Is Dancing Wrong?

from Let's Talk
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The church I go to believes dancing is wrong. That hasn't been a big deal to me until this year. I'm a junior, and we have the Junior Ball coming up. I know there will be dancing there, but I really want to go. What should I do?

What you end up doing—whether you go to the dance or not—isn't as important as the questions you work through to reach your decision. The questions you're probably already asking yourself are, "Why is dancing wrong?" and "If I go to the ball, what will people at my church say?"

Now is the best time to begin taking ownership of your beliefs. But you should also get together with your parents and your youth leader or pastor to discuss this further. Is your church really dead set against dancing, or only certain kinds of dancing? What is the biblical basis for this belief? See if they might have some practical guidelines for you if you go to the ball. And ask them, "What advice would you give me in seeking God's direction in dancing and other cultural issues?"

You might be pleasantly surprised by what you hear. On the other hand, you may find your parents also have reservations about dancing. If they're not open to further discussion, I think you should respect their wishes by planning an alternate event or staying home.

Let's say you don't get a strong response either way. This is your chance to ask God for wisdom as you make a decision. Keep James 1:5 in mind: "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him."

My Dad's an Alcoholic

Until about a year and a half ago, I lived with my mom. Now I'm living with my dad, whom I haven't lived with in 10 years. He's an alcoholic, and he doesn't like my Christian beliefs. He'll call home when he's drunk and swear and insult me. He's consumed with his job, his girlfriend and alcohol. I dread seeing him. But I really want a close relationship with him—isn't that what God would want? What can I do?

You've already done something significant by acknowledging that your dad is an alcoholic. He's addicted to a mood- and mind-altering drug, and you suffer the consequences of that addiction.

As you well know, living with an alcoholic isn't easy. I know, too—I grew up with alcoholism in my family. But it might help you to know that your dad probably doesn't like living with himself, either. He knows his alcoholism is partly to blame for some of the severe problems your family faces. Quite possibly he's tried to quit drinking at one time or another, but because of his intense addiction, and because alcohol effectively medicates his pain and relieves stress, he's been unsuccessful.

Let me give you four pieces of advice. First, begin meeting with someone who knows about being the child of an alcoholic. You can receive needed information and support from others who have struggled with the same situation. Your youth leader or school counselor can help you find this vital help. I would also recommend looking in the local phone book for Alateen and Al-Anon support groups (or call 888-425-2666 for a local chapter).

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