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Q&A: ACU’s dean of students discusses new policy allowing dancing



For 56 years, students have combined dancing and singing in Abilene Christian University's annual Sing Song musical variety show each February. This year, more than 8,000 people bought tickets to watch shows in Moody Coliseum. Sing Song features a cappella performances of social clubs and other organizations, while hosts and hostesses entertain audiences, often with accompaniment by the ACU Jazz Ensemble. In this photo, hosts and hostesses Peter Hargrave, Carlee Cagle, Blake Rogers, Callie Massey, Jared Ohrmundt and Kat Bailey perform on stage in February 2011. (Photo by Gary Rhodes, ACU)

Shall we dance?
Abilene Christian University in Texas has lifted its long-standing prohibition against dancing at university-sponsored events or events hosted by official student organizations.
ACU’s board of trustees reviewed the revised policy this past weekend and supported the staff-initiated change, said Jean-Noel Thompson, the university’s vice president for student life and dean of students.
The old policy:

Dancing is prohibited at ACU-sponsored events or events hosted by official student organizations; however, organizations that exhibit cultural expression through dance as a part of their organizational purpose may have performances by organization members as approved by advisors and the Director of Student Activities and Productions.

The new policy:

ACU is committed to creating a strong Christian environment, where students have opportunities for appropriate social interaction as young adults and develop lifelong relationships. Many forms of dance and cultural expression are embraced by our society, some of which are consistent with our Christian mission and values, while others are more likely to distract us from a Christ-centered life. Therefore, in keeping with the Christian mission of the university, only certain dance forms and venues will be considered for approval. Requests for events involving dance may be submitted by officially recognized ACU student organizations and must be approved by Student Life.

Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson

Thompson discussed the policy revision in an interview with The Christian Chronicle:
Q: What prompted this policy change, and what does it mean for ACU students?
A: First, I’ll say that our decision to change policy is not about a sudden willingness to “give in” to student pressure. The Office of Student Life periodically reviews its policies to determine whether they support or detract from how we help our students mature and become equipped for life well beyond their years at ACU. This includes how they conduct themselves in various social settings.
We have, in fact,  been evaluating policy in this area for several years. We always want to make sure our policies align with our goals, objectives and mission. During this process we have looked at similar policies now in place at roughly 50 other faith-based institutions associated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, which includes sister schools. … We’ve found compelling reasons to provide appropriate venues for dancing on our campus for two reasons:
1. It helps us influence or encourage students to show appropriate conduct toward each other in a dancing environment or in social settings where there is dance (i.e. wedding receptions). We want to ask: “If you’re going to dance, how can you do this in a way that honors yourselves and honors God?” We’re taking a proactive and developmental approach designed to help encourage appropriate behavior.
2. We believe the change will enhance the experience our students have on campus by providing additional appropriate social venues for building community – having a good time in an appropriate manner.
Our students live on an increasingly diverse campus where their peers come from various nations and ethnic backgrounds. For many of these young people, dancing is an expected and accepted cultural expression. As for the kinds of music that will be approved (i.e., hip hop, rap, etc.): Music selections and dance styles will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Going forward, our social clubs and organizations will submit event requests. Subsequently …
• We will evaluate the venue to make sure it’s safe and appropriate;

• We’ll review the DJ/music list to ensure the lyrics are not inconsistent with our Christian mission; and

• We will make sure faculty/staff advisors are present at the event, and are prepared to address any issues that may arise.
Q: What has been the rationale for prohibiting dancing at ACU-sponsored events or events hosted by official student organizations, and how has that rationale changed?
A: In reality, many students come to college – even to our Christian universities – expecting to dance as a recreational and social activity; they dance socially in their high school years, attend proms, dance at family weddings, etc. For example, in Texas, western dance is a culturally accepted activity, and there are opportunities for the young and old to participate in family-friendly events where alcohol is not allowed. There also are, of course, places where our students can choose to dance socially in an environment where Christ is in no way honored and where their safety is jeopardized.
In making this change, we’re acting to make sure students can participate in this activity in a safe, supervised environment – one that gives us the opportunity to proactively influence them in modeling appropriate Christian behavior.
Q: What kind of dancing can we expect to see on the ACU campus? Sock hops? “Footloose” dancing? “Dirty Dancing?”
A: To be clear, so-called “dirty dancing” in any form will be prohibited. This is precisely the kind of dancing seen in nightclub settings that doesn’t begin to mirror the manner in which we expect our students to conduct themselves. As for what kind of dancing we will allow: We’re going to evaluate every proposal presented by our students, and there will be a process to assess appropriateness. We can’t simply say this form or that will be accepted or rejected. Our decision-making will occur on a case-by-case basis. At the ACU-sponsored event, we will proactively confront forms of expression we believe are inappropriate. It’s somewhat of a gray area, but I believe conceptually it will be clear what is proper and what isn’t, and we expect our students to understand.
Q: Are Sing Song participants now allowed to call their choreography “dancing?”
A: Sing Song, like similar events at other Christian universities in our fellowship, has always been a highly choreographed production. The choreographed dancing that takes place there – like that performed on stage by student actors in our annual Homecoming musical conducted by our Department of Theatre – is not the kind of social dancing addressed by this policy change.
Annually, as many as 1,500 of our students participate in Sing Song and consider it a high point in their collegiate experience. It has been a popular event on our campus for more than 56 years and the largest performance venue for ACU’s multi-talented students. We will continue to guide them in appropriate dress, music, lyrics and dance.
Q: What kind of reaction do you expect to receive from ACU’s church constituency related to this policy? Are you concerned at all about negative feedback?
A: Like many other sensitive topics we hear discussed within the larger church community, we expect to hear a range of responses. Views about dancing have changed in our churches in recent years; many Christian parents allow their teens to participate in dance activities, both cultural and social ones. Many people will favor the policy change and wonder why it has taken this long. Some will see it as a sign we’re suddenly less committed to our Christian mission, although nothing could be further from the truth. Our students are more engaged in spiritually transformative experiences in and outside the classroom than at any other time in our history. We remain committed to equipping students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world, and see this policy revision as another opportunity to do just that.
At ACU, we like to say we are “exceptional,” “innovative” and “real.” Part of being real means meeting our students where they are so we can help them demonstrate wisdom as they make their way in social settings.
Q: What else should Chronicle readers know about this new policy?
A: We believe this adjustment will help us prepare young adults to make appropriate and God-honoring decisions in various social settings now and in the future. Our students are excited about this opportunity and truly want to honor our trust.

  • Feedback
    I graduated from ACU and I think this is totally against Church of Christ’s principles. !! I will no longer give any monetary support to the university!
    Richard A. Branum
    February, 23 2012

    It is ungodly that learned Administrators who propose to be Christians in this day and in this age compromise their Christian life before God to succumb to this action. Not only are they putting their souls in danger but they are putting our children in danger of losing their way to heaven.
    We have a say in this and it will cause a lot of financial distress to Christian Universities who bow down to sin.
    Don Sinquefield
    February, 23 2012

    Welcome to the 20th or rather now the 21st century.
    Ken Kemp
    February, 23 2012

    When I was in high school, my mother and my preacher were very much against dancing. But my girlfriend liked to dance, so we went to dances. They were always supervised by teachers and/or parents, and there was never any alcohol involved. It is inconceivable to me that we would call that “sinful”, because all the Church of Christ teenagers I knew who were not allowed to dance, took their dates to the lake the night of the dances and kissed and hugged all evening. I wonder which was the more “dangerous” activity.
    Mel
    February, 23 2012

    Where in the bible does it say that dancing is a sin. In the parable of the Prodical son it mentiona Dancing. Give me book, chapter and verse that makes dancing a sin.
    Dave F. Shaner
    February, 23 2012

    Oh, my! Some preachers will be digging out their old sermons on dancing now. I haven’t heard dancing mentioned in a sermon in over 25 years. But, bless their hearts, these preachers will now have some new ammunition to flame. Many years ago, dancing got on the top list of sins (defined by culture and time), along with “necking,” “mixed bathing,” and men wearing long hair. The type of dancing described above is absolutely tame compared to what many young people do these days (that is seldom addressed in sermons). When I was a teenager, it was a sin to even attend a school sponsored dance. So, several of us would take our girl out on the back waters of a nearby reservoir and park for two hours. But thank God we didn’t dance (or even attend one). The truth is this: Preachers lost this battleground issue two generations ago. How about some lessons on the development of Christian character, the pitfalls of greed, or the issue of allowing politics to supercede the teachings of Jesus?
    Harold Williams
    February, 23 2012

    Oh this one makes me laugh and cringe at the same time…laugh, because its about time!! ACC and ACU students have been dancing their little hearts out for years!!! Cringe, because its still such an issue! In my day, we lived in fear that our parking stickers would be spotted at the clubs!! When my parents were students, they went to Ft Phantom to watch tge “submarine races”!! I believe I’ll take my chances on the dances for my little girl anyday!! Way to go ACU! Put on those dusty boogie shoes!! Its FUN, not dirty!!
    Michele
    February, 23 2012

    Harold, perhaps a little more respect for our preachers may be warranted. “Preachers lost this battle?” I think the prevailing conviction of many preachers at that time reflected the conviction of many elders and members of the time who may have taken too broad brush of an approach to dancing. But preachers certainly weren’t alone. I doubt you’ll need to worry about too many dusting off those old sermons, and it’s doubtful many preaching today have them. I do hope preachers continue to call for purity of thought and behavior and activity that honors Jesus. I happen to hear sermons on the themes you mention frequently, and hear preachers seeking to faithfully proclaim Christ. But, perhaps we come from different corners of the fellowship.
    Ron
    February, 23 2012

    I applaud ACU for making this policy change. Finally, some responsible people will be explaining to young people how to tell the difference between innocent fun (not sinful) and lewd and lascivious behavior (sinful). “Dancing” can be either of these, so let’s help people to judge which is which.
    Myra
    February, 23 2012

    I agree that this is a good decision made by ACU. It was ACC when I attended. My parents would not allow me to go to school dances and I still feel like I missed out on fun. The dances were supervised and teens can find other things to do that are worse. Later when I attended company social events I did not even know how to dance. I do not believe that the bible says that dancing is wrong.
    Carlene
    February, 23 2012

    When thinking about this issue, we should not compare it to the other sins that are committed instead of dancing. To say that any institution that condones dancing is catching up with the rest of the world is no compliment at all. I do agree with Myra that if all dancing is not sinful, but certain kinds are, then it is good to have supervision. I am afraid though of the unintended consequences of permitting such a practice, because the Biblical argument is not against dancing, but against lust. Hopefully this policy change does not nudge students toward sin.
    Michael
    February, 24 2012

    Worldly compromise! The world is beautiful and exciting why put it to waste right? What’s next?
    David
    February, 24 2012

    Good decision. If I were ACU, I also wouldn’t worry about those saying they will stop giving money to the university. My guess is these individuals already stopped giving a long time ago, and don’t realize they have become quite the minority with little financial impact.
    Tim
    February, 24 2012

    Finally.
    I think it’s worth noting that this decision, which is good, relates to school-sponsored events. You can’t stop students from dancing or having a good time. When I went to ACU, we weren’t allowed to dance, so we just had our own parties and danced there. We weren’t allowed to drink, so we just drank in our homes and on our own.
    Students see through the most laughable rules within minutes of starting freshman orientation, and they usually decide right then which ones they’ll follow. I attended Chapel regularly, participated in club, and came out with a 3.8 GPA, but I also drank and danced and made my own decisions. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Daniel Carlson
    Class of ’04
    Daniel Carlson
    February, 24 2012

    This is a good, and overdue decision by ACU. I hope the other Christian colleges will follow their lead.
    Here’s a cute little song that speaks truth — at least in my experience (to the tune of “We Could Have Danced All Night”): “We could have danced all night, but we were Church of Christ, so we went parking instead…” 😉
    Jeff
    February, 24 2012

    I am very sad at the progression of the church to influences kept at bay for quite some time. I think some of the logic is a little like the TV commercial some years ago that used the phrase, ‘You’ve come a long way baby’, indicating that now women can smoke what they want. ACU is considered a prominent Christian university in the church of Christ’s war against world induced culture. In our modern culture – the church has been at odds with drinking, dancing and instrumental music – now we are losing ground. It is to the point of blurring the characteristics of the church of Christ. So far, ACU has dropped its standards against two out of three. The reason the Israelites were considered a nation of God’s people was because they didn’t conform to the world. Now ACU is leading the way to illustrate the need to move closer to the world values by embracing things that will afford them the best chance to draw students from across broader spectrum. Perhaps it is time for ACU to withdraw its public affiliation with the Churches of Christ… at least the church of Christ.
    Ted
    February, 24 2012

    Abomination! Abomination! Next thing you know they’ll be throwing out the KJV, using instruments, playing cards, and handing out tattoo coupons at the door! My kids will be going to Sunset! Not this plague of a school!
    Jon
    February, 24 2012

    Dancing, drinking, and sex have always been either explicitly or implicitly linked in Christian teaching. Properly supervised and even taught (as in the case of round dancing, which is choreographed ballroom and Latin dance, which I and my wife have been doing for over 18 years), dancing is a positive activity. If you have watched competitive ballroom dancing on PBS or even “Dancing with the Stars” (women’s costumes aside), you will see it is a controlled form of exercise and expression. It also develops rhythm and even can raise self-esteem, as mastering any form of exercise can do.
    What many people associate with dancing is club dancing, as mentioned in previous comments. The groping and grinding that are done on club dance floors is not dancing, in my opinion. It should not be tolerated on a Christian college campus. But under controlled conditions, it can be allowed. A college version of the senior prom would be a good event. A themed dance like Valentine’s Day banquet and dance would be another.
    In my community my round dance club has been invited by a Christian school to teach round dance to the juniors and seniors at their annual banquet. They and their parents love it.
    Having danced for nearly 2 decades, at this point all I can say is it’s about time and also suggest that the nay-sayers go to a local round dance/square dance club to watch choreographed ballroom/Latin dancing. It’s good clean fun. Groping, bumping, and grinding aren’t. That’s where I draw the line. And if any ACU students break this rule on the dance floor, they should be booted out of the dance. Students should realize what they have been given and do all they can to police themselves to show that this decision is not foolish and opening the door to unspiritual behavior.
    Dale
    February, 24 2012

    Raised CoC and graduated ACU in 1978. Never understood how all forms of dancing (other than “choreography”) was considered sinful. As soon as we graduated, we drove to San Antonio and danced to Saturday Night Fever at a disco club. Most fun I ever had. More recently, a group of friends and I, respectable church ladies all, went to a kareoke bar and danced the night away, with each other. So much fun. Heaven forbid that the Church of Christ condone fun. We have brains, we have integrity and we have strong Christian faith.
    Sarah
    February, 24 2012

    You can add the e-mail address (which you obviously already had or I wouldn’t have received YOUR e-mail) to my “comments” which are now in cyperspace somewhere. You could have made your instructions a little clearer. Don’t mess with “Ancient Graduates”!
    Jessica
    February, 24 2012

    I have been a member of the churches of Christ my entire life, and the topic of dancing has always made for interesting conversation at congregational/family gatherings. When the time came for me to choose a college, it was almost natural for me to pick a school within the faith, though my foster parents had a bit of a fun time picking on me for choosing a competing college (they graduated from Freed Hardeman, while I graduated from Harding University).
    For the record, I applaud the Administration of ACU for lifting the dancing prohibition. I’m certain this was a decision that went through a lot of discussion and fasting, as well as numerous prayers. As a result, I believe everyone in the church should respect this decision.
    It takes a great deal of courage to stand up and make a change. ACU’s Administration is following the lead many of the founders of each of our largest Christian colleges took in creating the educational institutions we have taken great pride in attending, graduating and/or supporting for the greater part of the last century.
    Each of our college founders created these institutions because they wanted us to be able to live, learn and grow stronger in the faith, thereby allowing us to move forward and live by example.
    Rules change, and we must adapt ourselves to follow them.
    For everything there is a time and a change, and this has been a long time coming.
    Thank you, ACU Administration, for having the courage to stand up and change.
    Keep Smiling and Keep the Faith.
    Ronnie B.
    February, 24 2012

    As a woman raising granddaughters, which of whom will most likely go to ACU, as did myself, my late husband and one of my sons, I know the awesome task of teaching right from wrong, and everything in between, to the two girls I am rearing. The school is not however the issue, but what we are fearful of because it is foreign to some of us.
    I never danced openly while growing up, but after I experienced many family tragedies later in life, along with the development of severe asthma, my doctors made me promise that I would learn how to dance (before I left the hospital). I first laughed with a scoff-type attitude. (Afterall, my dad and husband were preachers and I’d been in the Church of Christ all my life!) However, the doctor said it would bring balance to my mind, body, and soul. He was right. It did!
    Later, fifteen years after many family losses and ill fates, I have had the opportunity to serve as Vice Pres. for our local chapter of the U.S. Ballroom Association. I know my boundaries and others know it as well. I appreciate what ballroom dancing has done to help me move on in life’s journey. Whenever I call on God HE helps me through it.
    Dance not just freed me of my physical illness but also used me as a tool in teaching others to appreciate the heart, mind and body. Each one is separate but works beautifully together as a whole when accomplishing a task, no matter what the undertaking. I am enjoying life as I continue to learn, and teach my granddaughters to examine their attitude and behavior in all things. I know parents who in the past, had the nerve to blame a “christian college” for whatever their child did wrong. A christian university cannot be a baby sitter or the substitute teacher for whatever wasn’t already learned at home. But, I do know that dance has served as a beautiful tool for helping me walk again, in many ways. It literally saved me because it served me instead of my being fearful of it.
    Jan
    February, 24 2012

    Rock on, ACU!
    Ann
    February, 24 2012

    When I was growing up in the ’70’s, dancing was one of the “BIG THREE”, so we would go out to the country honky tonk, where there was plenty of two of the three. As for those who were/still worried about the “lust” aspect of where all that two-steppin’ and “Cotton-Eyed Joein” would lead to, we were just trying to keep up, there was no lust…
    I do not see any wrong with ACU changing their policy. After having one of my kids attend, and several nieces, nephews, and a daughter in-law, I can guarantee you that there is plenty of the “BIG THREE” going on within walking distance of the “Holy Hill”.
    “I could have danced all night, but I was a Campbellite”…….
    Russell
    February, 24 2012

    First, I find it hilarious that ACU relaxed their drinking policy before they relaxed their policy on dancing. And, people are still up in arms. I don’t get it. When I was at ACU the no dancing thing was a joke, even then. We danced. We went swing dancing, danced at house parties and went to Oplin to get a little country dancing. We also went to clubs. But for me that was less for the dancing and more for the drinking. I truly don’t think my ACU experience would have been much different had the rule been changed before my time there.
    My mom always told me stories of not being allowed to go to school dances and she always regretted it. I’m glad her view was changed because, aside from some very immature, jr high type moments which are regretable, dancing has only ever been good clean fun in my experience which allowed me to bond with friends and even get some excersice.
    Kyle Martin c/o 2001
    Kyle Martin
    February, 24 2012

    As a longtime member of the Church of Christ, I have often wondered just when is the “time to dance” referenced in Ecclesiastes 3:4. Seriously.
    Pat
    February, 24 2012

    “Dancing,” itself, isn’t the issue for me and I suspect many other long time members of the Church of Chirst would agree. How the decision/policy has being justified, or spun, however, is a weak atttempt to bring about consensus of the righteousness of dancing:
    1. “We checked the policies of our peers and found compelling reasons to change our policy.” OK, let’s always follow the “leaders” as we know they are always right.
    2. “We are going to be able to help teach our students proper conduct by allowing a social and dancing environment. We are proactive in encouraging appropriate behavior.” Really? Did they really say that?
    3. “This will enhance the student experience and help build community.” Wow, few of us knew dance has that kind of power.
    4. “We are diverse and dancing is expected and an accepted cultural expression.” This is the strangest of the “justifications.” There are many cultural expressions that are expected across America and the world that should never find a home onto a Christian campus. Here is just one mild one: Many folks expect and find it culturally acceptable to drink a glass of wine at dinner. Can we now expect Chardonay in the dinning halls of our Christian campuses?
    Once again, my issue isn’t with “dance” (or drink, for that matter). It is with the Spirit of God living within me. If we can dance with the Spirit leading us, then so be it! If we can’t, then we should stay off the dance floor. I must confess as an older and wiser man that when I danced in my younger years I quenched the Spirit and focused on my partner, with many of the wrong thoughts. If memory serves me, my partners often had similar thoughts — as well as many of my “loud-mouthed” buddies.
    Let’s examine the word of God, daily, and stay away from temptations so we can best do His will. Let’s celebrate the fact that we are “different” — that we are aliens who one day have been promised an eternal Heavenly Home.
    John
    February, 24 2012

    I’m disappointed that the college is changing with the times. I’m from the 60’s and dancing was prohibited for Christians. If you did it anyway then it was the same as trying to hide it from God. As you all know you can’t hide anything from God. God’s Word doesn’t change, people do.
    Jeff
    February, 24 2012

    Do not cause your brother to sin.
    (I believe Mr. Thompson stated in his message: “while others are more likely to distract us from a Christ-centered life. Therefore, in keeping with the Christian mission of the university, only certain dance forms and venues will be considered for approval.)”
    It is a slippery slope, but we should not prohibit our brothers and sisters from celebrating their Christianity through dance.
    David says it best: Take Delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
    Dancing is one way we can delight in the Lord.
    Biblical references (NIV):
    Jeremiah 31:4
    Psalm 149:3
    2 Samuel 6:14
    Psalm 150:4
    Psalm 30:11
    Ecclesiastes 3:4
    2 Samuel 6:16
    1 Chronicles 15:29
    Do you think David danced with all his might to offend anyone?
    No. He danced to show GOD he was very happy with his blessings.
    The bottom line is: God knows our hearts. He knows our hearts decide our actions.
    Ask yourself. What are you dancing for?
    I am not casting any stones at any dancers as I may be hitting someone who is trying to worship.
    Brent
    February, 24 2012

    Thank you, Dr. Thompson, for leading with courage and common sense. You are going beneath the surface and getting to the heart of the matter, which is spiritial transformation.
    Steve Codara
    February, 24 2012

    The problem stems from the overreaching of the past. Blanket prohibitions meant to cover every situation regardless of the venue or intent. Even the act of saying hello to another person can lead to bad things. There is a lot of dancing that is benign and there is a whole lot of dancing that a Christian should not even witness.
    Once these rules are established they are hard to walk back without seeming to change what so many thought were God’s commands. Anyone who is older has been indoctrinated into some of these beliefs. Trying to change their thoughts about it is difficult. Look at Peter who had trouble with eating food once prohibited. We should understand and be sympathetic to those who hold these beliefs. After all, they are just loving God with all their heart and desiring to please Him as they understand it. Scripture is the key as some have noted in their comments.
    Kenneth Morvant
    February, 24 2012

    I graduated in 1960 and Don Morris is rolling in his grave. ACU won’t get any of my money and I pray that my grandkids don’t go there.
    Dwayne Brown
    February, 24 2012

    longs to live again the days when students were employed to infiltrate the honkytonks and dancehalls of Taylor County to report the debilitating activities of subversive peers who failed to abide by the rules they had promised to support. Those were the days, and those jobs were useful. Now tuition has far outstripped inflation, but it’s harder than ever to secure student employment ensuring that the foundations shall not be removed. A longstanding tradition has been overcome by love of the world and the things that are in the world.
    Richard
    February, 24 2012

    As so called Christian colleges continue to adapt to worldly things to get people to enroll, to satify enrollment number projections, which pays bills, the colleges will continue to be less identified with the churches of Christ. Right now, many (church of Christ) colleges are not even acknowledged by sound churches anymore, one is right near here. To allow a student to attend where dancing and drinking are permitted, and who knows how many more unChristian things, one might as well send their student to a regular secular college. At least there one knows it is now attached to the church someway, and can expect such behaviour. How long will it be before sometime of ‘living together’ like husband and wife will be permitted on so called Christian university campuses?
    Gary Hatmaker
    February, 25 2012

    I went to Harding for my undergrad and master’s. However, I think it is about time that we in the Church of Christ start realizing that we have much bigger issues going on on our college campuses besides dancing, playing cards and tatoos. How about we start dealing with kids struggling with gender identity, drug abuse, alcohol abuse. I have two boys in college. Are we really so naive that we think our children are in any way “sheltered” at these campuses? Come on people, let’s be real here.
    Kathy Reynolds
    February, 25 2012

    My wife and I continue to be blessed by the forthrightness of the ACU administration. Two of our five young adult children attended ACU. One, along with his wife (’08)are now serving as missionaries. They were powerfully influenced and transformed by the godly environment and leadership of the ACU faculty and administration. We invested a lot of money during their ACU experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. They both enjoy dancing, though one is decidely more adept than the other! Dancing, like many other activities, is a matter of one’s heart and personal discipleship. The university has given deep consideration to the Word of God, the diversity of its community, and the different ways that students interact with each other. I support their approach to seeking what is best for the outstanding young people they influence.
    Don
    February, 25 2012

    I consider this straightforward reporting to demonstrate that the church is becoming the world. While I would give some latitude to something like square dancing going to a club is off limits due to the other things typically going on in those places. Shaking and wiggling ones body in a place like a club is bad news spiritually speaking. Someone asked what are the scriptures teaching against dancing 1) Hebrews 11 they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims and they seek a fatherland 2) Titus 2 the grace of God teaches us ….denying ungodliness… looking for that blessed hope. Where does dancing in a club fit these scriptures? Consider one root cause to be identified in Lamentations 2 where the prophets among the people did not expose iniquity.
    john watson smith
    February, 27 2012

    If you believe that dancing is wrong and ACU is wrong for allowing it, that’s fine. But don’t you dare ever again in the future claim to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. There is no blanket prohibition on dancing in the Bible. Those of you condemning ACU are imposing a tradition of men, with no scriptural authority.
    Spencer
    February, 27 2012

    Well it’s about time. The presumption that the absence of dancing will curb lust or un-biblical sexual activity has long been a silly one. Everyone knows that dance can be an excuse to sin. Mst realize that it can also be an expression of happiness, celebration and joy of life. I graduated from High School in 1973, and even then we teens used to joke that “We are Church of Christ. We don’t dance. We go right for the ‘good stuff.'” I am not espousing that attitude. I am simply saying that the lack of dancing never deterred us from sexual sin (in mind or body) if we were so disposed.
    Dan Vaughn
    February, 28 2012

    As a current ACU student involved in student government, I am so glad this change is coming. I have spent my whole life in a small, conservative Church of Christ. With this updated policy, Its good to see that the powers that be trust us kids know what they are doing,and to not have sex on the dance floor. The future generations of the Churches of Christ are not bound to the old stereotypes anymore. We are all adults here, so throwing a fit and threatening to not support the university because we can have a different kind of social gathering on campus is not the answer. Who knows? Maybe having a fun, social dance on campus will give students a safer alternative to going out to the nightclub scenes. Food for thought.
    Shelby
    February, 28 2012

    Who do we love more: the “Church of Christ” or Jesus?
    This discussion on dancing reveals that we’re often more concerned about protecting the church’s reputation (and her affiliated universities) of being “different” (not necessarily “holy”, mind you) than we are about living a life for Jesus.
    The more we focus on the center (Jesus), the less fighting we’ll do over our homemade rules that are more based on tradition than they are on delighting in God and the freedoms he gives us to worship Him.
    Like many other things, dance can be distorted for sinful uses, but it can also be used to express joy and to worship the Lord. Don’t rob Him of His praise.
    And if you don’t think Jesus danced at the wedding where he made MORE wine–the best wine, you might need to think again.
    A move in the right direction, ACU.
    Lisa
    February, 28 2012

    There’ll be dancin’ in the streets in Anson, no less! Does any parent in or out of the ACU family believe for a minute that a University policy of some sort will make a difference in the choices their children have already made since junior high shool and earlier in some cases? That is all this former ACU grad and father of 6 grown kids, from a family of more than 15 ACU grads over 3 generations has to say. Now they will have to hire an administrator in charge of deciding what forms of dance are acceptable and which are “dirty?” The title of job might read “Dean of Determination of Dancing Dirtiness.” Perhaps there will also be an appeals committee to I will be eagerly watching the job postings section of the Chronicle.
    David
    February, 28 2012

    You need to start praying for your critics, because their language and behavior can become more sinful and ungodly than dancing could ever be. Our young people are not leaving the church because they can’t dance, they are leaving the church because our rules have very little to do with Scripture. We need to be “Spirit fed and Spirit led”. DO NOT DANCE IS NEITHER.
    Dave Bendickson
    March, 2 2012

    My daughter went to a non-church of Christ University (Free Methodist) that allowed dancing after it been banned for over 75 years. The first year they lifted the ban the students had many dances. The 2nd year they had a few dances. 5 years after the ban they have no dances. Students quit going.
    Guys, this isn’t that big of a deal. The first year or two it will be the forbidden fruit … but soon it will be the rotten fruit.
    Steve Wiely
    March, 2 2012

    RE: Kenneth Morvant, well said sir. To add, the problem, I think, is the exact opposite of the past. Rather than training to ascertain truth and be personally accountable, “we” will determine and insert into minds, either innocent or those with intent, that a certain activity is acceptable and another is not. The “learned people” said so, so it must be right…right? This sounds all to familiar. I see no safety in this “new” direction, only a release with no experience or wisdom to direct. The end will be just as before, a people doing what someone else allows or forbids. But really, do we who act know the truth on this topic, or do we feel this way or that? We will be sentenced based upon truth and our allegience to Christ, not what we feel is right, or whatever we can find another man allows or does not.
    Jeff Gochenour
    March, 9 2012

    I don’t know who Kathy Reynolds is (above comment), but she sure seems to hit the nail on the head. However, here east of the Mississippi River, we still have Christians upset because many congregations got away from “two songs, a prayer and a song” before the sermon. Let’s focus on our personal relationships with Jesus—and not on “church rules”.
    Kenny
    March, 12 2012

    As a graduate of ACU, I applaud the school’s effort to remove one more “guilt driven” sin. Dancing includes a wide spectrum of activities. Our young Christians require greater freedom when chosing their own way to determine how each establishes spiritual maturity. Judging others remains in the hands of God and Christ. As Christians, commanded to love, we must learn to accept others with loving thoughts and prayer. Whether or not a Christian dances has nothing to do with salvation. All ACU has done with this ruling has released the decision to each individual Christian. This is a good thing.
    Linda Dean
    March, 23 2012

    You make a good point. Would we be ready to see a praise team dancing on the stage of Moody colliseum? Perhaps some classical break dancers in the McGlothlin Student Center for casual amusement? Would it now be possible to see a film of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on campus? The possibilities seem endless…we could always curtail scheduling of events during key events such as Lectureship. Maybe old timers who missed out on this freedom can return at Homecoming and have a Class of ’55 or ’65 or ’73 sock hop in one of the old gyms–if they still exist. A lot of thought went into this decision.
    Kathleen
    March, 23 2012

    CHURCH OF CHRIST have no biblical hold to their beliefs. If you think we serve a God who would not allow you to enter Heaven because you dance, then you people truly don’t know the God you serve. Also, if you think you’re the only ones going to Heaven and no one else will go because they dont belong to your “group”, that is not biblical at all.
    Toni
    March, 31 2012

    I’m not real sure what you mean by biblical hold. The churches of Christ are a non-denominational collection of like-minded independent churches that associate with each other as in the early days of Christianity. All our beliefs are based upon scriptural commands from God, given through Christ and His appointed apostles. I don’t know which group you represent, but from scripture, we see that God demands and expects obedience to his commands. Examples such as Adam and Eve eating what God said not to eat, Moses striking the rock instead of speaking, Nadav and Avihu’s ‘strange fire, Cain’s rejected sacrifice, and on-and-on we can point to God’s command to obey Him. Jesus said Himself that if we love Him we will keep His commandments just as He loves the Father and obeys Him. So obeying God is vital to a relationship with Him that He approves of and those who don’t have been condemned by God in His own Word. We don’t call the shots here, God does. On the dancing issue, I do feel that the blanket prohibition on all dancing was wrong. None of us is perfect, but I admire those who are trying to faithfully obey God. They are just trying to do their best and none of us is perfect. As far as us being the only group going to Heaven, I feel that this is a mischaracterization of the churches of Christ. We know from scripture that God demands we obey Him and those who don’t are condemned by God. This is God’s word, not ours. There are other groups who obey the scriptural commands who exist and have existed in the past. There may have been some differences, but they believed in the obedience of scriptural commands. Don’t say that we don’t believe others are not going to Heaven, as it is God who outlines who will go to Heaven or be punished. I and no one else could invent a way to save ourselves. Only through God and Jesus’ sacrifice was the way made to separate us from Satan and his followers so that God could justly punish them and not those who obey Him. If scripture said, do what you want in order to worship God, which is what I would preach from the pulpit. Please consider that God is the Creator and as such owns everything including us, but still sought to redeem us from our sins. We are not exclusionary, but are inclusionary and want all to experience the joy and peace we have in Christ. Christ Himself said that we must do and not do certain things in order to enter His Kingdom. We are not adding or changing what Jesus said Himself. We are just obedient to Him.
    Kenneth Morvant
    March, 31 2012

    Seems like the topic has gone from dancing to other issues. No matter what the issue, not one of us (excluding a few who think they are) is perfect. Anybody ever heard of the word GRACE ???? Don’t hear it from the pulpit much because we hear about the “rules”.
    Kenny
    April, 1 2012

    I am pleased to see that the topic has gone from dancing to issues of motivation, intent, and virtue. After all, are we really prepared to say that dancing is INHERENTLY evil? If holding hands is OK, then holding hands while moving to music must be OK, too. The difference is in the heart and minds of the dancers.
    There are many, many students at ACU who are thrilled to celebrate their lives through dance, and whose hearts are not spoiled because of it.
    Cole
    April, 1 2012

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