Followership: Dance to the Music

A few nights ago, Jeannie and I watched the classic movie Footloose.  Her upcoming Sevilla (Spain) High School Reunion has taken “Footloose in Fort Worth” as its theme, and it even includes a “crazy sock contest.”

If you’re familiar with the film, you’ll remember the prom scene, where for what seems like “forever,” no one dances.  Everyone sits or stands around the edge of the dance floor.

It was like revisiting my own dances in high school.  We did the same thing.  We talked nervously with a date and other friends who were there.  But no one danced—until—until—one “brave couple” walked out of the crowd and began to dance together (usually to a slow dance without any fancy steps).

That couple changed the moment, and it was not long until other couples joined in.  By the end of the evening the whole place was “rocking” with noise, laughter, and a lot of moves and steps that made our parents wonder if we were going to grow up and destroy the world.

That first couple didn’t begin to dance in silence.  They danced to the music.  The next couples were mostly following the couples’ example, but it didn’t take long for them to be dancing because of the music and the joy that the evening afforded.  We no longer looked at the courageous couple, we looked at each other and we moved in rhythm to the same music the original couple had begun to dance to.

In some ways, this is discipleship.  For a long time, no one moves.  Everyone stays on the edges.  But then, one brave person or group begins to dance to the music.  And it isn’t long before others join in.  At first we are mostly following the example of the first dancers, but soon, we are dancing to the music itself.

I’m reading my way through Len Sweet’s book, I Am a Follower.  It is a book that’s definitely needed today, and I hope you’ll “join the dance” and read it.  You’ll soon find yourself dancing to the Music, not to Len Sweet.  Here’s just a taste that comes right at the beginning of the book…

A first follower is a way paver, a true disciple, and a life sharer.  A first follower chooses a way to go even when no one else is going there.  A first follower recognizes the truth even when no one sees the beauty of an ordinary dance.  A first follower knows that to dance from the soul is to embody the dance itself.  We are first followers.  He is the dance.  Feel the rhythm, pass the motion, make some music.  Get up and dance (p. 3).

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Followership: Dance to the Music

  1. flutterby43 says:

    “To believe in God is the beginning. To hear Him call your name is the start. To dance in His arms is real life.” ~Angela Thomas 🙂

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