Friday, April 20, 2012

Do you remember when Dancing was a Sin?

With the passing of Dick Clark, people my age are reminiscing over  his popular dance show “American Bandstand.”  I was not allowed to watch it.  Dancing was sinful. But it wasn’t just Baptist fundamentalists that feared gyrating rock ‘n rollers; many conservative people resisted it. But Dick Clark made it acceptable by bringing a clean-cut, non-threatening image into American living rooms; girls on the show couldn't wear slacks or tight sweaters, and boys had to wear jackets and ties.

Dick Clark knew how to change a culture: it's called normalizing the abnormal. Traditionalists are threatened by new ideas.  Just look at the resistance in countries under Islamic Law—Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan.

In our society, on the other hand, "change" is normal.  Unfortunately, all too many believers are ignorant or ambivalent about the impact of change. Things once considered immoral are being normalized.  Couples cohabitating, even having children, without marriage, “hooking up”—the new phrase for promiscuity, and same-sex relationships are the norm. Looking back, dancing doesn't seem so bad after all.  God forbid we should ever reach the point where we say that about today's cultural changes!


  1. Greg,

    I gained a valuable insight into how the enemy of our soul works his "normalizing" of our sins while working at a store in the SF Bay Area. I discovered the only difference between one product on our shelf and another next to it that was supposed to be new was that a different label was slapped on the outside, identifying it as genuinely different. Yet folks swore that the two items tasted different. The ploy by the manufacturer was done merely to gain more shelf space in the stores. Brilliant.

    This example is till going on as I speak to this day. But the action by the one manufacturer is also being duplicated by many others, and is not limited to this one industry.

    We the public are continually being bombarded by attempts to convince us that what we possess is distinguishable from the original; it is "new and improved." But much of our assurance is only based on a new label that tells you merely what you want to believe. And manuyfacturers have become adept at so wording the labels that one has to be equally adept in reading through their spin.

    Canon Girdlestone, in his masterful book "The Synonyms of the Old Testament" informs us that there are eleven separate words for sin in the Hebrew language. In essence, no matter how one disguises one's sin, according to God there is no "wiggle room." It is still identified as "sin" by the only One capable of sorting it all out.

    The enemy, then, is always trying to slap a new label on the same thing so we will more readily embrace it as "different from the original."

    It really is a shame that the world system actually admits this fraud. But we in the Church are not willing to admit that have been doing the same thing. We have become experts at "wiggle room" when it comes to identifying and defining our sinful ways as something other than what they are. But we are only deceiving ourselves.

    Shamefully, Karl Memminger the psychologist had to be the one to call us on it when he wrote his book, "Whatever Became of Sin?"

    "...that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened..."


  2. thank stan. This is a great illustration. Good to hear from you again!


  3. Hi Greg:

    just ran across this article and thought you might be interested; maybe you already know ...

    - D. Michael