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Interpretive Dance and Pastoral Regret

October 15, 2010

There are more than a few pastors who frequent this site, and I know that you have had that moment. They might look a little different, but you have had that moment.

What is ‘that‘ moment?

It’s the moment when your heart drops, panic sets in, and you ask, “Why did I give the mic to him/her?” “Why did I let them do that?” “What possessed me to think this was a good idea?”

The following five minutes after asking yourself any of those questions feels like about two hours. You just stand there hoping that there are no visitors on that Sunday.

Yeah, OK, the ‘dancing in this video is bad–and as an aside, if you ever want that moment, agree to some interpretive dance–but the pastor is priceless.

Turn the volume down on your computer before playing video


15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2010 10:33 am

    There is nothing worse on God’s green earth than ‘worship dance’ performed by middle-aged, bare foot women, especially if accompanied by potentially eye damaging ribbons and flags.

    It is the ultimate cringe moment for virtually everyone and yet – out of politeness – no one dare speak the truth to the ‘worshipper’.

    Ah, but it’s unto God I hear you say……however, how many visitors has it actually put off?

    Just alienated about a zillion people thru this comment, but someone has to be brave and take the stand 😉

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy permalink
    October 15, 2010 11:27 am

    Liturgical Dance, Baptist Style…

    • October 16, 2010 8:12 am

      I think Jim West inspired that performance, that is the exact same dance he performed last Thanksgiving (US version of said holiday). I shudder to think what Jim will come up with this year.

    • October 16, 2010 6:08 pm

      I can’t help but notice how empty the pews are.

      • Eric Hinkle permalink
        October 16, 2010 8:30 pm

        There might be a good reason for that.

    • Eric Hinkle permalink
      October 16, 2010 8:32 pm

      Not exactly how the Thalendri would do it, is it, Ken?

  3. katie permalink
    October 15, 2010 5:50 pm

    I like how he smiles when she turns around at the end. She thinks it’s because he enjoyed her ‘praise dancing’ but he’s really just so glad that it’s over.

    • October 16, 2010 6:03 pm

      There is infinite truth in what you just said.

      As a pastor, I have done that myself.

  4. locker51 permalink
    October 16, 2010 5:44 pm

    Leave her alone. She looks happy to me.

    • October 16, 2010 6:04 pm

      And we all know that the acceptable criteria for liturgical development is the fun factor, cause religion is all about making a place for our own personal ideas of what makes you happy.

      Much as I think that this is a lame thing to pick on (on Scot’s part). What is lamer is that someone went to the trouble to make this public. What the hell were they thinking? Locker51 you might be right she’s happy – and I can even imagine situations where this might make someone happy (or feel of value within the community) and actually have some redeeming value. But it begs the question of why on earth someone would video tape it, let alone put it on the internet. If it was the lady’s doing then I suggest any possible redeeming values letting her “perform” like this did not sink in. If it was the doing of someone else – were they trying to make a mockery of this lady? All we can be certain of is that this should not have been on tape, let alone on the internet.

      In terms of liturgical development, there are serious problems with performance elements being introduced into worship. Before you think me a prude, I love corporate dancing in church and I am one of those (sometimes) flaky charismatics. But I have also studied a fair bit of liturgical theology. Enough to establish a serious critique of “special” dances (and songs for that matter) like this one. What does that say about the community? What does it say about worship? What does it say about he God that is worshipped there?

      • Jake permalink
        October 16, 2010 7:06 pm

        Videos like this are the entire reason the internet exists in the first place!

      • C. Alan Loewen permalink
        October 17, 2010 6:31 pm


        The woman herself put it up. If you go to her YouTube site, she has lots and lots of other dancing videos.

        In fact, here is her site:

      • October 17, 2010 8:21 pm


  5. October 16, 2010 6:01 pm

    I have been an on-and-off pulpit minister since 1976 and yes, sadly and tragically I have accumulated many such experiences.

    Sorry, but I dare not tell any horror stories as this is entered under my real name and can be found by Google, but maybe someday under a pseudonym or maybe telling the tales through my writing partner who frequents these lists …

    However, I will tell you a tale that averts this trope hard …

    We had an elderly missionary from Haiti who came to speak to our church and everything was going as predicted such as the slide display pointing out people that we didn’t know and would never meet, and then he pulled out a metal wood saw and a violin bow.

    I cringed, his wife started to play the piano, he put the saw between his legs and drew the bow across it …

    And we were treated to the most amazing display of Haitian ingenuity we have ever had the privilege of experiencing. He actually was jaw-dropping good and though a novelty, it actually was a pleasant memory for the church family.

    However, my soul is already going into a fetal position as I remember other incidents …

  6. phil_style permalink
    October 19, 2010 4:50 am

    Mind you, David was criticised by the “proper” (ai.e. bitchy) types for being a bit of a looney with his worship style.. so maybe this lady really is just a joyful, happy lady who loves to dance as an expression of worship? Although, there might be a less distracting place/time to do it?

    I cringe at this sort of thing… but that’s becasue I’m culturally conditioned to find it “uncool”, maybe I’m the crazy one?

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