Thursday, February 09, 2017

The Hokey Pokey Gospel

There is a little silliness associated with coaching basketball and sometimes with mission trips! This is from April 20, 2013.

In several weeks, we'll have our traditional end of the year athletic banquet for all of our WCS middle school teams. One thing I like more about junior high banquets than the many I participated in as a high school coach is that while they are less emotional and nostalgic, they are also shorter, a big plus! But again this year, I'll tell our parents what I say every year- that so much of what happens with a team is out of the public view and is witnessed only by the coaches and kids. We had one of those moments yesterday. As my middle school girls stacked it up at the beginning of first period, they were being silly and just sticking one leg into the jump circle. I told them it looked like they were doing the Hokey Pokey. I asked Rachel, one of our eighth graders who is from China, if she knew what the Hokey Pokey was. She shook her head NO so before you know it, we had a Hokey Pokey clinic going on. The girls were funny but most of all, enthusiastic, as they demonstrated the children's game to their teammate. I'm not quite sure what Rachel thought of it all but now she has no excuse if it comes up again!

You may think this is odd but I asked my eighth period Gospels class, which is close to 1/2 international students from Asia, how many of them know the Hokey Pokey. It goes without saying that every home grown teen did but not one/zero of the students from Asia had any clue about this American rite of passage. I thought it was interesting that it was the same day our writing assignment was, what does it mean to lead someone to Christ? The students had some fascinating and diverse answers which I'll share in the coming days. But it highlights the dilemma we sometimes face teaching others about the Gospel. What is as natural to believers as breathing is as foreign to non-believers as, well, the Hokey Pokey to kids from China or Korea or Vietnam. Paul said he had become all things to all men. It's imperative we understand where others are coming from and that their mindset, cultural and spiritual, may be in the equivalent of another universe. What I liked about my girls reaction to Rachel is that they showed her the Hokey Pokey out of love and the desire that she could share something that is part of their heritage. As mature Christians, we could learn a lesson. A number of years ago, a Honduras mission group I belonged to was going through a name change as we branched off from our parent organization. Our leader, the one and only Chad Hedgepath, would exhort us each day with a lesson and remind us, 'That's what it's all about!' Several of us made the suggestion that we incorporate Chad's devotional thoughts and call ourselves Hokey Pokey Missions. For some reason, that idea never took off, but to me, it wasn't that far fetched. After all, I can still put my whole self in. 

Applicable quote of the day:
"O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about."

Jeff Brechlin (Shakespearean version of the Hokey Pokey)

God bless,

Luke 18:1
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