Sunday, April 17, 2005

Every year about this time I start thinking about my birthday. I try to make a few plans of my own every year, because that way if my friends don't throw me a party (and I mean, really, they've got to stop sometime) I won't feel like my birthday went uncelebrated, and I usually don't feel like going to the hassle of planning a party for myself. This time though I might have to do a bit of planning.

One of my favorite birthday memories is of worship in Mirrielees with Archimedes, Blue Rose, and Archimedes. I guess that would have been my twenty-second birthday. This year I'd like to do something like that, but instead I'd like to do a kind of prayer and dance thing. There are all these Christian dances I've got on my computer, and I think it would be good to get together with a few loved ones who like to worship God, to come before him as friends and then to dance (and maybe sing) before him as well. I hope that doesn't sound blasphemous to anybody. I know that I technically come from one of those silly non-dancing denominations, but I don't see why a couples dance can't be worship. After all, standing around ska dancing can be worship. Is there really a functional difference? I don't think so. Of course putting this plan into practice would require me to get access to space, and since there aren't any danceable lounges in Crothers that may prove somewhat difficult. I'll see what I can do. Shanah got Roble once for her birthday and of course that'd be perfect, but I doubt that I have the same standing with The Powers That Be as she does. It'd be even more perfect because then once we were done with with the prayer and the worship we could have a great big space for dancing and there would actually be room to technopolka. Life does not have enough technopolka in it, and there is nothing to do but to take matters into my own hands (I have 38 songs on my technopolka playlist, most of which I have never danced to but would like to). I'd really like for my public birthday dance (assuming there's a birthday dance at Big Dance, which presumably there will be) to be a technopolka to Gina G's "Ooh, Ahh ... Just A Little Bit," but that seems unlikely because Big Dance is generally better suited to birthday dances with more general appeal, such as lindy or cross-step or something like that. So it would be cool if I got to have it as my private birthday dance, but perhaps that is not to be.

I discovered the other day what I mean by technopolka. It really has nothing to do with techno, and most of my technopolkas are really too fast to hustle to as well (well okay, they're very fast hustles). But for that matter, many of my technopolkas (such as the Celtic rock stuff) don't really lend themselves to hustle, and some of them (such as the bluegrass technopolkas) certainly can't be hustled to. They aren't all fast, and some of them are so slow that I think a regular polka step would be painful. The unifying feature, I've discovered, is that musically they all strike me as having the redowa as their basic step. That can be done to very fast music, or to very slow, as Anachoron and I proved last Jammix. You just have to fly laterally far enough, and get enough air. But there's a certain energy independent of tempo which makes something a "technopolka" in my mind.

The whole worship and dance thing is something I've had cause to think about lately. Until I actually looked up the meaning of the word "psalm" I assumed that most of the Christian justification for worship practices comes from the Old Testament. Turns out that a psalmos is the motion of playing a stringed instrument (translate as plucking, twanging, or even strumming, if you will), and it comes to mean "a song sung to a stringed instrument" (usually a harp, I believe) so I actually think that there's a good textual argument that the earliest Christians used instruments in their worship, whatever the Duelist thinks. But so far as I know other worship practices, such as the raising of hands, clapping, and dancing, find their textual support in the Old Testament, and particularly in the psalms. When worship leaders and pastors talk about that I hear them talk a lot about the posture of surrender, about how we clap for temporal things and a fortiori ought to clap for God, and lots of things along those lines, but it occurs to me that they probably have intrinsic value as well. That is to say, they're Jewish (or at least they were in the Dark Age) worship practices, and by adopting//adapting them we implicitly celebrate how God's glory was shown through the chosen people and all the history that surrounds them. And, to be a little more controversial about it, we're claiming to be the children of Israel (controversial not because there are many Jews today who can claim to be familial descendants of Israel; everybody agrees that "children of Israel" is a metaphorical\\spiritual term. The fight would be over the criteria for properly applying that label to a person). It seems to me that we value them in large part simply because they appear in David's kingdom. I wonder why nobody ever talks about that in church.

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