Thursday, January 30, 2014

Exegetical Dancing ...

So I am a huge fan of Strictly Come Dancing. I absolutely love watching the growing competence of the dancers as they submit to the discipline of the dance steps as opposed to gyrating "free style" and writhing away without the steps to get in the way. Time to take some steps towards some dance classes available over here (and persuade the fuzband that he needs to do them!).

might be all glamour and performance on the Saturday. But the reality behind that extravaganza is a group of people (some with two left feet!) taking on a challenge to learn the discipline and rules of becoming a dancer. It might feel  dazzling on Saturday night but in actual fact, the performance is merely a 3mt result of endless hours of rigorous and sometimes gruelling training. And exhaustion. Of learning the rules, learning to move differently, learning to put aside assumed modes of dancing, learning to forget about yourself and let the music take over, learning to let go of  your ideas of whether you can dance or not (and whether you look stupid or not). The days leading to the Saturday are purely about focusing and learning what the tradition of a particular dance has to teach you. And on the Saturday - of course you need the nerves of steel to take harsh and ruthless criticism from the judges - especially Craig RH. There is the need have the guts to admit you were not doing it very well, and then move on.

I think all this is a great metaphor for some things.

For relationships, for disciplines of study, and especially now, for me, for theology.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the "Exegesis" section of the Theology I am doing, has been creatively renamed "The Exegetical Dance" with accompanying "exegetical dance steps". It is actually very much like Strictly in principle.  You let go your presuppositions, you take on the discipline of learning new steps, of understanding the tradition of the dance of the particular section you are doing, while also submitting to new movements that have grown within that dance.

It is exhilarating, just as Strictly is...and sometimes as exhausting I think. Sometimes you find it hard to let go the old ways of random moves that you have collected over the years assuming them to be the right steps. But there is no growing without change, and there is no change without letting go of "the old" and "taking in the new". We are not static in our knowledge of God, or scripture, or how to live. But w
e don't change our modes and ways of moving or thinking (or relating and studying) easily. We are creatures of habit. We always believe we are right. We assume we have all the answers.

Here's to a season of great roller coaster rides through dance classes this autumn,
Strictly Come Dancing and Theology.