In order of increasing importance they are: (1) Get to the church before the wedding begins. (We walked in just in time for “You may kiss the bride” once. Awkward.) This is a good goal. (2) Eat cake. It wasn’t really a wedding if I don’t eat cake. And (3) get OUT before the DJ fires up the “Chicken Dance” song.
Color me a type-A individual, but just because you do something ridiculous and humiliating in a group does not make it any less ridiculous or humiliating. For this reason, I’d rather whack my knee with a hammer – by myself – than go somewhere with a group of people and sing karaoke. For this reason, I remain seated at the ball park when “the wave” inflicts its guilt-trip fueled, herd-mentality, peer-pressure laden “fun” upon us. (Sure I wave my arms. I’m not a total loser. But I wave while seated, thank you very much.) For this reason, it is hard to supress my laughter when syncronized swimming is treated like an actual sport.
I guess there is a part of me that resists following the leader. Getting in a multi-generational conga line and flapping my arms in sync with a line leader… doesn’t make my bucket list. A few years ago I remember being at a wedding reception of some good friends from our church. We’d been there awhile. Cake had been eaten. Hanging out with punch and bell-shaped play-dough mints and mixed nuts… check. Guestbook signed. All good. And I could feel it coming. A rising dread that would not be ignored. Grabbing Amy by the hand, I said “Babe… we gotta go. NOW. We gotta jet right now. Trust me on this…”
As Amy pulled her coat on with one arm, and I pulled her out the door by the other, I could just hear that obnoxious staccatto sax melody fire up as the door to the reception hall swung shut behind us. CHICKEN DANCE. We just made it out, baby. I think of that moment of victory fondly and often. No “follow the leader” for me, boy. I am my own man. And Amy’s man, yes. But the point is, I enjoy my individuality…
Spiritual application: If Jesus is the leader of my proverbial conga line, is it OK to just wave my arms… in my heart?
I love Francis Chan.
My stubborn, self-protecting, individual, type-A personality has a dark side. PRIDE. Makes it hard to “follow the leader…” Even when my leader is Jesus Himself. Maybe especially then.
Sometimes I’d rather get lost in the Christian carpool lane than follow Jesus on the narrow way, the radical fringe path Jesus is calling me to. It feels exposed to be willing to listen to the Spirit, read the Word, and do what it says. It’s easier to study the leader than follow Him, to teach about the leader than follow Him, to wave my arms… in my heart.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22)
Can you relate?
*BTW, many thanks to my friend Scott Smith for the Francis Chan video find. Please follow him, because he’s thoughtful, provocative, and funny. And he’ll give me $12 for everyone I can get to read his blog.
“of francis chan, christian carpooling, and why i’m doing the chicken dance… in my heart” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.