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I.C.D.`Fellowship’: What does that F-word actually mean to dancers and movement artists?

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Deleted by topic administrator 02-23-2016 01:56 AM
08:34 PM ET (US)
Fellowship in the Bible (1) With God, consisting in the knowledge of his will (Job 22: 21; John 17: 3); (2) agreement with his designs (Amos 3: 2); mutual affection (Romans 8: 38, 39); enjoyment of his presence (Psalm 4: 6); conformity to his image (1 John 2: 6; 1: 6)and participation of his felicity (1 John 1: 3, 4; Ephesians 3: 14-21) (2) Of saints with one another, in duties (Romans 12: 5; 1 Corinthians 12: 1; 1 Thessalonians 5: 17, 18); in ordinances (Hebrews 10: 25; Acts 2: 46); in grace, love, joy etc. (Malachi 3: 16; 2 Corinthians 8: 4); mutual interest, spiritual and temporal (Romans 12: 4; Hebrews 13: 16); in sufferings (Romans 12: 15 and 15: 1, 2; Galatians 6: 1, 2); and in glory (Revelation 7: 9). Definition from Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary.
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
04:19 AM ET (US)
Hi Noel. I suggest you write directly to those on the CDFA committee about the further questions you have raised. This discussion board needs to remain specifically on topic and relates to the International Christian Dance Fellowship, not specifically to what is occurring with CDF-Australia. So I am requesting that your future posts remain specifically on-topic. Thanks.
Deleted by topic administrator 02-23-2016 01:56 AM
Andrew D Park
05:58 PM ET (US)
NB from AP, just a few answers to your questions below.
There were about 28 voting participants in the Sydney AGM. The quorum needs 5. Not enough participants considering there are about 158 members in CDFA around Australia from what I heard at the AGM. Would have liked there to be more.
I have not been involved in the website reconstruction, but I think what they are doing may eliminate some of the tabs and streamline it more.
Provocative is good if it is about encouraging people toward honest engagement with the DB. Would love more input from the wider diversity of members internationally. They need to either support the DB or if it is not working for them, to give feedback about what they think would work. Simply saying like I heard in a few cyberforums that they are "just too busy to do it" annoys me intensely. I have been posting topics which are focused a lot on their network interests, and I think the effort AP and NB put into writing on the DB warrants better engagement and input from them. I am not convinced that the reasons given for not writing just a few sentences on the topics, even if it is negative (or positive) are good reasons for failing to support the DB.
The subjects being launched are sometimes at the request of network or national coordinators (e.g. the costuming one), and reflected what was being discussed orally behind the scenes. It should have been supported much more, especially by those who were talking about it off the record.
AP (and NB) put an enormous amount of thought into what they post. That is both from our experience of dance, as well as our interaction with contemporary theology and mission. If we want to grow as an artistic community and relevantly tackle the theological and cultural challenges and changes of today's world, we need to engage theologically in critique of what is happening in real life about the arts and spirituality in the world around us. That is sometimes hard. But it is nevertheless necessary for us to do, if we are to missionally effective.
Noel, you'll be pleased to know that the "Getting Missional" topic will be relaunched as next month's topic shortly at the request of the ICDF international coordinating team.
There are lots of articles from network coordinators on the present website, which I and other people have written.
CDFA is solely about what is happening within Christian dance in Australia. It is not focused on the international scene specifically. ICDF does that. CDFA and ICDF are different entities, although related in their origins. Different CDF's and CDF members often become involved in artistic exchanges and joint projects, and ICDF facilitates those ventures formally and informally, although different CDF members can meet up and do projects together as private individuals. Lucy and I have lots of international friendships that were formed through things like ICDF conferences, specialist projects involving members from all around the globe (e.g. Lucy's trip with a group of CDF members from many different nations to Jerusalem this May).
Members in the past have supported other CDF members financially in significant ways (e.g. to pay for air flights or accommodation, particularly in terms of getting to international or national conferences, to ICDF projects involving members of different CDF's), with hospitality, transport, but CDF and ICDF are essentially voluntary organizations run and staffed by a particularly extraordinary number of volunteers who give very generously of their time and resources already. It includes professional and amateur artists, non-artists, the rich and the poor, the young and old. Some country's CDF's have more resourced members (e.g. USA, which is very large) as compared to say, Ghana. More resourced CDF's will often gift sponsorships to members of less wealthy CDF countries to assist dancers to attend conferences, events, pay hotel bills etc. A lot of fellowship involving internationals from different CDF's spread all around the world is fostered, very richly, through the generosity of the membership toward others (it is fairly legendary).
In terms of CDFA, I am anticipating that there will be a lot of future brainstorming among members in all states about how it is going to happen after July, and about running things such as conferences and other events. The best place to ask is CDFA itself.
The new CDFA website - yet to be developed - will include theological essays and articles as well, and news about up and coming events. It will also be able to be used to advertise events involving CDFA members, and other artistic communities (e.g. Candelight Productions, Cana, Annangrove Arts, Beyond, Surrender etc) CDFA networks with.
My thinking is that as a Christian arts organization, it is in our interests to network far more widely with Christian groups that are already arts saavy (like Forge, St Martins Community Church and others) so there is a healthy cross-fertilization missionally, culturally and theologically among those groups who can collaborate in both fellowship and projects (e.g. as in the days of the Aussie Awakening Easter Festivals run in the Upper Yarra Valley back in the 1990's, involving Fusion, God's Squad, CDFA-Vic, the 18 churches there, various local artists, and almost the whole church membership of the Valley, plus local shops and citizens).
Was just thinking of CDF-NZ which died off some 10 years ago, but is now in the process of being rebirthed after a few dancers in a Church re-captured the vision. It is not formally launched yet, but it now involves a quite diverse membership from a wide number of churches who are very enthusiastically doing the things needed to get it off the ground. Lucy and I, as well as Beth De Baudistal and a number of others have had some involvement in helping them, including visits to NZ, to share, teach, reflect, pray, brainstorm and enjoy fellowship with that group ably being led by a good female leader and her inspiring support team.
Sometimes things have to die, before they can be reborn and blossom more fruitfully. That is what I think is happening to CDFA at present. And I think CDFA will emerge as better for it once it has gone through its current re-booting processes.
Edited 04-01-2015 06:10 PM
  Messages 24-22 deleted by author 02-23-2016 01:56 AM
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
04:36 AM ET (US)
Just as a sample of a few topics - 108 views with 68 being unique for this topic's statistics as at today, Noel.
Getting Missional had 911 views with 372 "unique views" (from different people). Made an error with the figure below because I was rushing to get this post done. Still a lot of people viewing.
Christian Dancers - all ballet and no brains - 204 views with 102 of those being unique views.
Only I as the DB facilitator get to see the stats on the site, but I pass those on each month to the ICDF coordinators.

Feedback from Network cyberforums indicate that many leaders are reading, but are saying they are simply too busy running those networks to spend time writing, which for many is not what they see is their gift. Yet, they say they are finding what we are saying is important and inspiring to them.

For someone, like me, who basically writes for a living, writing comes as a second nature, as it does with so many of my Facebook friends - many of whom are prolific bloggers and writers from theological, missions, social activist and journalistic backgrounds where writing is a major way of communicating with each other and the wider circle of contacts within their sometimes enormous networks in Facebook, Twitter and assorted websites.

Some people love blogging and writing. But many people don't as well, or regard it as very hard work, or are not all that confident with it.
The point is, you and I are confident writers. And that is a major way we can contribute to the wider conversation, which is more far reaching than we can see, even in knowing those stats.

Some of the stuff we share may even end up being cited in essays and other people's blogs in time, as some of my own blogs already have, with suitable acknowledgements in reference and bibliography formats during people's own work.

There is also heaps of Skype meet-ups, emails between various Aussie members and with overseas members, other creative arts networks not formally part of a CDF or ICDF, numerous phone calls made locally and to all over the world about the creative arts and related mission issues, personal news, prayer calls and sharing - much that I see and hear about - but a huge amount which I also don't see and hear about on an everyday ongoing basis. The DB is only one small glimpse at what is happening in a much bigger CDF and ICDF fellowship activity picture.

Also there are many events happening involving ICDF networks all over the world at any given time, during which members meet up face-to-face for fellowship and creatively. I get to hear about just some of those, but I know things are happening all the time in different parts of the world involving members of CDF's, often with nationals of their own countries, but also often involving members collaborating with each other internationally.
Some members are highly travelled creative artists and teachers. Others are not.
Edited 03-31-2015 08:38 AM
Andrew D Park
04:35 AM ET (US)
One of the highlights of CDFA's recent meetings about planning and discussing its future was that we actually got together in all that for some much needed fellowship, which was not just about voting on proposals, but engaging conversationally with each other.
Last Sunday's AGM involved members from Adelaide, Perth and Sydney and so we got to meet with people we very rarely - far too rarely, in fact - see and communicate face-to-face with, and for quite a few, to share meals together.
Now that we've got through the AGM, and things are going forward with the proposal into a 4 month (deadline) strategizing stage, I think there will be further opportunities for face-to-face dialogue necessary, which will inevitably involve dance-clan meetings and fellowship.
We are only too aware that things have often been too Sydney-centric, probably because CDFA started up originally in NSW.
There are also many members living in QLD who could not be at Sunday's AGM, but nonetheless were involved in the proposal dialogue and are involved in the global ICDF Networks.
Members in Victoria also were part of the proposal committee, and their thoughts impacted on the decisions made, and were significant in preparing the draft proposal document.
I agree with you Noel, that is far too hard to gather together at times for just spending time to have fellowship together and to share creatively. Particularly, it seems in Victoria from what you are saying. That must change. So I will put you on the spot, and ask you what are you prepared to do practically to help make that change occur?
Secondly, it is important in the Discussion Board (DB) that it becomes both a fellowship and theological resource to Christian movement artists.
The current statistics for this topic of unique viewers and repeat viewers, which I only get as the DB facilitator are fairly significant and demonstrate consistently that large numbers of different people are reading the posts. I'll provide the stats, just for the current topic in a separate post. With the Going Missional topic there were nearly 600 unique viewings. My feedback from many members is that they do read the posts with great interest, but are either not confident in writing themselves or find the technology of blogging difficult.
  Messages 19-18 deleted by author between 02-23-2016 01:56 AM and 03-27-2015 09:21 PM
Andrew D Park
12:32 AM ET (US)
Fellowship within ICDF (international) and CDF's (national bodies) represents a challenge to the hyper-individualism and industrial commodification of art within today's Western society. If you think that religious art is immune to its effects, think again!

We are in times where a religious component to life is often viewed just one of many other faith, entertainment, self-help or leisure options on offer within our pluralistic cultures.

We no longer reside in a society where it is typical that Sunday's involve gathering with our local neighbours at church for worship and fellowship together. Church is often regarded as just one `option' among the many for our normal weekend activity. And even many evangelical Christians don't hold a regular commitment to one church, as a high priority issue of being a disciple of Christ. There is plenty of data, at least in Australia and the USA indicating that is the case (e.g. NCLA surveys, Barna Institute research).

A central theme of ICDF and its CDF's is that it values fellowship as vital to its ongoing spiritual maturation and formation, creativity, its continuance and relevance as mission and ministry body of collective movement artists.

My friend, evangelist-social activist, John Smith of God's Squad Christian Motorcycle Club, in his and co-author Coral Chamberlain's latest book, "Beyond the Myth of Self-Esteem" (2014. Acorn Press. Moreland, p.60, 61) writes, "Because, by very definition, a self-esteem focus tends to isolate the individual, the prevailing strong emphasis on self-esteem flags that we have already become a radically individualistic society. We teach our children to compete, almost to the exclusion of co-operation or our community consciousness. Cut loose from communal restraint, individuals are easy pickings for forces of corruption, irresponsibility and greed. I agree with [psychologist and learned helplessness theorist] Martin Seligman: the human ego is too fragile to survive even the mid-range pains and failures of real life alone, and the collapse of support provided by historic institutions such as extended family, community and church has left us even more vulnerable".

Smithy cites Richard Eckerslay who he says "recognizes the limitations of all-about-me individualism: "While loosening social ties can be liberating for individuals and create more dynamic, diverse and tolerant societies, too much cultural flexibility can have the effect of trivialising the convictions and commitments that we need to find meaning and to control our own lives. Tolerance, taken too far, become indifference, and freedom abandonment. Our power as a people comes from a sense of collective, not individual, agency; from pursuing a common vision based on shared values, not maximising individual choice in order to maximise personal satisfaction". (in Eckersley, Well & Good, p.4).

Smithy goes on to say, "Social connectiveness and reinforcement of values and meaning come through tribal solidarity, family, religious affiliation or shared-values groupings. In a culture lacking these, therapy often steps in to fill the gap..[But] the cry for intimacy, love and meaning in relationships will never be adequately met by therapy sessions alone".

What Smithy says next is the part I most want to emphasise in this post, "A supportive community is invaluable, ideally comprising at least some people who care about us enough to be honest with us, even when the truth is hard to take".

It is out of this sort of robustly honest fellowship, which involves reason, love and accountability occurring that real discipleship occurs and blossoms, and from which a better theology of community and relationship, and its collective mission as a Body of Christ (and in our case a tribe of artists) emanates most creatively under the spirited Presence and leading of Jesus Christ among us.

One of the antidotes to combating this highly prevalent "culture of Me" which is infecting our current generations virulently through things like the secular arts, is by being quite decisively about something and someone Other than ourselves and the latest fad of things through engaging with (or re-engaging with) those same spiritual disciplines that Jesus, our mentor engaged with and taught and modelled to his motley band of disciples during his few years of ministry during the Gospels. And deliberately valuing and engaging in regular fellowship with other Christian artists, and creating opportunities for fellowship with one another as people of shared faith in Christ, is one of these key disciplines to practise wherever possible. Good fellowship becomes the catalyst and creative nexus from which good mission flows artistically, relationally and theologically.
Andrew D Park
10:30 PM ET (US)
Musician,song writer and pastor, Michael Card has mentored "many younger artists and musicians, teaching courses on the creative process and calling the Christian recording industry to deeper discipleship". This is what he says about creative community in the Bible:
"In the New Testament, as music passed from the professional priest-musician to the amateur lay-musician, ecclesia became the centre for new hymnology, for corporate worship. Art and music were created in response to the needs of the community for new vehicles to contain its worship. The body of Christ became the repository for a new wealth of creativity. Community called creativity forth. To encourage community is to encourage creativity. Art, music, mercy and every form of ministry seen in the body are responses to the needs of the community. The need for kindness, beauty and truth all cry out for the creative fingerprint in ach of us to respond, to wash the feet of the brothers and sisters with our various creative gifts...

"There are practical as well as spiritual reasons why creativity flourishes in community. Todays "industrial" approach to music and art by and large goes against this common-sense approach. The best way to view this stark difference is to compare the gifts of community to creativity against industry's denigration of the same gifts".

Card then cites Vincent Van Gogh [CITING Gauguin]: "Gauguin says that when sailors have to move a heavy load or raise an anchor, THEY ALL SING TOGETHER [capitals are my emphasis] to keep them up and give them vim. That is just what artists lack". At that time, industry had over-taken art to exploit it for financial profit - particularly painting for Gauguin and Van Gogh. Art c1870's onward, became domesticated, owned, professionalised and stylized into industrial product and process to produce fashion-focused products to be marketed and consumed, rather than something growing out of the imaginative creativity, subversiveness and innovativeness of lay-community expressionism.
(From - Card, Michael. 2002. Scribbling In The Sand: Christ And Creativity. Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, Il. p.109-110).

One of the beautiful things about CDF's is that, while there are professional artists involved who earn their livings from their art, the vast majority of members are amateur artists - not a denigration of their capacity to produce very fine quality of art - who rub shoulders with each other, both with professionals and other amateurs as equals, to foster and learn from each other creatively, and to perform with each other as a community, dance with its varying styles and genres, innovations and creativity, in a shared journey and love together toward Christ in worship, praise, mission, ministry and deepening shared relationships as they come together and collaborate creatively together "in Christ" as a fellowship of equals.
Edited 03-25-2015 10:40 PM
Andrew D Park
09:03 PM ET (US)
The above image is from an Australian artist, Roxanne Prime. (If you do a facebook search under her name you can view other works by this artist).
Any discussion about fellowship and community needs to mention `communitas'.
Communitas is commonly talked about in terms of relationships bonded together deeply through the sharing with others of a common ordeal - of a common journey travelled together.
In this post below, I am going to build on what Lucy said in her own post in referring to McLaren, which talks about communitas. And I will inject some of my own thoughts, which relate to my role as the coordinator for the ICDF Network for the Creative Arts & Social Concern, since that is a speciality for me, as well as something of a social critique on `celebrity culture' today.

Something I wrote some time ago:
"Communitas is a people inclusive concept of communal relationship and participation.

However, celebrity-ism promotes exclusivity and aristocratic-hierarchicalism. It is anti-communitas-ian in its notions.
The Epistle of James illustrates some anti-communitas-tic behaviour quite well at the beginning of Chapter 2 : “My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit [or a celebrity image], and a street person wearing rage comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir, this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved you are judges who can’t be trusted”. Not only is it socially unjust behaviour, but it is excluding – it is like slapping the face of Christ who advocated and practised inclusion of street people, lepers, prostitutes, drunkards into `table-fellowship’ as honoured guests, alongside others who may have more socially functional or economically easier lives.

Jesus himself was a celebrity. But unlike other celebrity figures who just hobnobbed it with other celebrities, because well, that’s what celebrities tend to do, Jesus’ deliberately was non-self-promotional and his passion and well as mission calling (Luke 4:18-19) intentionally involved socially-including the socially-excluded poor, blind, imprisoned, or other social/religiously-`leper-ised’ into liberating `table-fellowship’ with Him, acknowledged as equals in humanity, re-dignified as people made in the image of God. It could even be said that Jesus downplayed his celebrity status on certain occasions.

Jesus’ Good News for the poor was not just semantics, but actually lived out through texts like Luke 7:36-50 (Jesus’ deliberate acceptance of anointing with tears and oils ministry from the woman of ill-repute who comes to Simon the Pharisee’s house), Luke 5:12-26 (Cleansing of lepers, healing the paralysed – sending them off to be examined by priests who had previously excluded them from the Temple and supposably from God as ritually unclean. Jesus’ touching the unclean makes a bold statement that God accepts them as they come, despite other humans excluding them due to unjust `religious laws’). His infamy with the religious authorities grew – causing a sort of maybe at times unwanted celebrity notoriety with them because he did not want celebrity to get in the way of his broader ministry goals as a Messiah until the time was ripe.

Not only did Jesus cop criticism from the upright religious folk due to his activity. Ultimately they killed him for it because his exclusion of the poor, previously left-out, and the once-ostracised of their community led to a huge public following of Jesus as someone who openly practised inclusion of the dominant power’s unwanted. He also criticised the dominant powers for their unjust treatment of those people. The dominant political-religious power saw that as revolutionary, seditious and threatening etc. etc. etc. And so they eventually killed him for it. We all know about him because of his crucifixion death and what that meant for the whole of humanity because the Apostles and other followers over centuries made that known to us. Hence, Jesus has become the most well-known religious celebrity the world has ever known (that fame even surpasses John Lennon and The Beatles).

To me, what Jesus was doing much of that time was dangerous missional and communitas building work through practising what he actually preached and showing others such as The Twelve how to go about that (e.g. my previous blog’s example of Mk 10:35-45 – self-giving service of others in a humble and grace-generous manner, rather than trying to Lord it over the others in some effort to become `big-nob’ religious celebrity-kings). It could be said that Jesus’ celebrity came about in an untypical way to the norm – not through self-promoting publicity, faddish stunts or gimmickry, or through political conquest, but through practising the stuff he preached. One of the most socially scandalous of those practices in the Gospels was developing the communitas of “table-fellowship” inclusion of the social outcastes, for which he was vigorously and scathingly criticised as a false prophet by self-appointed religious experts `in the know’ such as Jerusalem’s Pharisees, Priests and Scribes (Luke 15:15).

So the point that I am making out of all this is that if we do as Jesus did, we will build community which it will enjoy crossing a (liminal) threshold into communitas, but it will be missionally scandalous, de-celebritying in its general ethos, despite the fact that if its done well it may become `legendary’ and well-known due to its inclusion of the formerly excluded, and dangerous in its love for the previously unloved of a wider society setting which would condemn those people to prison, institutionalise, or ostracize them from `polite society’ including `respectable, God-fearing, evangelical churches’".
Edited 03-25-2015 09:40 PM
Andrew D ParkPerson was signed in when posted
04:15 AM ET (US)
Last Sunday Lucy and I attended Dance Spot at the Annandale Creative Arts Centre. It was an ICDF Foundation event. Around 30-40 people attended to watch dance performances by people of different ages, skills and backgrounds. There were Tongan, Fijian, Islanders, Hawaians performing dances indigenous to their cultures, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gave the welcome to country address, seasoned adult performers well known to CDFA, and teenagers and youngsters from various dance schools. A good range of genres represented. And the audience was also invited to join in at one stage - a fairly regular feature of this sort of event. Lucy also recited some poetry and danced as she did that. Afterwards quite a few of us met at the local pub for a meal and some further fellowship, involving social chats, personal news and good food.
One way to learn where and when these events are on is by receiving EMUSE - the CDFA newsletter which is sent to paid up members of the Christian Dance Fellowship - Australia.
Lucy Jarasius
05:47 AM ET (US)
A quote from Brian D. McLaren, a respected,(perhaps in some circles, controversial)Christian pastor, writer, thinker, "Christian futurist" of sorts, from his book "We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reorientation, and Activation:
"Fellowship is a kind of belonging that isn't based on status, achievement, or gender, but instead is based on a deep belief that everyone matters, everyone is welcome, and everyone is loved, no conditions, no exceptions. It's not the kind of belonging you find at the top of the ladder among those who think they are the best, but at the bottom among all the rest, with all the other failures and losers who have either climbed the ladder and fallen, or never gotten up enough gumption to climb in the first place.
Whatever else this uprising will become, from that night [Jesus' appearance after his resurrection] we've known it is an uprising of fellowship, a community where anyone who wants to be part of us will be welcome. Jesus showed us his scars, and we're starting to realize we don't have to hide ours.
So fellowship is for scarred people, and for scared people, and for people who want to believe but aren't sure what or how to believe. When we come together just as we are, we begin to rise again, to believe again, to hope again, to live again. Through fellowship, a little locked room becomes the biggest space in the world. In that space of fellowship, the Holy Spirit fills us like a deep breath of fresh air."
Edited 03-23-2015 05:47 AM
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