I’m midway through my first week of classes as a freshman at Malone University. College life is certainly a different experience than any I’ve had prior, and I’m enjoying it immensely thus far.
Being on a Christian campus, in an institution that reflects their Christian convictions while abstaining from forcing an over-specific doctrine on students, I feel quite blessed. While it’s true that perfection as a Christian community (or individuals, for that matter) is an unobtainable goal, there is clearly a high standard of morality with a student body, more in line with that of Jesus Christ than that of our culture. I’m proud to call it home, and it’s nice to live in community with those who generally align their beliefs on the same plane.
And, of course, I’ve already seen a good deal of “not-so-Christ-like” behavior. I didn’t expect anything less; we are human, after all. However, there is one image I cannot shake. This one action, that I’ve witnessed several times within my first week, fills me with enough raw emotion that I can’t just sit back and pretend it doesn’t bother me.
As silly as it sounds, it’s…twerking.
For those of you who don’t know, twerking is a suggestive dance move, which you can read about here, so that I need not explain further. It’s been around for a number of years, but recently has grown in prominence, mostly in context of silly joking. Girls in high school would, on occasion, shout something like “Twerk Team!” and then, well, twerk it.
I was surprised to see a number of girls at Malone twerking, several times, many during orientation alone. From the ocassional joke amongst friends, to joking around during the “dance party” after a group of relay races, I couldn’t help but notice how relatively often I was seeing this.
And, honestly, it just upsets me.
Clearly, our culture has much lower standards for what is appropriate and what’s not, we know this already. And I truly understand the girls who give little regard to what seems like a silly dance move. I’m in no way implying that I think anyone was trying to be overly-sexual by doing it. Like I said previous, girls I’ve witnessed (even previously in other settings) tend to be simply “joking around”.
However, I’d challenge my sisters-in-Christ (both here and elsewhere) to be more mindful of what they are really doing. I’d ask you to consider that there are two important things at play here:
- You are adding to a culture of “second-best” Christianity. Like I’ve said, I understand if you don’t feel super-convicted while twerking because you’re intentions aren’t serious, but you are called to a higher standard. Joking or not joking, you’re promoting the use of your body in a manner that is not God-honoring, and can be easily misinterpreted by outsiders looking in. To represent Jesus well, we must strive further and further away from that which is not pure, excellent, lovely, etc.
- You are putting your brothers-in-Christ at risk. As a guy, I’m going to give you the straight dope. Twerking is going to turn guys on. Sorry if that language is too upfront for you, but it is what it is. I’m not saying that every guy in a 100-yard-radius is going to notice and think of you in that way every single time, but rest assured, guys are wired visually. You know that whole issue with pornography that is crippling men every day? Same concept.
You’re tempting those around you, whether you mean to or not. As a guy who is actively engaged in battling the temptation to think in that way (which, by the way, is not exclusive to any group of guys), seeing girls who claim to have given their lives to Christ and then turn around and twerk is frustrating. 99% of Christian guys you’ve ever met, or will meet, will encounter this type of temptation regularly, and VERY few ever do anything about it, and for those that do, we shouldn’t have to be worried about this among fellow Christians.
I have software on my computer to keep me accountable and make sure I don’t encounter things on the internet I shouldn’t see. Please don’t make it so I have to be afraid to walk around my Christian campus without being bombarded with these things. I don’t come to you in anger, but rather ask you to just consider the repercussions of what you might be doing.
There’s far more I could say, and want to say, but I honestly don’t have the time to continue. If anyone at all has any questions on my position, or wishes me to explore any part of this further, or even challenge my thoughts feel free to comment below (even anonymously).