or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › ? for Christians whose churches forbid dancing
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

? for Christians whose churches forbid dancing

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Just wondering about Christian churches which forbid dancing. Saw it on the Duggars and had a few questions:

All dancing? Or just the modern-day shaking your bootie alone in a crowd? What about folk dancing such as Greek circle dancing or Irish step dancing? Ballroom? Square dancing?

Do your churches teach that this is a scriptural mandate or is it more of a decision that has been made along the way in response to culture?

Which denominations forbid dancing?

I was also wondering how your churches' prohibition against dancing squares with the fact that dancing has always been an important part of Jewish culture and that it is one of the ways of celebrating mentioned in the Bible.

Thanks!
post #2 of 31
Er, my mother used to attend a conservative Brethren church as a kidling (hats and gloves, you know), and they were anti-dancing for the same reason they were anti- drinking, smoking, chewing and the movies. It was considered "fast" and immoral. I don't think it was based on a specific Biblical text so much as a general principle that if you danced, you were entering a den of vice in which other immoral things (some "legitimately" immoral from my POV, some not... like playing cards) were happening, thus exposing yourself to temptation and being worldly. As with any rules, I suspect it helped some people live holy lives and caused others to rebel, look down on others or feel deprived. My grandparents eventually left that church... Grandma is still a churchgoer, but dyes her hair and pierced her ears after the age of 60, attends cabarets, drinks wine, goes to the movies and does all manner of un-Brethren things these days.
post #3 of 31
There is an old old Baptist denomination here in the mountains - Old Regular Baptist. They forbid dancing. All dancing. I don't think it is to the point where if you dance you'll get kicked out of the church, but having grown up amidst those believers I believe they see it as immoral and drawing attention to yourself. They also forbid playing instruments.

Another argument for it that you will hear often is that there is no mention of it in the New Testament, therefore it isn't allowed (especially pertaining to instrument playing).

I'm not Old Regular, but my husband's grandfather was and his grandmother still is. My step-dad's people were. I'm also thinking that the Church of Christ in these parts might forbid it to. I know they don't allow instruments on the grounds stated above.
post #4 of 31
I honestly don't know what denomination, but my great-uncle converted to and later became the head of a church that forbids dancing. His sister -- my grandmother -- was deeply incensed ... apparently he'd always been a hill of fun and a great dancer, and shortly after converting he refused to dance in a home setting with either my mother or one of my aunts when they were children too young to really have it explained to them. So whatever his church may be, for them it is definitely an "all dancing" prohibition, not just potential sexualized dancing.
post #5 of 31
We were part of a church/cult, and for a long time "no dancing" was a rule, but there were two exceptions--Israeli dancing (they had friends in Kibbutz) and German dances (like polka's, etc), with occasional forays into other cultural types of dancing. But the limit of male/female touching in those was holding hands, very light tough. During one period of time, holding hands wasn't allowed and everybody had to dance with just pinky fingers hooked together. "Rocking out" of any kind wasn't tolerated. At various times all dancing was 100% forbidden, if the leader decided that the young people were straying to close to sensuality.

My conservative Mennonite and River Brethren friend's churches have an Absolutely No Dancing rule. They believe it can lead to immodesty, self-promotion (they are opposed to anything that involves a "look at me" kind of attitude), and other evils, and would rather just not take one step down that path, than try to figure out what's OK and what's not when it gets more complex. They believe very strongly that Christians are called to live a life of sobriety and quietness in all things, which would kind of exclude most dancing. Music is pretty much limited to hymn-singing, anyway, which is pretty hard to dance to. They also believe that what occured in the OT is not necessarily for today, and in some cases is recorded as a historical note rather than a commendation.
post #6 of 31
Quote:
During one period of time, holding hands wasn't allowed and everybody had to dance with just pinky fingers hooked together.
LOL.

Fascinating!
post #7 of 31
Are you speaking of liturgical dancing or dancing in your own personal time????

Our church does not do any type of liturgical dancing at all and we do not see any point in liturgical dancing as a form of corporate worship in the current new testament church.. With that said, I've never really heard pastor speak about dancing in and of itself as being wrong in your own personal time. I think the issue with dancing is where it is done (IE like a bar?) and who your doing it with (IE ar you a married woman closely dancing with someone that is not your hubby?), what type of music your dancing to?...things like that as being wrong. So it limits where,when, and how dancing should be done.

I personally enjoy dancing with my hubby around the house or at a wedding or something. We do not go to bars, clubs or anything like that. We also enjoy seeing plays and theater performances that usually include dancing in a non-sexual type of way. By the way We attend a non-denominational, fundamental christian church.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who responded! I found cappuciomom's comments about the Brethren and Mennonite churches interesting, as I'm also Mennonite (not conservative, though) and as far as I know we're not discouraged from dancing (Yes, I am aware that there are huge differences between what is accepted in conservative churches and what is accepted in MCUSA churches). We have people in our congregation who enjoy ballroom, square, and folk dancing. Although, one night a girl from church was babysitting for me and she remarked that it was Homecoming at her school. I was surprised and apologized for asking her to babysit on homecoming but she replied that she didn't want to go because the other kids danced so inappropriately. I was also struck by the phrase "self-promoting." I enjoy American folk dancing but have definitely danced in groups where there is some self promotion going on--show-off dancing, etc. In other dance communities people are humble and generous and just there to have fun together. Thanks everyone!
post #9 of 31
Quote:
(Yes, I am aware that there are huge differences between what is accepted in conservative churches and what is accepted in MCUSA churches).
I was going to say something, but then you said this.

The differences are so huge it's sometimes hard to believe they're the same denomination.
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
The differences are so huge it's sometimes hard to believe they're the same denomination.
yep, exactly. MUSA isn't a thing like river brethern or pilgrim.

I'm not mennonite but we attend a mennonite church (BMA for the record) and I have a few pilgrim/eastern/river brethern friends - none dance. not at weddings (which my husband shoots) or anything. it's a non-issue b/c they've grown up not dancing. it's like awkward like it would be for osmeone who used ot dance and now is stopping.

it's seen a something that would attract attention to your body. plus they have major issues with any music with a beat. like any beat. whatsoever. hymns aren't that easy to dance to

me? well I think it's a personal thing. I don't have issue with dancing in the right context - husband and wife.... kids... or perhaps cultural dancing (with no male/female touching) etc.
post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 
...cultural dancing (with no male/female touching) etc...

So is male/female touching avoided or discouraged in all situations? Or just in dancing? We are very physically affectionate in our congregation ---lots of hugs, patting, touching a person's arm when speaking to him or her, etc. I've never been approached for a hug by a man at church--that would probably make me feel uncomfortable-- but when someone is going through a hard time or comes back to church after an illness or a long absence, that person usually gets lots of physical touch, including hugs, from others regardless of sex.
post #12 of 31
Among my conservative Menno and Brethren friends, male-female touching between non-related people is pretty much nil, except for a handshake as a social consideration given to outsiders. Although they practice the greeting kiss (kiss on each cheek) with fellow members, it is gender-segregated.

They are still highly loving and affectionate people. Just physically restrained.
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
So interesting! Thanks!
post #14 of 31
in mennonite world, hand shaking is as much as you would do touch wide for a member of the opposite sex. but it's not at all cold or anything! if you were wanting to say ly hands and pray the wife might lands hands of a woman and the husband on the wife... if that makes sense. or for hugs, the women would hug one another.

hugging/touching members of the opposite sex in congregations has almost always been a big no-no until more recently with the "charasmatic protestant" uprising.

and again, I assure you there is nothing cold or unfeeling about it. when I first started going to a menno church it took me by surprise, but it didn't take me long to see the sincere care and respect between all peoples regardless of gender.
post #15 of 31
I just want to say something about dancing....I went to a congregation where the "dance" worship leader would only let us dance in "women's" circle and "men" circle. And the women most wear "dresses" men suits.

I just want to show that even us dancers do have "rules".
post #16 of 31
The Church of the Nazarene forbade dancing, inresponse to wartime USO dances. Young women whose hubbies were away for months/years, being encouraged to dance with young men about to ship out. It led to "unseemly and immoral" behavior and should be avoided to prevent temptation. The church has revised their rule to allow dancing between married couples, and specifically discourages any behavior (including dancing) that would create temptation or encourage sinful behavior.

I personally will only dance with my DH, kids, or in a group ( i.e. women, line dancing) with no physical contact. I am very conservative though, and would also not be alone with a man other than my husband (I do not have brothers, so that is a moot point).
post #17 of 31
*A Dancing Story *
I went to a southern Bible college for a year and there rule was that you could only dance if it was in a "worship context." That phrase always made me laugh. I believe that everything a Christian does can be in a worshipful context (laundry, cooking, weeding), as long as the Christian isn't doing anything sinful. So, I went up to VA with my friends and did contra dancing in a "worship context."

Your questions are very interesting because the dancing rule varies so much from church to church and Christian to Christian. There are some churches that would have dancing in the service and other's where you couldn't dance in the service but you could dance in the fellowship hall (basement). In others, you couldn't dance anywhere on church property, and still others forbid all kinds of dancing. Other churches allow folk dancing as part of their "church culture," while others do not.

* Another dancing story *
My parents attended a Nazarine church when I was little. One day, as we were driving, my mom was telling my dad about a conversation she had with one of the ladies at the church. Mom said that dancing was forbidden as this church, except for the kind that you do in your own home with the curtians drawn. I piped up from the backseat, "I know what that means." My parents were horrified, since I wasn't supposed to understand what they were meaning. But, they played it cool and asked me what it meant. "That it's ok to dance as long as your curtians are closed and no one can see you." I thought that they were saying that it was ok to break the church's rules only when no one knew. My parents breathed a bit easier after that since I didn't yet know that they were referring to "horizontal dancing."

Interesting discussion. There is no biblical basis for not dancing. As a pp said, it's just a church rule.
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
The Church of the Nazarene forbade dancing, inresponse to wartime USO dances. Young women whose hubbies were away for months/years, being encouraged to dance with young men about to ship out. It led to "unseemly and immoral" behavior and should be avoided to prevent temptation. The church has revised their rule to allow dancing between married couples, and specifically discourages any behavior (including dancing) that would create temptation or encourage sinful behavior.

I personally will only dance with my DH, kids, or in a group ( i.e. women, line dancing) with no physical contact. I am very conservative though, and would also not be alone with a man other than my husband (I do not have brothers, so that is a moot point).
that is interesting to read about the nazerene church. I grew up nazerene and you should hear some of the excuses fed to me
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fruitful4Him View Post
that is interesting to read about the nazerene church. I grew up nazerene and you should hear some of the excuses fed to me
What I found was that a majority of church members have never read the manual, so they have no ideas why rules were created. I am one of those people who just has to know why.

Now that I know the rationale behind the rule, I understand it. I can also see situations where ti is very appropriate, but I do not think it applies to me dancing aroung the LR with my kids, or dancing at weddings or other social events with my husband. I would not go out dancing with men other than my husband though.
post #20 of 31
Coming from a similar religious background as the Duggars' current religion, the reason they don't dance is probably a matter of "seperation". They probably also don't listen to many kinds of music, from pop to country, or go to movies or clubs.

It's sort-of... "Don't be seen doing things that non-Christians do, therby being the same as them. Be different, so they'll ask you why and you can tell them about your belief in God."
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Religious Studies
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Talk Amongst Ourselves › Spirituality › Religious Studies › ? for Christians whose churches forbid dancing