happiness · Life

Does religion HAVE to be serious to be taken seriously?

Weddings are normally pretty staid events, especially when held in a church, and especially where the wedding procession is concerned: The groom waits alone at the altar watching as the flower girl and ring bearer, then the bridesmaids/groomsmen, then the maid-of-honor and the best man, and finally, the bride, march down the aisle to, usually, classical music.

Then you have J and K, who decided to have their wedding party recreate the hysterical comedy act about the Evolution of Dance. I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw it, thinking, “How much fun!” But then, galloping on the heels of that thought was this:  That’s something that wouldn’t be allowed in most worship spaces. In Catholicism, it would be eschewed as not serious or spiritual enough, as though God doesn’t like to dance. Most Lutheran and Episcopal congregations would agree, as would Orthodox and Conservative Judaism and all of Islam and fundamental Christian sects. (I’m betting that J and K got married by a Methodist minister.)

But why wouldn’t it be allowed? Who are we worried about offending? Certainly not God. There’s a long list of what really bugs the Almighty, I think, including murder, needless war, greed, cheating, lying, stealing, talking smack. But dancing your way into your wedding? I don’t think so. The video is great, and linked below – a great way to begin your weekend. And if you don’t know about the Evolution of Dance – which is really why the wedding video is so funny – check it out here.

Wedding Entrance Dance on You Tube


13 thoughts on “Does religion HAVE to be serious to be taken seriously?

  1. David in the bible danced wildly at times while praising God.Go d wants us to be happy and to sing and dance when we are cellebrateing.Then again there are forms of dancing that im sure he would not be pleased with,like when the couple are grinding theire sex organs together,or humping on one another,or rubing theire genetials.Yo have to use a little discretion when doing anything.Take drinking for example.I anm sure that the Lord doesn’t mind if you have a alcoholic drink after dinner,but doesnt expect you to sit there and get drunk.God gave us a brain and expects us to use it,but there are ones that would rather take it out and play with it,rather than use it as intended!

    1. Good points on the dancing styles, but I think the wedding dance was pretty tame.

  2. Repression is the operative word here. The entire Western culture is rehearsed and repressed, and very much out of touch with the “soma” ; our bodies.  The mass of our lives are directed outward toward polite society, and customs and rituals that keep the body in check. A proper set of  clothes for Sunday Mass; the  right dance steps, the suppression of the wife, our postures and our dialogue are  hypnotically programed into the repression of the body and its senses. Mostly to support the banalities of a ruling class.  Repression, along with suppressed forms of expression are all methods of control. Ergo the disallowing of the Irish to sing or dance in public places. The Irish step dance has its roots in protesting of  British rule with the arms at ones side, as if to suggest, “we are NOT dancing! You see?  Again… the body is not allowed. Dance and pure joy are not allowed…….those damn Beatles!
    The Irish were not allowed to sing in gatherings or public places. Again a control and ruling class concern. They may incite a riot!!
    To this day you cannot have a drum on the Street on 4th Ave. Too raucous. Fear and control abound
    Yet I believe that God is singing and dancing through us  and through our bodies as male and female seeking a natural desire for intimate union giving  us a rhythm and a beat that is at the core of our soul. St Francis of Assisi heard  the songs of the heavens and danced frequently. When he threw his clothes and the linens of his Father from the balcony, proclaiming “free at last, free at last” He broke into dance. That is the real fruit of the Holy Spirit…. not memorized bible passages.
    My daughter is in  PhD program for Somatic Psychology, and she is a jazz dancer. Her wedding was an event infused with the Holy Spirit as it ended with all of the Brides maids dis-robing to their jazz leotards and breaking into a 20 minute jazz dance routine that stunned the guests, and left us with all 9 of the Fruits of the Spirit!
    For a real eye opener, read a book by Christopher West entitled “Heavens Song” And you will not believe whose writings he has annotated.  It is about the Theology of the Body and the author is  Pope John Paul ll as he talks of the erotic poetry of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. It will blow your mind and leave you with an appetite for seeking more of the manifestations of the Holy by way of the body.
    I say Dance till you drop!

  3. God definitely gave us the gift of dance, and is no doubt joyful when we use that gift. But I really believe there’s a time and place for everything, and that we’ve lost touch with this, given our entertainment-eager culture. We constantly expect to be entertained. We’ve lost touch with the inner joy that comes from taking time to be more introspective, to absorb the quieter moments of life, too. I think it’s okay for us to be solemn at times, and then to burst free with joy at other times. For example, solemnity during the wedding ceremony is not a negative thing. At the wedding dance afterwards — now that’s the time to let loose! It’s all about balance — no easy thing to master, but worth it to try, I think.

    1. Good points, Roxane – there’s a time and place … you can probably have both. But I still think maybe some of our seriousness in church has more to do with leadership, personal style than with God.

  4. reneeschaferhorton,

    I’m sorry you see things as this group, or that group because it most certainly does not have any real merit today.  I wonder which brand of Catholicism you are talking about for example.  I wonder if you are aware there are multitudes of different organizations of ‘Catholic’: a word which means universal in case you didn’t know.

    I likwise wonder if you know there are charismatic Lutherans, and independent Episcopalians.  Are you aware of the movements which have broken away from their forefathers?

    I, myself am a part of an ever growing “independent” movement of churches who have broken away from the ‘mainstream’ groups for many varied reasons.  One such reason is the strict enforcement of frivilous rules and regulations geared to keep people enslaved to corporate ideals.

    I’ve celebrated a themed wedding during Halloween.  It was great fun! Everyone came in costume and sinister-sounding music was played throughout.  I even celebrated on a golf course and in another case, flew to Puerto Rico to celebrate a wedding overlooking a beautiful city on a hot, humid, overcast day.  Did I forget to mention I’m a catholic priest?  Hmmm…  I must be evil then to celebrate under such conditions.

    Yet, everyone has their own needs.  Some people prefer to celebrate in a cathedral with all the pomp and circumstance.  What is that wrong for those individuals?

    We all have our “choices”.  We make them daily.  Those who do not want to have traditional weddings, won’t and those that do, will.  Those who feel forced into certain ways of doing things, should probably seek out other groups who will help them with their needs.  Those that chose to continue to be repressed have made a choice to allow exactly that… repression.  It’s not a good thing, but there are those who prefer to remain under the thumbnail of major opinion.

    There are other options today.  I hope people begin to seek out those options rather than condemning entire groups for something no longer applicable.
    Peace Be With You.

    1. Dear ken: Thanks for writing such a thoughtful comment. Yes, ‘catholic’ with a lowercase ‘c’ does mean universal, but Catholic with the uppercase means the RCC. You are right that people make choices, but sometimes, as you say, “rules” seem illogical … As Roxane points out below, the churches often have their rules because of time and place – there’s a time and a place for dancing down the aisle. I dare say, in most mainstream protestant/Orthodox/Catholic churches, you would not see that. But, it would be great in the reception hall. Still, I’m not sure God really cares and we often set up rules for protocol – you go to a fancy restaurant in shorts, and you’ll get asked to leave. Perhaps it shouldn’t be different for church, but I struggle with that —– peace to you too!

      1. reneeschaferhorton said: “…there’s a time and a place for dancing down the aisle. I dare say, in most mainstream protestant/Orthodox/Catholic churches, you would not see that.”

        And yet I remember being in seminary and being taught about liturgical dance in the RCC and how wonderful it is and how it should be celebratred in mainstream.  I wonder what happened to the wonderful thoughts of Liturgical Dance, Charismatic liturgical celebrations, sung mass like the Mass of Light, and other such wonderful things that seem to have been forgotten by most people.

        Mine is not the authority on such matters since I left the RCC several years ago for…  hmmm… (shall we say for)  different pastures.  Perhaps dancing down the isle is something that should be seriously looked at by all denominations.  We could all do with a bit of remembering not to take life too seriously.

        Personally, I hope I get more opportunities for open services.  We spend so much time trying to keep God locked tightly in a box we forget God is actually limitless.  I myself prefer not to keep God in a box any longer.  I love open and truly “universal” celebrations of the Divine.

        Oh…  and “Catholic” with the large ‘C’ was originally intended to take on the “universality” of the God and of the celebrations of that God in the olden days.  It was also supposed to represent the entire Universal Church and that when we celebrate, we celebrate with the “entire” church (or the Church universal as it was called.)  It served a dual purpose.

        Meh…  But what do I know.  I’m just a heretic.

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