Although I have not been a faithful viewer of Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) this season, after this week’s social media hullabaloo over Sadie Robertson’s Halloween dance with Mark Ballas, I may pop some popcorn and hang out on the couch to watch next week.
For full disclosure, I’m not a dancer. I was a band geek in high school, not on the dance team. Give me a rank and file to march in and I can hold that line perfectly straight and stay in step. Ask me to do a proper plié or pirouette, and it’s over. I embarrass my kids when I do try to dance so watching DWTS, I’m amazed at the short amount of time they have to learn their dances, and the guts it takes to be on the show.
After watching Sadie and Mark’s Halloween performance online, I began reading some of the viewer comments. A deliberation began not only about the judges’ comments of the dance but about Sadie’s Christianity and the fact she was dancing at all. Some even poked fun at her grandfather, Phil Robertson, calling him the “John the Baptist 21st Century” and wondering what he thinks of her dancing. Other comments implied that Christians shouldn’t dance, suggesting Sadie Robertson is “ignoring” a “biblical way to express yourself that’s decent” by participating in the competition. One person wrote, “The sexual nature and movements of scripted or competitive dance are inappropriate for Christians to perform.” And another said “the world loves it when Christians express themselves in inappropriate ways.”
Sadie’s Christian conservative upbringing is not only causing people to comment on her dancing but also her costumes. In fact some media outlets have chosen to critique Miss Robertson’s costuming more than her actual dancing. Last season contender Candace Cameron Bure had the same conversations about costuming choosing to show you can have fun and be modest. Miss Robertson is exhibiting the same attitude this season. (Personally I find it tiring watching scantily clad dancers on a “family” time slot on ABC.)
So how do we, as Christians, react to one another? How are we supporting those who have a worldwide stage to show Christians don’t have to wear Hijabs, but also don’t have to wear string bikinis on a show like Dancing With The Stars?
Nothing is more powerful to a teenager than a peer being an example of overcoming the temptation to go with the world. I say it’s great to have young ladies like Sadie Robertson using this mega-platform—a television show with many millions of viewers worldwide–to show teenagers how to use their talent and have influence, while still upholding Christian values. Teenagers today lack conservative Christian role models in the media. I have teenage kids, and I work with teenagers. What they see on television and the Internet is their reality. Sit in any high school football stadium on a Friday night and you might be shocked at what some of the girls wear in public. Because of the Internet, social media and other fashion outlets, girls believe this is the way they have to dress to be attractive. Today’s teenagers need to learn how to be “in the world but not of the world”. When Jesus prayed for His disciples, He said, “for they are not of this world”. (John 17:14 NIV) In the next verse, Jesus prayed for His disciples to not be removed from the world, but protected from evil while in the world. (v.15). When the light is removed all you have is darkness.
If even one young lady sees Sadie Robertson using her ability to dance in a modest, conservative way and is influenced in a positive way, then Sadie Robertson appearing on Dancing With The Stars is a blessing.
So I say ‘bravo’ to Sadie and Candace for their willingness to stand up for what they believe in. Every Christian who puts themselves out there to be a positive light knows they will judged more harshly. Most of us were taught to not hide the light so we should all be supportive of people in the conservative community who are in positions to affect positive change.
If God has blessed you with talents, such as the ability to dance, then by all means use your talents, but use them within His parameters. We need to stop pulling verses out of context or bending them in online comments to ridicule a young lady. Instead, we should pray she will be protected while in Hollywood, and publicly give her our support!