AMA: Attractive Mothers Anonymous

All mothers, with the exception of my mother, are gorgeous. It is a universal truth, more or less, that the elegance of a mother blinds the retinas of angels. Beauty buoyantly flows over the earth and retires downward onto the hearty lap of a mother. In similar tone, but in slight contrast … my mother is one gorgeous hot tamale!! My Karen. “Kal-Kal” – as her high school cohorts used to call her. For the record, that’s such a weird nickname for someone that won Homecoming Queen. But of course, it was the 70’s and everything was weird (The Rocky movies were so cheesy).

My mother would flourish if she grew up in this generation. She would probably have over a thousand followers on Twitter. On her birthday, a plethora of her girl friends would post Instagram photos of her on their own accounts just to give my mother birthday love. She would post new Facebook statuses and hundreds of people would “Like” it. She would experience greater educational advances, career opportunities, breakthrough technology, medical advances, and better movies. She could get on eHarmony and fall in love with my dad all over again. My bet is that Kal-Kal would have gone to a fancy university, hopefully Clemson University. In a cliché but simple tagline ….. “My mother would rule the world”.

 

When recently bringing this revelation up to my mother, she insisted that she would still prefer to have grown up in the time period of the 1970’s. She claims that today’s society has a deeper level of superficiality, narcissism, violence, and materialism. After I reiterated the powerful opportunities that she would be gaining, she still stood with the 1970’s. Her mother – my grandmother – was asked a similar question. Growing up in the 1930’s versus the 1970’s; It is obvious of the lack of opportunities that faced my grandmother. She even went on to say that her family was poor and everyone around them was poor. However, even as she is sill tangibly reminiscent of all she went through, she prefers to grow up again in her own time period. Her reasons were because the young people of the 70’s were more superficial, focused on completion, and craving material.

One may argue that past generations tends to romanticize theirs and criticize the ones after it. Here is the thing about that: My grandmother would have to be a fool to attempt to romanticize being a female AND living in the pre-civil rights era. What most of the older generations (religious or nonreligious) are trying to say is that everything – material, careers, economy, powers, fashion, money, music, tastes, health, family, friends – fades away. Life is hard and difficult and no one controls it. No one controls it. Therefore there is no sense in craving to live in an alternative generation. It cannot be escaped.

What matters is the soul. What matters is the direction the soul is pointing. A soul that points inward is useless. What matters is community that you can grow in Christ-like love with. For my mom to focus on having a thin, teenage body and being Homecoming Queen again would be a wasteful goal. What my mother, grandmother and Bible are inexplicitly stating is this:

Want to conquer social media?  It is insatiable and a psychological hindrance.

Want to escape violence?  There will always be evil.

Want a higher paying job?  Money doesn’t bring eternal joy.

Want to do hot yoga & the Paleo diet?  Your body will still inevitably betray you.

Love music?  Songs become repetitive; i.e. Pharell’s hit song “Happy”

Want more friends?  Friends will eventually let you down.

Want a spouse?  A chunk of marriage is tough and stressful.

Want to be single?  A chunk of singleness is lonely and stressful.

Ageing

To be clear, it is not that any of those things are bad. It is more so that Life has taught them that their body is the only body they’ll ever have. Their mind is the only mind they’ll ever have. Externals fade. Therefore, for the believer, the end goal is the kingdom of Heaven and eternity with Jesus. Everything else – good or bad – fall to the waist side. Life is short and our time on earth is like dwindling grass … we must realize that we do not have enough time to focus on externals (James 4:14, Psalm 103:15-16, 1 Corin. 7:29-31). Only then can we begin to attain real joy! A merriment that makes the world see Jesus in us.

The Bible will say that individual “generations” are not the problem, but that the problem is the sinfulness of man (Mark 7:20-23, Romans 3:10-12). Knowingly so, no matter when or where we live … there will always be man present. The wise people see that the world is sinful and they themselves are guilty as well. The sooner we throw ourselves onto the grace and mercy of Christ the sooner we are transformed into correctly seeing that all that we have and all that we have been given in a very very different light. Whatever season you are in, be thankful and be ALL there. We should be weary to place our hope in fleeting success, material, or physical appearance. This concept is reflective of 1 Corinthians 10:31 which can be re-worded into this context by saying, “Whether you live in the 1930s, 1970s, 2000s, or 1400s, do life to the glory of God.”

I’m traveling home for the Independence Day. I will get to see me precocious 4 year-old nephew for the first time in almost 5 months. I’m beyond excited. He is my best friend. So there will be a ton of hugging and laughter. He’s into Spiderman now so I bought him a cool Spiderman toy to make him like me even more, haha. A time is coming when he’s not going to see me as the coolest person in the world anymore. A time is coming when I’m going to look at his generation with an odd look on my face thinking, “Good gosh this new generation is too superficial and materialistic.” Ooh the misconceptions of sin. Touche Satan. Thank God for the scriptures and the revelation of Christ. #boom

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A Letter to My Future Wife of 50 Years

First things first, let’s get this awkwardness out of the way. Sure, you’re roughly around 75 years old, which means that you are approximately 50 years older than I currently am. Yes, you are from the future and I, conversely, am sitting here in the abstract year of 2013. But regardless, I’m your husband still. Also, you are the true weird one for marrying me. What we you thinking Sweetheart? Did your parents not warn you about me? Oh well, fifty years have now past so you’re well coveted in this relationship…there is no turning back now.

I am writing this soliloquy right now simply because I do not know you. However, my Father in heaven very well knows you. I am clueless as to the specifics of your personality, your current spiritual walk, your race and ethnicity, financial status, physical attributes, your love language, hobbies, or whether you Screen shot 2013-10-28 at 11.31.09 PMlike sports or not … I know nothing. Fifty years from now, I presume that our children are grown and out of the house. We’ve retired and settled into a house somewhat in close proximity to our grandchildren (because we LOVE to spoil babies). I would also reluctantly suppose that at this point our marriage has lost that youthful vibrancy that it once had. Our knees may not be the same dancing knees that they once were. We’ve probably grown accustomed to our habitual tendencies to the point where there is not much room for surprises anymore. Justin Bieber’s grandson will lead the new generation of youth with their annoying futuristic boy-band music that will give us all headaches.

With all that said, there is no place I’d rather be than with you. You are God’s gift to me and you are such the blessing that I cannot currently fathom. You are obviously, after 50 years of marriage, very acquainted with my downfalls. My weaknesses. My shortcomings. I am sorry for the times I grew angry with you. Whenever my prideful ego flared up. Each time I was passive as a leader. Please forgive for the times I embarrassed you (there will be a plethora of those coming, ha). On the other hand, I thank you for loving me and staying with me. I praise God for the spiritual gifts and talents that he blessed you with to help lead our family. For the times you submitted with trust. Know that I pray for you now. Admittedly, I should pray much more – the Lord knows I should. Luckily there are older, Godly people in my life that pray for you consistently. As God continues to mold me into a Christ-like leader and cultivator, I pray that he is molding you as the crown jewel that you are. I am not saying you are The One (aka bad Disney movies). But since God chose us to be together, apparently you are the one that God wants for me, and vice versa.

Psalm 139: 13-16 shows that God knows all the days of our lives. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Isaiah 46:8-11 will even go further and proclaim that God purposefully directs the flights of a single bird; and the everyday travels of an individual person. There is also Acts 17:24-27, 16:7,14, Genesis 50:20, Philippians 1:6, Ephesians 1:3-6, Jeremiah 1:5 and many other verses will vividly depict that we move by the hand of God. Therefore God, in his eternal state, is simultaneously aware of me in 2013 AND of you when you read this letter post-2063. He sees our first date, first kiss, last date, and last kiss all at once. Mind-blowing huh? That’s our Father!! He is in charge of our marriage and loves us too much for it to be lackluster! My goodness I hope that we pray and read scripture together. That we forgive often. That joy externally overflows from our relationship for the good of everyone around us. I pray that we do not grow lukewarm in our faith and content with our futuristic gadgets and money. I pray that we are well involved in the church, in missions, and in discipleship — yearning for a deeper relationship with Christ. May we never forget the excitement that lies within the Gospel!

I hope that you are not insecure in your beauty at an elderly age. I will have wrinkles right alongside you. If my focus was on your youthful looks, then I’d be writing this letter to the 30-year-old version of yourself instead. But I’d rather write this to you as you are. It was always about you. Your spirit and soul. The things that are timeless. Plus, at age 30, you were such a pain in the butt. I still cannot believe that I put up with you. Please, let’s not have an argument over this right now. We may have just had the first argument over the space-time continuum. Good thing I won. Seriously, I hope to love further and deeper at 75 years of age than I did at 30 years of age.

By far, the only sad thing about this post is that God does not promise us 50 years of marriage (i.e. to live that long). He does not even promise us 5 years. Our lives are a brief and fragile morning fog that can vanish at any second. Fifty years together would solely be another grace-filled gift from God. However, if we both do not make it that far in age together, we’ll still have eternity to spend in heaven. It is there, that we can begin to dance again. There will be no more lackluster “Us”. For we will dine with our gigantic family of believers in spirited joy – with the presence of Jesus Christ our Lord shining in His full and radiant glory. That is our truest hope. Halleluiah.

I love you Girly. Fifty years of marriage … the best is yet to come.

The Praise of Cute Babies, Ryan Gosling’s Abs, and Holiness

There we sat in the movie theater, with about 200 other people, just in time to see the opening of Crazy Stupid Love. With this being in the genre of a romantic comedy, it is safe to say that the female gender took the majority count in the room, ha. Midway through the movie we finally approached the imminent flirtatious scene between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone (my future wife). What happened next turned out to be hilarious – Ryan Gosling takes off his shirt… and on the 32-foot tall, 75-foot wide movie theater scene, 200 people received a full HD view of his 8-pack abs. I kid you not, every girl in the theater automatically gave some type of audible reaction. 70 girls gave a deep gasp, 70 other girls giggled, and 30 other girls clapped. The 30 guys in the movie theater just smacked their teeth in a jealously retorted gesture. However, the reactions from the girls were priceless. There was a warm delight that triggered in their eyes and bubbled up into a spontaneously audible reaction. An external praise.

ImageNow, let us ask ourselves a question: Why is it that there was such outward expression givien off by those girls? Why did they not just feel the delight and keep that feeling to themselves? We know that their reactions to Ryan’s abs were not forced out but, on the other hand, were naturally performed. That action is slightly weird when you think about it, is it not?

Another example – In the church that I attend we have experienced this “baby boom” over the past 10 months. Literally, there are babies everywhere. I am scared. (I have a prophetic theory that the babies are going to take over the church and turn us into their slaves… but that is neither here nor there). One established fact is that the babies are awfully adorable. I mean my goodness they are precious.  They turn heads like it’s their jobs. People are continuously complementing the babies, continuously gathering around them, and continuously telling other people about a new baby that they must see. What is it that causes us to react like this? It is not as if we haven’t seen a baby before.

The answer happens to be the exact same reason that God asks us to praise him. All throughout the Bible we see numerous instances where God says to give him joyful praises.  C.S. Lewis, who used to be a staunch atheist until his conversion, used to hate Christianity for this reason. He felt as if God was this old beggar-woman asking for praises all the time. After his conversion, he realized the truth behind why God demands that we praise him:

C.S. Lewis –

Just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it: ‘Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?’…

…“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.”

What Lewis is saying is that the reason girls in a movie theater naturally give an external reaction to Ryan Gosling’s gorgeous abs is because their joy in those abs does not feel complete until they let it out. The reason we tell people about cute babies is because we have to share this news in order to complete the feeling. The initial joy is fuel that leads us into some form of obedience to achieve the full joy. We see this with Instagram and Facebook as well. We post pictures of the coffee we’re sipping or the delicious meal we’re eating because we must tell someone. Weird, huh? We do it all the time. We are by design worshipers and want people to join us in that feeling of gratification. God wired us for this. God’s demand to praise him is not meant for Himself.  God does not need our approval. He tells us to praise him because in the act of praising we walk into a fulfillment of the eternal-like joy that we were created for. If God loves you he would want what is best for you. What is best for you is Himself. In order for your joy to be naturally completed, it must be expressed. The scriptures are hinting to us, “do you want fullness of joy…do you want everlasting peace and freedom…then praise God in all things with all your heart.” Isaiah 25:1, Psalm 150:2, James 5:13, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, etc.

The Lord wants us to understand that anything we praise that does not end in praise of the triune God will be fleeting (Job 7:6-7, Psalm 144:4, James 4:14). Ryan’s abs will not last forever, babies eventually reach the terrible twos, delicious sandwiches will quickly disappear, and Tom Brady will eventually grow too old for the game. Unless our everyday pleasures end in ultimate praise in Jesus Christ then those pleasures are restricted. Everything that is seen is transient. Our hope lies in focusing more on what is unseen. Jesus takes our sins, dies on the cross in our place for our sins, then rises from death. He gives us his righteousness. He gives us his heart. The more our affections are stirred for Christ, that joy will fuel our obedience to worship, to evangelize, and to naturally give off fruits of the spirit…freely. Not as a job or obligation but because we already feel his affections for us. Continually sitting underneath this Gospel story causes us to continually remember, which in turn, naturally triggers that “joy of eternal significance”. That joy that creation yearns for.

Let us adore Him. Let us praise Him.

Sources:

Reflections on the Psalms. C.S. Lewis. 1958.

To my Christian Family of Clemson University: Past, Present, & Future

ImageWhen we all know Christ in his fullness, there will be infinite praises of what he did at Clemson University. Until that time, we praise him know for the many glimpses of grace and love that he has shown us over the years. I will never get to fairly express my loving angst for the faithful believers at Clemson. Those that were there in the past, those that are there now, and those that Jesus has coming in the future. Some of the daily joys of my heart come from just the thought of you all. Not the school itself… there are schools all around the world…but more so the warm awareness of the Christ-exalting lives that are being lived there.

Oh how he loves us. Through all the cloudy sinfulness that occurs at every college – through all the materialism/superficiality, through all the alcohol and sexual deviances, through all the idolized focus on college football, through all the student loan debt, through all the Instagram photos and Facebook stalking… the presence of Christ on that campus still radiates in such a way that new people are constantly being saved. That is not a normality on American campuses. God has chosen you and given you a greater portion of grace. Many students elsewhere do not have the same opportunities to meet Christ as you have. You can go to the Starbucks right now and see a plethora of students with their Bibles out or conversing about God. There are 18 different campus ministries at Clemson. Each of which has believers that radically love Jesus and has evidence of fruitful relationships with our Savior. May those 18 campus ministries be unified in such a way that, as Philippians 2 puts it, “they stand firm in the faith, SIDE-BY-SIDE, in ONE spirit so that others will know just how seriously real our God is”. My goodness that verse riles me up. The fact that there are thousands of believers growing together praying together meeting together as I am typing this post, riles me up.

  • I think of the many people in FCA with their energy and youthful exuberance displayed every Thursday night. Their God-given presence is a force and has been for years. I love the way you love God and how God used you in my life. I repeatedly reflect on you guys. To BCM, Greek IV, Young Life, Chi Alpha, CRU, Campus Outreach and the 11 other campus ministries, your presence does not sit well with the powers of darkness. The spiritual realm of darkness loves to try to tear all of you down. But God is with you. I love love love when I hear stories of your ministries. Stories of growth and missions. I long for the day in heaven when we will all be together at the Wedding Feast of The Lamb. We will rejoice on that day of all that God did.  May you continue to “draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith” and “devote yourselves to prayer” (Hebrew 10:21; Colossians 4:2).
  • Doug Hunt, you’re such a leader on that campus…let alone your ministry. I learned so much from your wisdom and peaceful spirit.
  • David Pearson and John Longshore – it is absolutely true that you two are like ‘The Sons of Thunder’ ascribed to James and John of the New Testament. Your fruit has eternal significance. One day you will see it in its fullness. On that day you will thank God even more for his sovereign grace in using you in his epic plans.
  • Austin Alvarez, Lassi, & Andy Robinson – your house church. My gosh your house church. Need I even go on? It was freakin’ amazing!! You guys would read the Bible and then, for some crazy reason, you followed it faithfully. I’m still shocked. Over the years, your group paid dividends to the spiritual well-being of Clemson. You would pray and things would happen. You have stories that can fill a novel. God’s hand is over that group.
  • To the women that love Jesus – you are God’s precious daughters. Your faith is as important as the air we breath. The body needs you. No matter how foolish we men are at times, remember that Jesus is the perfect man and that you are His first. I pray for godly men in your life.
  • Laura Haynie – God uses your joyful heart powerfully. Satan tried to break our ministry down with a foray. My last year in Clemson was tremendously tough spiritually because of it; but having you as a co-leader by my side was a wonderful blessing. The Spirit shines through you. I am excited for how God uses you next.
  • Miguel Chavis, Gray Gardner, Jonathan Whittle – Your love for scripture and truth is beyond measure. Our generation scoffs at it, along with them having an increasingly low attention span. However, The Lord loves your will for meat and to see people come to know the true nature and character of God. I pray that you three, and the others in your friend-group, do not loose these opportunities to grow together. A time is coming when you will not be able to convene together so easily. Life happens.
  • Sammy Watkins – I pray for you a ton brotha. Like you are my real brother. Not at all for football. But for your eternal growth in the Lord. Something a matters infinitely  more.
  • To my church in Clemson, you were my first love since Freshman year when you brought me in. I miss you all tenderly. As you very well know since I cried my last time I was there, ha. I pray that you all continue to grow in wisdom and in the faith. Continue to do life together as God has asked of you and of which you are doing.
  • Jimmy and Laura Gann – you two astonish me. You get married in June of 2012. Within a few months you’re packing up and moving to India because Jesus told you to do so. You are the righteous ones that live by faith.

My Clemson Tiger family, we are blessed. Please stay connected. Be vulnerable. Eat together. Pray. Let’s experience life fully by giving our heart to our Lord and Savior. Now lets win some football games while we’re at it baby!!!!

Image(Awesome photos taken by Dawson Powers : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawsonp/sets/72157635343519719/)

Satan vs Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 Characters HD wallpaper for Wide 16:10 5:3 Widescreen WHXGA WQXGA WUXGA WXGA WGA ; HD 16:9 High Definition WQHD QWXGA 1080p 900p 720p QHD nHD ; Other 3:2 DVGA HVGA HQVGA devices ( Apple PowerBook G4 iPhone 4 3G 3GS iPod Touch ) ; Mobile WVGA iPhone PSP - WVGA WQVGA Smartphone ( HTC Samsung Sony Ericsson LG Vertu MIO ) HVGA Smartphone ( Apple iPhone iPod BlackBerry HTC Samsung Nokia ) Sony PSP Zune HD Zen ;

Toy Story came out in 1995 and completely revolutionized my view of movies.  As a kid, that was the first time I had seen a movie with such meaningful depth that still kept me laughing. My parents bought the VHS for my two brothers and I and we wore that tape out. To this very day, I can still feel the chills from the scene where Buzz Lightyear sadly realizes that he is only a toy. I still cringe at the sight of Sid, who is quite analogous of a young Adolf Hitler.  However, at the end of the movie… youthful joy wins. We can ALL admit that after watching that movie we believed our toys could secretly talk. Honestly, a small part of me still believes to this day. Weird.

Cutting back to the story – To the beloved surprise of my brothers and I, in November of 1999 Toy Story 2 was set to come out in theaters. Needless to say, we were beyond ecstatic. At that age we had no idea that there were possibilities of “movie sequels.” The only certainties we Imageknew were that Kel loved orange soda and that Are You Afraid of the Dark was based on true stories. Therefore, with our apparent limited scope, we knew nothing of Toy Story 2 until the day before it came out. My brothers and I ran to our father and told him this once-in-a-lifetime news. Surely he’d be as excited as us. I remember it as if it were yesterday. Our dad was sitting on the old blue sofa reading the newspaper. We jumped onto his lap and interrupted everything to ask if he could take us to the movie theater to see Toy Story 2 the next day. He paused for about 3 seconds……and said yes. A yes!! We asked again to make sure we heard correctly. And again, yes! We freaked out, haha. Freaked out is an understatement. We then went into another room and watched Toy Story 1 for preparation work.

The next morning we were still rampantly on fire, being extra “good boys” that day. As the evening drew near, we approached our newspaper-reading papa again.  We asked him what time we’re leaving…our eyes gleaming of excitement…but what happened next I have never forgotten to this day. He looked at us with the confused look and told us no. Stunned and taken back for a few seconds, we pleadingly asked him again, but his facial expression this time made it very clear that we were not going. To our utter dismay, our father had completely changed his mind. The hurtful feeling in that instant was piercing. It is a funny thing, ya know, how we can remember the most random occurrences from our childhood. For some reason they stick with us. For some reason, I never quite shook that residue one off.

To make one thing clear, my dad was and still is a great father. He has happily done numerous things for us and I love him. However, that particular clip in my life has stuck with me and I can see glimpses of how it has affected my walk with Christ. Many times I will come to God with the feeling of, “Oh, he doesn’t want to be bothered with me. He doesn’t care that much.” It has negatively affected my intimate walk with Christ and at times tremendously hindered my prayer life.

We need to understand that Satan is extremely crafty and sneaky. His craftiness is beyond human ability. Back in 1999, what Satan did in that instant was grab hold of a short clip of my life and he turned it into a fundamental negative way of thought of how I view a father. Something as quick and innocent as my father changing his mind, Satan has used to skew my view of the nature and character of the loving, triune God. Scripture claims that God wants for us to pray to him unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2). Therefore, somewhere within His numinous character and nature, He has a will for wanting prayer that it runs contrary to how my earthly dad reacted to us that very day. This is why Satan would find it opportune to make sure that I always remember what my father did. Touche Satan, touché.

This is not the first time in history that this has ever happened. We all seem to still remember the simplest things from our childhood. Things that still affect us to this day – both positive and negative. If we focus, we can trace many of our insecurities and weaknesses today back to a single experience or something said to us in the past. For instance, if I were one of Satan’s demons, it would be ineffective for me to outright tell a girl that she should have image issues and not trust God. But it would be effective to have her stumble upon a revealing Cover Girl commercial at an early age. Then the next day when a boy jokingly picks on her class I would have all her classmates laugh at her… longer than usual. That way, she’ll subconsciously remember that piercing feeling. Not exactly what the boy said…but just how it felt. She will never want to feel that way ever again. The rest is history. Eventually, when she is older she wouldn’t want anything to do with God because, come on, what man would want a girl like her. Do you see all the subtle lies there? That voice would whisper in her ears for years. That is what Satan and the powers of darkness would whisper to her for many years to come.

Luckily we have Truth that combats those lies. Truth that tells me that I have a heavenly Father that wants me to come to him and talk about “Toy Story 2”. We all have a Father who cares. Hebrews 4:13 describes Him as a Father that knows us. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knew that I would like Toy Story 2 before I was born. Because he wired me for it. Isaiah 62:6-7 claims that God is so serious about wanting us to bother him in prayer that he has appointed people to do exactly that. To pester him and keep knocking on his door. He says to GIVE HIM NO REST. This is foreign to me because not only is He saying that I can ask him about Toy Story…but that he also delights in my asking. #MindBlown

We must be watchful of Satan’s schemes. It would be wise to notice what memories that he grabs hold on to in our lives. How blessed are we that we have a Father who thoroughly knows each of us and offers freedom. Who cares about You. His glory and majesty outweighs all things. May we not neglect such a great salvation that is offered to us.

Other verses used: Luke 11:9-12, James 4:2, Hebrews 2:1-4, Romans 12:12

What Dancing Secretly Reveals About The Opposite Sex…

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.   ImageWhen 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.

Image

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. ImageHowever, 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.

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