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? for Christians whose churches forbid dancing - Page 2

post #21 of 31
Not dancing for me is more about modesty than anything. It's about not shaking around body parts that shouldn't be emphasized and not wearing clothing that is immodest. That being said, I have no issue with dancing that is fairly benign, such as square dancing, where there is not booty or chest shaking going on. I guess you could say dancing that is not sensual.

So much of modern "dancing" is bumping and grinding, emphasizing parts of the body that I believe should be saved for your spouse, and immodest apparel that highlights the body.

I'm a fairly conservative Christian and I was actually raised that dancing was taboo except in the privacy of your own home (by yourself or with your spouse). As I've gotten older and looked into it more, the only aspect of it that I can find that is unBiblical is if it causes the one you are dancing with to think thoughts of you they shouldn't be thinking (lustful, usually). And in that regard, it goes more along with being modest than the actual dancing part.

I hope that makes sense.
post #22 of 31
Does this prohibition cover trained dancers- like Ballet and Modern dancers? I was wondering what would be the response if one of the church members had a true passion and talent for dance.
post #23 of 31
That would depend on the church denomination and the form of dancing. In the Nazarene church, the dancing itself is not the problem, it was the behavior that the dancing led to. Prohibiting dancing was done to "discourage licentious behavior."

As a former ballet dancer myself, I was never in any danger of "illicit acts" with the men I danced with. It was a "stage relationship." However, there were many people who did not support me, and would have thought that dancing with another man once I was married was a BIG no-no. I think that most professional dancers end up in churches where this is not an issue.
post #24 of 31
When my eldest was a baby, I was hoping to move to a conservative Mennonite community, and they were very clear that no dancing was allowed. The thinking is that since there are no mentions of godly folk dancing in the New Testament, it is obviously not being held up as part of a holy life, even if it's not inherently sinful. Plus, as it's not mentioned in the NT, there's no Biblical template for a godly way to do it, so better to avoid it than inadvertently do it in a way that offends the Lord.

In addition to the sexual immorality that can be associated with moving the body to music (dancing considered to be the possible beginning of a steep and slippery slope, a gamble you don't want to take), it also is a frivolous activity, that does not glorify God. That time and energy would be better spent in missions, working hard, teaching your children, ministering and serving others, Bible study/devotions, prayer, etc. Even dancing in the conservative Jewish manner (men with men, women with women, and no contact between the sexes) still takes time away from those loftier, serious pursuits. Carnivals were prohibited for the same basic reasons.

Also, Mennonites don't generally use instruments in their music, preferring instead the instrument of the voice. Again - instruments aren't mentioned in the NT and therefore are considered questionable - sinful at worst, unnecessary at best. (Which means Mennonite choirs tend to sound fabulous - a cappella in beautiful harmony!)

Naturally, there are positive mentions of dancing and instruments in the Hebrew scriptures; however, some denoms are very firmly rooted in the authority of the NT.
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deir View Post
Does this prohibition cover trained dancers- like Ballet and Modern dancers? I was wondering what would be the response if one of the church members had a true passion and talent for dance.
Yes, for the community I mentioned, absolutely. The clothing, designed to highlight and reveal the lines of a dancer's form, and the movements themselves, would be considered immodest, and the time, dedication, and effort put into this or any other fine art would be considered a waste. Possibly even prideful, depending on who you asked.

Communities like this tend to highly value only practical crafts, and "sobriety" of dress and manner. Not that they don't laugh and have fun -- but art for art's sake is not held up as something to praise, and most things and activities are to be functional, to allow them to work to a higher purpose - they seek to find joy in that instead of in aesthetics or admiring others/seeking admiration.
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Collinsky View Post
Yes, for the community I mentioned, absolutely. The clothing, designed to highlight and reveal the lines of a dancer's form, and the movements themselves, would be considered immodest, and the time, dedication, and effort put into this or any other fine art would be considered a waste. Possibly even prideful, depending on who you asked.

Communities like this tend to highly value only practical crafts, and "sobriety" of dress and manner. Not that they don't laugh and have fun -- but art for art's sake is not held up as something to praise, and most things and activities are to be functional, to allow them to work to a higher purpose - they seek to find joy in that instead of in aesthetics or admiring others/seeking admiration.
Very interesting. That is so foreign to me because I am a choreographer/performer and come from a family of visual artists. I have to say it really makes me sad.
post #27 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by DahliaRW View Post
Not dancing for me is more about modesty than anything. It's about not shaking around body parts that shouldn't be emphasized and not wearing clothing that is immodest. That being said, I have no issue with dancing that is fairly benign, such as square dancing, where there is not booty or chest shaking going on. I guess you could say dancing that is not sensual.

So much of modern "dancing" is bumping and grinding, emphasizing parts of the body that I believe should be saved for your spouse, and immodest apparel that highlights the body.

I'm a fairly conservative Christian and I was actually raised that dancing was taboo except in the privacy of your own home (by yourself or with your spouse). As I've gotten older and looked into it more, the only aspect of it that I can find that is unBiblical is if it causes the one you are dancing with to think thoughts of you they shouldn't be thinking (lustful, usually). And in that regard, it goes more along with being modest than the actual dancing part.

I hope that makes sense.
I'm her sis so we were raised in the same home. We both came from an extremely conservative/hardline Church of Christ.

Like most things when I was growing up, the emphasis was put too much on behavior rather then heart. Like not doing certain things made you a Christian, rather than developing a good heart and letting that dictate what you do. Personally, I find that incredibly hypocritical. I know plenty of people who abstain from so called wordly activities that are just white-washed tombs with bitterness filling their hearts.

While I'm not comfortable with bump and grind kind of dancing that is done to be purposefully sensual/sexual, I do not have issues with dancing done as art (such as ballet, which both of my DD's are in though it was forbidden in my birth family except my youngest sister who got to do it for a couple years in preschool). I also take no issues with most cultural/traditional dances and rather appreciate and enjoy them.
post #28 of 31
Fascinating thread. I have cousins who are Nazarene, but I barely know them so I hadn't known they avoided dancing.

I have a friend who was raised Church of Christ, and I've been told that they were also no instruments, only vocal music at church.

As for the biblical basis for not dancing, I thought that came out of the story of King David, 2 Samuel Chapter 6.

Growing up Catholic, I saw liturgical dancing only once. I've read that the Catholic church discourages it even more now.
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deir View Post
Very interesting. That is so foreign to me because I am a choreographer/performer and come from a family of visual artists. I have to say it really makes me sad.
why would that make you sad? are you thinking of joining such a community?

many groups of people believe to give up things often consider "rights" or "pleasures" we gain something precious deep within us. this isn't just a christian belief, but in many religions.


that said I disagree about the visial arts thing - all visual arts aren't looked down on in plain communities- just any art to will lift the physical person up. anything that negates their modesty would be considered taboo. it's not ART itself which is taboo- it's the particular expression of art. one may be good at lots of things- but it doesn't mean we HAVE to indulge in public displays of them ykwim?

that said, if that's not for you, then it shouldn't sadden you. they may very well find that a worthwhile and lifestyle for them.
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
why would that make you sad? are you thinking of joining such a community?

many groups of people believe to give up things often consider "rights" or "pleasures" we gain something precious deep within us. this isn't just a christian belief, but in many religions.


that said I disagree about the visial arts thing - all visual arts aren't looked down on in plain communities- just any art to will lift the physical person up. anything that negates their modesty would be considered taboo. it's not ART itself which is taboo- it's the particular expression of art. one may be good at lots of things- but it doesn't mean we HAVE to indulge in public displays of them ykwim?

that said, if that's not for you, then it shouldn't sadden you. they may very well find that a worthwhile and lifestyle for them.
I guess it makes me sad because I have always considered my talents as natural, God given and VERY life affirming. I am thinking of a child who feels like more than anything, they want to dance or create art of some kind and then to be told they can't because it is sinful. Just makes me sad for that kid.
post #31 of 31
Quote:
I guess it makes me sad because I have always considered my talents as natural, God given and VERY life affirming. I am thinking of a child who feels like more than anything, they want to dance or create art of some kind and then to be told they can't because it is sinful. Just makes me sad for that kid.
Most find ways to express themselves. Either within the confines of their religion, or after separating from the religion as adults.

I have "Plain" friends, and for them The Arts are just not part of life. But I find no lack of creative expression and joy of life among them. Their expressions just differ in the way they show up, and are not performed publically. They too believe that individual talents are God-given, but on that subject they believe that talents are to be used for glorifying God, and not for personal fulfillment. So they recognize talents as God-given, but channel their use into things which they believe glorify God.
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