Following Jesus via the Tango

Not what we looked like on Sunday.

Not what we looked like on Sunday.

I felt someone brush my left arm but I had no idea who it was. My eyes were closed. I was moving only in response to the impressions of my partner’s shoulder, where my hand rested. When she moved, I moved. I walked in the direction she walked. What she did. I did.I followed her. Without sight and without words, my connection point was my hand on her shoulder, feeling her pauses, her speed, her change of direction.

“Come and follow” was our text for the morning worship service. Jesus gave this invitation to James and John, Peter and Philip. He used different words for the skeptical Nathanael (John 1:45-48), than he did for the outlier disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35-38). But still the import was the same: Follow.

Walking around the room, sightlessly being led by my random partner, I was learning to follow. And the feeling of vulnerability, of trust, of not being in control were racing through me.

Did I mention we were in church?

A few months earlier, I had been in a class with Dr. Michelle Buck, a professor at the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. She took up tango dancing almost two decades ago “to get away from work” but instead realized that most of what she now knows and teaches about leading and following were lessons learned on the dance floor.

Worship was an embodied lesson of learning to trust the partner on whom your hand rested. It was believing she saw things I didn’t see and that she was watching out for me – leading us through a crowded floor filled with people all being led in a similar manner.

It was extraordinary.

I learned how important it was to concentrate not on the noise around me, or my own thoughts, but on our point of connection. This was my first lesson.

“Come and follow” Jesus said. It’s not about where I go, or where I think we are going. It’s not about whether the way is crowded or whether some stranger brushes my shoulder. It’s about the point of connection. My hand on his shoulder.

My first lesson from the Tango.

3 thoughts on “Following Jesus via the Tango

  1. Allegorically exceptional, what a model to propose for all of us as we all desire to lead God, rather than be lead by the Spirit step by step as we ch cha cha through life.

  2. Powerful, moving experience on Sunday! Appreciated that you took the risk of asking Dr. Buck to teach us, and I really like the point you make here – that concentrating on our ‘Point of Connection’ no matter what is going on in our lives – is really the only way to truly follow the Spirit.

  3. Swing dancing taught me much about how to follow Christ – once I even had my testimony played over the speakers while I danced in front of the congregation. Wish I had been there this past Sunday!

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