Friday 5 June, 2020

SEE: Vibes in African church spark local debate on dances in the House

A screen grab from a video of suggestive dancing in an African church.

A screen grab from a video of suggestive dancing in an African church.

There is a scripture in the bible that says persons praising God should do so in a joyful manner.

It appears, however, that there are different interpretations of the statement, as church members in Jamaica have revealed.

The church members have been responding to a development in Africa earlier this year, where a member of a prominent church found him or herself in trouble with authorities at the religious institution for seemingly putting too much joy in dancing during church services.

A letter to the ‘offending’ church member stated that the decision to include more than the normal creativity in a number or dance moves during church service, had angered officials of the church.

The letter included a strong warning to the member, outlining that if the member did not gauge the dance steps to what the church deemed as acceptable, it could result in strict punishment.

Social media users in Jamaica and a few church members have since expressed mixed views on the development far afield.

“The church is not in Jamaica, but it is an issue that is applicable to people of the shores,” said a social media user.

“There is a scripture that says, ‘Make a joyful noise…’, and that persons should come before His presence not boring, but with life and with vibrancy, and that means even in dance there is no sin in livening up ones step,” said another social media user.

Another user disagreed, saying in the process, that some church members were bringing in dance moves that looked more like the Jamaican ‘daggering’ dance, into the church, and this is acceptable.

“Persons should remember that in (relation to) the house of God, persons should approach it with respect,” said a social media user who identified himself as ‘Howard’.

“How is it that when entering the court persons are aware not to wear anything they please, and that they should conduct themselves with respect? Well, the church is no different. In the house of God there should be reverence,” said a church member.

But another church member said she felt that is exactly why churches are losing many members, arguing that the institutions are not evolving and implementing creativity in how they are trying to reach potential members.

“The churches are boring - some of them - and need to change. They need to use more creativity in how they try to reach outsiders,” said the member.

Even a number of officials from churches in Jamaica joined in the conversation.

There should be creativity in the church, but persons should abide by certain morals. This is the house of God,” said one leader from a prominent church in Kingston.

The official asked for his church and name not to be mentioned, saying that while he held an official position in the church, he was not authorised to speak to media in relation to the institution.

His viewpoint was echoed by some other church officials.

But there were a few officials and longstanding members who felt that the development, while it was focussed on morals, should also be centred on addressing the need for churches to not be averse to using more creative methods to attracting potential members, especially younger persons.

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