Let’s see where we stand on the past week’s referenda on 60’s religious-tinged culture:
Brother Sun, Sister Moon: Guilty pleasure.
Illustrations in the Good News Bible I never said, but yes, I liked them.
The Lord of the Dance With all due respect to its composer, who just passed away……boy, do I cringe at this one.
I danced for the scribes and the Pharisees
They wouldn’t dance, they wouldn’t follow me
I danced for the fishermen James and John
They came with me so the dance went on
I lead you all in the dance, said he …
I danced on the Sabbath and I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame
They ripped, they stripped, they hung me high
Left me there on the cross to die
…I danced on a Friday when the world turned black
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body, they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on
Right up there with Let There Be Peace on Earth
Why? Why? Why?
The number’s success stems from two elements. It has a lively, catchy tune, adapted from an air of the American Shaker movement. But the optimistic lines “I danced in the morning when the world begun/ and I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun” also contain a hint of paganism which, mixed with Christianity, makes it attractive to those of ambiguous religious beliefs or none at all.
Carter himself genially admitted that he had been partly inspired by the statue of Shiva which sat on his desk; and, whenever he was asked to resolve the contradiction, he would declare that he had never tried to do so.
However, he admitted to being as astonished as anyone by its success. “I did not think the churches would like it at all. I thought many people would find it pretty far flown, probably heretical and anyway dubiously Christian. But in fact people did sing it and, unknown to me, it touched a chord. . .