As it turns out, Dancing with Jesus is a popular name for creative offerings on the Internet. Right away you find skits, ringtones, blogs, sermons, Biblical references, CDs and books. In that last category, you could check out a solemn scholarly work by some guy in Scotland, or you could dive into a 26-page “slyly irreverent but ultimately festive” guide to holy dance moves by some guy in Indiana.
That guy is Sam Stall, former editor of Indianapolis Monthly and author of such tomes as The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures, 100 Cats Who Changed Civilization and Night of the Living Trekkies. Given that rap sheet, the tone of Dancing with Jesus is no surprise. Or maybe it’s the lenticular (creating the illusion of animated movement) cover featuring the man from Nazareth boogying on water that gives it away.
Whether you’re excited or offended by the concept, the illustrated step-by-step manual of “miraculous moves” came out this month from Running Press and is available for $12.95. So if you’re looking for an irreverent but ultimately festive (whatever that means) gift, here’s a quick roundup of excerpts, starting with the introduction: “Jesus was an inspiration to generations. Let him inspire you. Not just to be a better person, but—by following the guidance herein—to be a better dancer. As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes, there is, “A time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance.”
The Judas Hustle
“Lift your right hand above your head as if gripping a rope. Make a choking face as you move your waist from right to left for eight beats, as if dangling. … Take a step to the right and a step to the left for two beats. Pat your arms and chest frantically, as if trying to put out the Fires of Damnation. … Keep doing this. For all eternity.”
The Cheek Turn
“At the end of the first sequence, reach out and “pretend slap” your partner. He/she will respond by turning the other cheek.”
The Pilate Shuffle
“Pretend to wash your hands. Scrub carefully! Go around in a circle, clucking and flapping your arms like a chicken. … Continue dancing around aimlessly until someone tells you to stop.”