Real Christians Don't Dance?

So is this it? This is what it comes down to: real Christians don't dance? Moses parted the water for this? Rahab tucked the spies away in her closet for this? Jael drove a tent peg into the head of Sisera for this? Jesus died and rose again, martyrs were sawn in two, and the Church has prevailed for almost two thousand years against the gates of hell so that Christians today can live out this ever important testimony to a waiting, watching world: real Christians don't dance?

   Well, it's time to get a few things straight. The world isn't waiting for Christians; the world doesn't care. In fact, no one but Christians care about what Christians do or don't do. The world is not watching Christians except to be entertained by the latest episode of spicy details in the rise and fall of TV Evanjelorama. What we have is clearly an in-house problem.

   When I carried notes to school from my parents each week excusing me from social dancing in the fifth grade, no one really cared except my parents — who cared a whole lot. They likened my testimonial stand to Daniel's before Nebuchadnezzar. I cared, too, feeling alone and abnormal, standing to the side

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while everyone else had a good time. My friends simply never understood. I didn't either, it was just something I wasn't supposed to do, something that made me different from everybody else.

   Why have Christians made such important issues out of non-issues? I think it's because we want something clearly identifiable that will distinguish us from the world. We want to be different. We want being born again to evidence itself in some clear, tangible way in our world.

   This much is good, but godly men and women have historically distinguished themselves in much more important ways than staying off the dance floor. Modern Christianity has gravitated to a list of do's and don'ts because this spells out the distinctiveness so clearly. Being born again becomes a simple matter of following a prescribed formula.

   Not that there aren't any do's and don'ts in the Christian faith. The New Testament is full of directives for godly behavior. But the biblical guidelines are much different than the ones found in popular Christianity, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out the difference. The rules for behavior in the Bible deal with less noticeable things, and involved commands which are harder to fulfill than the non-issues we have created for our own Christian identity.

   Which is easier to follow: real Christians don't envy or real Christians don't dance? Which one gets noticed first: real Christians don't lust or real Christians don't smoke? Which is harder to comply with: real Christians love their enemies or real Christians go to church on Sundays?

   Looking at it this way, it soon becomes evident that we are creating our own manageable system of weighing and measuring ourselves. We are not unlike the Pharisees, who regulated righteousness into a long, involved list of steps and procedures, cumbersome indeed, but fulfillable.

   We're really touching the age-old problem of the good as the enemy of the best. As soon as the Christian life becomes self-attainable, it ceases to require faith and loses its seasoning of humility and grace. We've exchanged a far more involved and demanding set of directives for a simpler, more obvious package. We've exchanged the Bible for a seminar notebook, the Gospel for a tract,

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the church for a television show.

   Yes, I'm afraid it has come down to this: real Christians don't dance. Don't you think Moses parted the water for something more?

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