Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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Does Your Grace approve of dancing at graduation parties or any other outings done by middle and high school students who go to church and attend Sunday school?

The Holy Bible mentions two types of dancing. The first is that in which King David, Miriam the prophetess, and others performed; triumphant type of jumping, skipping, and promenading before the Lord (2 Sam 6:14; Ex 15:20). The second is that in which individuals engaged for pure pleasure. It was done either as a show for others as with Herodias' daughter (Mt 14:6) or with another motive for immoral purposes (Ex 32:19,25). Dancing caused a lustful king to make an oath which had cost St. John the Baptist his head (Mt 14:1-2; Mk 6:14-29; Lk 9:7-9).

The New Testament speaks to this latter type of dancing in Romans 12:1-21; John 2:15-17; and Galatians 5:19-21. This type of activity is sensual, fleshly, and worldly. It does not belong to those who have given their bodies as a sacrifice to the Lord. As such, it belongs in the realm of sinful activities.

We should not participate in any dance because dancing involves bodily movements which are sexually suggestive and can be classified under the heading of "lasciviousness or lewdness" (Gal 5:19-21). Surely a Christian would not want to engage in that type of activity.

The close body contact or the erotic movements that characterize so many of the rock-oriented dances would arouse the wrong feelings in both girl and boy. St. Paul urged the young St. Timothy to "keep yourself pure" (1 Tim 5:22). King Solomon warns us that "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life" and "as one thinks in his heart, so is he" (Prov 4:23; 23:7).

Our Lord Jesus Christ said that sexual sin is not only done with the body, but begins in the heart. One who "looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28). Surely a Christian young person would want to avoid activities which would be tempting in this way (Mt 6:13).

Dancing parties and school proms might include activities that are damaging to one's character. We want to keep ourselves pure and let others know that we stand up for that which is pure. Since we are light to the world (Mt 5:14-16; Phil 2:15,16), we should guard our steps.

Dancing will place a person with the wrong crowd; with those of impure thoughts and those who just like to party, and drink.

Some youth would argue that they don't think evil thoughts when they watch others dance. Even if this were true, what about others who are watching you or are snuggling up close to you? St Paul says, "Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God" (1 Cor 10:32). Don't be a stumbling block to someone else.

If Christ were a high school or college student; what, do you think, would He do? Just ask yourself this question.
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