“When the music changes, so does the dance” African Proverb
Oh good night! This has to be one of the silliest posts ever. I am planning a rather unique post for tomorrow which does involve some history. So, for today, I just had to post this up for our readers. It seems that even dancing now is not safe from being turned into a life lesson on "Biblical" gender roles by the Calvinistas.
An alert reader sent me a blog posted by the Gospel Coalition written by one their Council members who is advocating that men take “their women” salsa dancing to teach them “submission” whilst the male learns all about how to be a manly "leader". Yep. You read that right.
Now, for those readers who think that I am one of those stick in the muds who thinks dancing comes straight from the pit of hell, I provide my dancing history. I grew up in a family that loved to dance. My parents took dance lessons and excelled at the cha cha and tango. I was placed in every form of dance instruction known to mankind. Some of my earliest memories are of standing on my dad’s big shoes while he danced to his favorite polka music. Here is a true confession that I anticipate will make me the brunt of stupid ethnic jokes. The Polka Cousins played at my wedding and that was AFTER I became a Christian. I can fox trot, polka, minuet, boogie and rumba with the best of them. I can even lead in the Greek line dance with handkerchief! Nuff said.
Thabiti Anyabwile, erstwhile pastor of the The First Baptist Church Grand Cayman Islands and staunch defender of all things Calvinista, wrote an article called “Fellas Take the Ladies Salsa Dancing.”
The Gospel Coalition breathlessly jumped on the bandwagon to get this radically new form of gender specific expression out there. I can almost hear them now. “See, we have Mark Driscoll who talks dirty, replays molestations of others in his mind and drinks single malt Scotch and now we have a guy who pushes salsa dancing. We only need to get some guy who believes that “running with the bulls” in Spain points people to the Passion and we will have achieved “coolness” in the extreme. Maybe we won’t have to shave our heads to look like CJ Mahaney after all.”
Now, for all you stupid Christians out there who are not up on this latest trend of “godly” Salsa dancing, here is the Opening Dance of the World Salsa Competition. As you watch this, imagine a stretchy panted Thabiti cutting the rug with his swooshy-skirted wife.
Here are some of Twinkle Toed Thabiti’s thoughts from the article. Please read the entire post at the above link.
“1. The entire dance depends on male leadership.
There is no dance if the man doesn’t lead. The choreography is in his head. He must know the next steps, turns, and destination he desires for the couple. The woman responds to his lead. Without a plan and without leadership, everyone is left standing on the dance floor staring at each other”
This, applied to real life, could mean that a woman is unable to continue in her day-to-day activities without a man orchestrating every step. So the woman married to a soldier deployed in Afghanistan is stranded until he is able to phone home with instructions. The single woman is really left out in the cold, condemned to a life of confusion without the apt leadership of a man. How about the man desperately sick with cancer who must rely on his wife for decisions?
"2. Leadership requires a lot of communication.
But salsa teaches you to constantly communicate. While you choreograph, you must communicate with your partner by means of gentle nudges, leading pulls, and clear signals. Rough communication ruins the dance for the woman. But warm, gentle touches make the dance enjoyable. Communicate much, much more than you think you need to. She’ll dance with you if you tell her the next move in a loving, gentle way.”
I find this one interesting. Apparently the woman must wait for the man to communicate. So, does she stand there, tapping her foot? What if he doesn’t communicate because he is too busy watching hockey? Life is not a series of 5-minute songs. Real life is lived out over a long periods of time which is not well represented by a Marc Anthony song.
“3. Many couples need more tension in their lives.
Let me explain. During the dance, I noticed that when I wanted to signal the next move, often Kristie didn’t receive the signal. I was stuck trying to figure out how to nudge or pull in a way she could “hear.” Turns out that our arms were extended too far and held too loosely. In order for the signals to be noticeable, we actually needed to move much closer to one another and keep a certain amount of “elastic tension” in our arms. By keeping this tension, my signals ran like electric current through my arms into hers. And voila! She danced with me!”
Once again, a tight arm does not translate well to the complexity of day to day communication. Sometimes tension just adds fuel to the fire.
“4. Submission and anticipation are contradictions.
But another problem was her attempt to anticipate my next move. She was actually trying to help and dance with me. But her efforts to “help me lead” were hampering my ability to lead. Let me say that again for any wives that missed it: Her efforts to “help me lead” were hampering my ability to lead.
Ladies, ask your husband if there are ways you’re trying to help him that seem to hinder his efforts to lead. That may be an area where your well-intended anticipations actually usurp leadership and ruin the blessing of submission.”
So, a woman’s efforts to help her husband to lead often results in a hinderance?! Wow, stupid woman! A five-minute dance does NOT represent the long-term give and take of a thoughtful relationship. We have read of a fair number of incidents at SGM in which the male leaders handled many circumstances poorly. They, of course, have marginalized women by keeping them out of leadership. Could the presence of women, asking the questions and rebuking the status quo, have made a difference? I believe that the marginalization of 50%+ of the church has led to a coarsening within the faith by a male dominated leadership as unfortunately l demonstrated by Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney and many mega-leaders in this country. Yep, their wives are submissive. How has that panned out?
“5. Submissions depends on a lot of communication.
The man’s communication in salsa is that important. My wife’s need for communication is that deep. For our wives to honor and follow us, they need to hear a lot about what we’re thinking and doing. ! Have you ever watched competitive salsa on television? Where was your attention riveted? I’m sure you enjoyed noticing the outfits, and perhaps you made some observations about the couple. But didn’t you find yourself most taken with the woman whenever the lead gave her room to free style a little bit? The elegance. The smoothness. The artistry. Fingers poised just so. Steps taken with such grace. And, alas, the desire to return to her partner’s outstretched hand and lead. “
I find his last sentence strange. “Alas” the desire to return to her partner’s lead. Why alas? Isn’t this supposed to be a joy according to Thabiti? Maybe this was an unintended slip of the pen that shows there is far more to gender roles in relationships than a simple dance can represent.
For many women, sidelined by some callous, male dominated churches and called gullible and easily deceived by Thabiti’s buddies, this male leadership thing may not be all that Twinkle Toes Thabiti has alleged.
The reports of domestic abuse and pedophilia within male dominated, patriarchal churches, such as SGM, a devoted leader in the Gospel Coalition, are raising many questions about the ability of today’s churches to effectively respond to these pressing problems.
In the midst of the horrors of the reports of abuse that are found on sites such as SGM Survivors or the alleged coverup of a pedophile at Prestonwood Church as reported on New BBC Open Forum, these self styled leaders of the Gospel Coalition are publishing essays on salsa dancing and complementarianism. Could this be akin to Nero fiddling while Rome burned? No wonder a recent Duke study indicated that more people are fleeing our churches. We don’t need a church to encourage us to salsa dance. We can get that from any dance studio in town. We need a church to teach us to face our problems seriously and to provide us with sound guidance that points us to the Gospel. Salsa dancing may be fun but it is NOT a "gospel" solution. In fact, it sounds just plain silly.