Dancing Among the Baptists

Here’s how the old joke goes: 

Q.  Why are Baptists against premarital sex? 

A.  Because premarital sex leads to dancing, and dancing leads to drinking, and drinking leads to poker playing, and poker playing leads to staying up late, and staying up late leads to skipping church.

Tuesday we had a couple come into the church office to talk over details for their wedding reception which will be held Saturday in our banquet/meeting hall.  The bride is an immigrant from somewhere in Africa, and the groom is obviously from around here (“round cheer” in E. TN dialect).  For some reason they chose to have the actual ceremony somewhere else, and have the reception at ________.

If you’re not a Baptist or haven’t been one long, the significance of that last statement may be lost on you, so let me explain.  The normal thing for Baptist weddings is to have the ceremony in the church building and have the reception somewhere else, especially if you want to do something in the reception that might be interpreted as having fun (champagne, dancing, removing your new wife’s garter, etc.).  Amy and I did just that so we could have a jazz band and a dance floor.  My wedding reception still stands in my mind as the coolest one I’ve ever attended.

So, this couple is working against the normal expectation, and I flag the item in my mind for later consideration during our conversation.  When I ask them if they’ll need access to the sound system in the room, the groom says, “Oh, no–we’ll have a DJ.”

<insert dramatic pause here>

There is something so refreshing about being around people who have absolutely no idea about the usual Baptist hang-ups and who presume that a church meeting hall would be a great place to celebrate something.  I’m looking at this couple, 4 days from their wedding ceremony, and I have to decide if it’s more important to dance around the pious sensibilities of certain churchy people (who rather enjoy being offended) or if it’s more important that this bride gets to have her first dance with her new husband at her wedding reception.

My decision took all of 1.5 seconds to make.

When you have the choice, whom do you offend? 

The things that happen in that same room during church business meetings grieve the heart of God far more than anything that will happen in that room Saturday.  I hope this couple has a blast.


2 Responses to “Dancing Among the Baptists”

  1. 1 Jason C November 16, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve said it before…. Byron, you are my hero.

  2. 2 April November 16, 2006 at 10:04 pm

    Ditto what Jason said! I’m proud and blessed to be able to serve with you!

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