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Dancing Stars and Wandering Eyes

In a column nominating retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner for Sportsman of the Year, Peter King of Sports Illustrated takes up Warner’s recent appearance on Dancing with the Stars (HT: Getreligion):

It was an interesting personal choice. Warner is a devout Christian and he had to dance very closely with his very attractive partner, Anna Trebunskaya. And he had to do it recently on the 13th anniversary of the wedding of Warner and wife Brenda. He told me he did it for the challenge of it, and to show a Christian man can dance close with a woman who is not his wife and still be a faithful husband.

I wondered about his wife’s reaction to the show, and to the endless hours of dancing with a beautiful woman with Brenda a few hundred miles away. And this is why I so appreciate Warner. It’s the honesty.

Here’s what most public figures would say to that question: ‘Oh, Brenda is totally supportive. She understands it’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and she loves the fact I’m getting to show a different side of my life.’

Here’s what Warner said: ‘She has her moments. I totally understand. It’s tough on us. When it’s your 13th anniversary, and you’ve got to dance “the dance of love” with your partner, Brenda said, “Do you find it ironic that you’re dancing the dance of love on our 13th anniversary?”‘

Whether Warner made the right choice isn’t the topic for today. The topic is dancing and us.

Like a lot of things, dancing can be good or bad — morally, I mean — and for the Christian, some cases are clear-cut. But other cases can get tricky. There’s a kind of beautiful, elegant, wholesome dancing, where our reactions (as dancers or viewers) can include an innocent romantic, enchantment with the opposite-sex dancer. (I’m enchanted by any number of women from old musicals circa 1940s.) There’s also a kind that directs your eyes, and your mind, to places they shouldn’t go.

The tricky part is that one kind can quickly morph into the other, and morph back again just as quickly. In those cases, it’s hard to draw a line in advance, especially as a viewer — “this kind is OK, this kind isn’t.” The nature of dance is that it carries you along with the flow.

So where do you draw the line in practice, whether you’re dancing yourself or watching other people dance, in person or on TV? Do you think you’ve stepped over some lines that you shouldn’t have?

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About the Author

Matt Kaufman

Matt Kaufman has been a columnist for Boundless since the site’s founding in 1998, and did a stint as editor in 2002-2003. He’s also a former staffer and current contributing editor for Focus on the Family Citizen magazine. Matt is a freelance writer/editor who spent some years in Colorado, but gave up the mountains for the cornfields: He now lives in his hometown of Urbana, home of the University of Illinois. His house is a five minute drive from the one where he grew up, and he enjoys daily walks around the park where he used to play baseball.

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