Five things Friday roundup: Learning to dance

Photo by Ahmad Odeh from Photo by Ahmad Odeh from

1) Dancing

I recently took a dance class with a good friend where I tried (and sometimes failed) to learn to be more graceful, energetic, and skilled. Many lessons that apply to dance also apply to the Christian life.The lesson that stands out to me is the job of the “follow.” The follow responds to whatever the “lead” does, be that something expected, not expected, a little bit strange, and so on. The follow has no agenda, their only job is to respond. If the lead pulls, you lean in. If the lead breaks the connection, you remain in the lead’s “orbit.” If the lead closes in, you allow them to meet you. And so it is with the Spirit may we all learn our own “dance” with the Spirit, but individually and corporately.

2) Leaving Silence

Dealing with difficult Biblical texts is a delicate dance. I had the privilege of attending AMBS professor Susannah Larry’s convention seminar on sexual violence and the Bible. Her book, “Leaving Silence: Sexualized Violence, the Bible, and Standing with Survivors” was just released a few days ago, but Larry gave us a look into her research at her seminar. This book is a must-read for any survivor who still is connected with the church, pastors, and lay folks who have always wanted to know more about the difficult texts concerning sexual violence. Easy to read, full of personal and scholarly reflection, and comprehensive, this book is like a balm for those who want to read the Bible faithfully but struggle.

3) Transitions

One of the delicate dances in life is learning balance. One transition I’ve been working with lately is my move from congregational and campus ministry to my role as Conference Minister with Indiana Michigan Mennonite Conference. While that has its own unique joys and challenges, I find the whirlwind of transition to be universal. The catching up, the reorientation, the change in identity…all these things can lead to an overwhelmed feeling. If you are in transition, I encourage you to 1) Keep breathing, and 2) Learn your new balance. New things can eat up all our time that we forget to give ourselves a break. Lean into what it means to work and rest equally.

4) Simone Biles

I’m fascinated with Olympic gymnastics. Speaking of dancing, the balance, the grace, and creativity from gymnasts is to be commended. It’s a rough sport, rough on the body, and rough on one’s mental state. I was so encouraged to hear of Simone Biles taking the time she needed to recuperate by bowing out of her team competition. The media had a field day, but she didn’t let the pressure get to her and stood by her decision to take care of herself. Sometimes being the best means knowing when you need to step aside and take time for yourself, filling your own pitcher with water before filling others’ cups.

5) Chocolate zucchini bread

It’s that time of year again where our zucchinis, if we’re lucky, grow to the size of our leg (or at least, the size of my short legs). This recipe makes the most delicious chocolate zucchini bread. While plain old zucchini bread is amazing, adding chocolate makes it double amazing. Don’t be put off by the perfect looking person narrating the recipe, I bet she’s burned a few things in her life. Also, I don’t have a good dancing metaphor for this, other than the dance in front of the oven waiting for the bread to be done

Joanne Gallardo

Joanne Gallardo is conference minister of Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference of Mennonite Church USA in Goshen, Indiana. Read More

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