I spent my summer (2021) in summer school, teaching Language Arts to “almost fifth graders.” One day the teacher, seeing the kids needed a “brain break,” put on a dance video featuring some very cool dancers who brought their audience along with their very cool hip-hop moves. Have I mentioned I’m not a dancer? No, I’m the type that slips with dramatic awkwardness on wet sidewalks and crashes painfully and repeatedly into doorframes and kitchen cupboard handles. But, in an effort to get the class involved, I gamely hopped out of my chair at the back table and busted out my dance moves—much to the delight of a group of ten-year-old girls who mercifully addressed my humiliating display with giggles rather than scowls. The next day one of those girls, nigh overcome with giggles, summoned me to her desk to read the sentence she’d crafted with one of the vocabulary words I’d just taught them: “When Mrs. Ellison was dancing we were captivated.” Ah, yes.
So, this week my theology school chaplain invited us to “Engage Spiritual Depth” by hearing an invitation each time we engaged our course readings: “Come dance with me!” What would our readings become? she asked. “Disastrous,” I answered with an eyeroll. And in a way this was a great answer, a perfect beginning. Because somehow—by approaching God, the Bible, a Primer of Biblical Greek, the history of a thesis topic I haven’t quite pinned down, and interpretations of Romans from Origen through NT Wright—by owning the impending disaster, I’m relieved. Relieved of any hope for perfect performance. Relieved of rigidity. Relieved of punishing sobriety. Is this going to look awkward? Yes. Might it be “captivating” in all the wrong ways? Most definitely. But… “Shall we dance?” Yes. Let’s do it. Let’s move, explore, lead, follow, slip and fall, get up, try again, spin out of control, leap, sway, feel, stretch, pull a muscle. Let’s do it together. And, definitely, let’s giggle a lot along the way.
 From Daniel Ladinsky’s poem:
Every child has known God.
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does anything weird.
But the God who only knows
And He keeps repeating them, saying:
“Come dance with me.”