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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Hippie Freedom!




by Alex Carlson

Freedom lets us live joyfully so we can then be freed by the Lord to live a life thatís pleasing to Him.

I strolled around the corner and saw the basketball court-sized greenhouse filled with about 100 people. The people stood barefoot in one big circle on the wooden dance floor listening to poems about peace, love, and balance. 

During a three-month adventure in Hawaii, I attended a social function where people danced. There was a freeing ambiance in the room that let you be yourself. Let me explain.

Rules were posted on the entrance of the greenhouse. “No shoes and no talking on the dance floor,” the sign said. Tom, Erica, and I proceeded in and sat on the plastic lawn chairs along the side, observing the colorful group of people. People were dressed in all kinds of clothing and styles: sweat pants, basketball shorts, tie-dyed shirts, skirts, no shirts, dreadlocks, feathers, bandanas, tattoos, bracelets, owl wings, Under Armor tank tops, and beanies. The only unity to the group was the movement and the shoeless feet.

I watched anxiously, nervous about my own steps on the dance floor. I didn’t know how to dance. Besides some weddings, I had never really danced before. Looking on, I saw how people ran around the dance floor to the beat, while others spun and moved their hands in all kinds of motions. Some simply stepped to the beat, while others moved furiously, keeping an intense pace for an aerobic workout.

My friend Tom gently arose to start dancing. I thought, I didn’t come here to watch people dance for two hours; “man up” and start dancing! Finally, I stood up, slipped off my flip-flops, and marched to the back of the greenhouse. I sat down and started to stretch, trying to calm my nerves. I relaxed, smelling the strong citrus of the incense. I was ready. Standing up, I took a couple steps onto the wooden floor and started dancing in a simple manner, stepping to the beat. I became comfortable with this and started to realize that it did not matter to anyone else how I danced.

I became free! I stomped when the beat dropped, I ran around the dance floor waving my arms. You literally could wave your arms like you just didn’t care.

After the two-hour dance was over, I had blisters on my feet and a shirt soaked with sweat. Everyone circled up again and talked about the experience. Many made comments about how much fun it was and how it helped make their day better. It seemed to me that many people treated this weekly Sunday morning dance like some sort of a spiritual rejuvenation.

I began thinking after the whole ordeal was done: What if our church was like that? What if our church was carefree, open, and judgeless? Being at the dance was a very freeing experience for me.

What if our church empowered people to be free? What if our church had such a freeing spirit that everyone felt accepted? What if we did not judge each other? 

I raise these questions to help paint a picture of the loving and accepting place our church could be. I look at what is stopping us, and it comes down to the individual. Each and every one of us has two responsibilities in creating a freedom-filled sanctuary: 

1. Make the choice to not cast judgment on your fellow human beings.

2. Have confidence in God so you do not have to worry about what you are not proficient at or what goes against social norms.

John, one of Jesus’s friends, reminds us that “if the Son [Jesus] sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36, NIV).* So I challenge you: Dance with me. 

 

* Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alex Carlson writes from Lincoln, Nebraska, where he is currently a senior at Union College and plans on attending physician assistant (PA) school after graduating.





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