translated from God’s call on man in Ephesians 5. When I get married within the next 10 months to 40 years, God’s call on me will be to love my wife like Christ loved the church…..regardless of her response. As we dive into the historical beauty of how Christ initiated the loving pursuit and salvation of His bride, i.e. the Church,…. it reveals that our call to a female is to initiate initiate initiate. The scriptures are absolutely clear on this. In our society, women have begun to carry the burden of being the initiators and that’s not how God designed them. On the dance floor, things flow much smoother when the males are correctly playing their God-given role. When a girl decides to not trust me or to go her own way during a dance, it is my duty to go after her and lovingly guide her back into the flow of the dance. From my dancing experience I can admit that this is not as easy as it sounds – but it does work and can yield a warm response. The Bible does not hide this difficulty either. Proverbs 27 is going to describe moments like that as grabbing oil. Accordingly, that text is then followed by the entire comforting book of The Songs of Solomon, which describes the beauty of cherishing the woman and the fruit that come from it.
Too many Christian men have lost this concept. We must fight to get this concept back into our culture and society. Our Christian sisters are left sitting around waiting for the men to man-up and ask them to dance. All they want to do is to be led and experience the joy of the dance. They were wired for it. But until we get the guts, myself included, we are leaving our gorgeous sisters to stay in their metaphorical claim of contentment. We are such punks in this area and Satan is winning. If I pursued and led a girl like I pursue Kobe Bryant, I’d probably have that girl’s parents weeping of joy right now. This is something we must work for. The more unified that we men are in this, the exponentially easier it will be. As a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Act like men. Be strong and courageous. Stand firm in the faith.”
Lets fix our society from one that objectifies women, into a society that sees the soul of a woman and chooses to protect that soul and lead it toward happiness. Happiness can be found on the dance floor, sure. But something better, everlasting joy, is found in our Creator God. We must lead them closer to Him. The true, celestial treasure.