Okay, so now that I’ve blessed you all with some joy, I can’t seem to get it out of my head: it could be that I listened to a podcast of Stephen Colbert reading his book, or it could be that my brain is easily impressed at this point, but I can’t not see him dancing back and forth and singing. I found out through the podcast that he’s a second grade Sunday School teacher; perhaps that was one of their worship performances, although he’s Irish Catholic . . .
The other week at Bible Study the speaker shared a story about waiting for her coffee and listening to the baristas discuss whether or not they would go out clubbing that night: one was all for it, and the other wasn’t because it was the third night in a row. The speaker’s response: “Well, duh! Who would go out clubbing that often? What kind of a life is that? How boring!” and other such disparaging remarks. This was in the context of not leading a self-absorbing life, but rather spending our selves on others – a life of meaning.
As she continued on calling us to a different sort of life, a small little person inside of me who I haven’t heard from in quite some time cried out, “But I *miss* clubbing!” When I was single and living in another state, my roommate and I would go out a great many nights, mostly just to get dinner because cooking was not our schtick. But Saturday nights were reserved for dancing. We’d go to this obnoxious club and dance our little hearts out until they played “Sweet Caroline” as the closing song, flung on the lights, and we all walked out sweating our way to the car.
Yes, sometimes it was repetitive. And it certainly wasn’t a “deep” experience. But there was some community elements to it – meeting folks who frequented at the same time, coming up with names for them since we didn’t actually know their names, everyone cheering for the same song, etc. And to dance: just to be in a room with lots of other people and blaring music and being part of that energy -man, I miss that.
I’ve read about folks combining worship and clubbing: this article is really quality. And a friend of mine recently wrote about the idea of joy in the story of David dancing “naked” in the streets as the Ark of the Covenant returned to Jerusalem. His wifey scorned him for his joy (he wasn’t naked: just in robes, but still – dressed down) and she ended up childless, and child birthing is something the Bible refers to as a major joyful thing.
Part of the reason I like the Colbert clip is because he is joyful and unashamed. True, he does that for a living, but still: can you imagine if someone danced like that in a worship gathering? Maybe they do at your faith community.
I think I’d like to be part of something like that. It takes practice, though. When I started going out on Saturday nights, I hung out to the sides. But after a few weeks, my roommate and I were in the midst of it all. When I attend Journey to Wholenesses it takes a couple of music sessions before I feel comfortable twirling, whereas the facilitators are “twirling fools” the minute the music starts up.
Joy and worship: do you see it? What does it look like for you? Would you ever dance?