Mark Morford, a columnist for SF Gate, gets it just right in his "Does your religion dance? Behold, the most dangerous issue facing modern faith: it's inability to evolve, nakedly."
If you've never read Morford, his free-floating stream of consciousness writing style takes some getting used to. But what he says, and how he says it, sound just fine to me in this piece.
We as a culture just might be suffering a slow, painful death by spiritual stagnation, by ideological stasis, by cosmic rigor mortis. It has become painfully, lethally obvious in the age of George W. Bush and authoritarian groupthink that our major religious systems and foundations don't know how to move. They don't learn, adjust, evolve, see things anew. They don't know how to dance. And what's more, this little problem might just be the death of us all.
I hadn't done much dancing until February of last year. That's when my wife and I started taking Argentine Tango lessons.
Since, the Tango/Dance category of my other blog has filled up with quite a few dance-related posts. We've also tried American Tango, Nightclub 2-Step, Waltz, and a dash of Cha-Cha-Cha.
It probably isn't a coincidence that the more churchless I've become, the more I've been attracted to moving freely on a dance floor.
"Freely" is the key word. I've practiced martial arts for about fifteen years. Traditional katas, or forms, are akin to rigid religions: you don't mess with how they're performed.
So I was familiar with moving on a hardwood floor long before I started dancing. But there's a big difference between moving to somebody else's preconceived beat, and your own creative expression.
This is what Morford is calling for: flexible spontaneity in religion and spirituality.
It is through the creative impulse, through imagination and our deep need for mystery, that the gods can truly dance, remain fresh, stay alive and vital and interesting. It is only through our ability to reinvent them and honor them in new and miraculous ways that humanity will keep afloat and vibrant. The gods are, after all, our creation. Why not let our creation tango?
Here's a take on dancing Argentine Tango improvisationally. It's difficult, something I can only aspire to. (Argentine Tango is called the "Ph.D. of social dances" for that reason.) The authors say:
A much greater mastery of tango and more improvisational freedom is found in the ability to break off patterns and switch to others without hesitation. The highest degree of improvisational freedom is found in choosing individual steps without regard to any pre-determined patterns.
Sounds like good advice for dancing with the divine also.
That said, I enjoyed Morford's mention of the "profane masculine" – as contrasted with the "divine feminine." Like him, I'm more a devotee of the former.