C H R I S T I A N B A L L R O O M B I O G R A P H Y L E A D E R S H I P
  CONNECTION IN TIME  
  FOREWORD  
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Foreword:

Connection in Time does not open "Once upon a time..." but does take the reader to lands far away;
among them, of all places, Lithuania. But Connection in Time is no fairy tale. Were it a fable, the moral of this story would be "Nothing ventured; nothing gained." That aphorism is meant to spur us on to adventure and achievement, but too often, it just excuses impulse and recklessness. Though also no fable, Connection in Time may still be about "Nothing ventured; nothing gained," but more as an extension of a biblical perspective of walking by faith and not by sight. The challenge of a faith walking without seeing is that the destination may be an abrupt surprise. The journey then becomes the challenge.

Although the people, places, and events are all historical, the story line of this book functions effectively as a parable. Here is Martha Harper, an amateur, if ambitious, ballroom dancer. And there is Arunas Bizokas, a credentialed, professional, champion ballroom dancer and instructor. The surface story line is about travel, geography, lessons, and competition. But the destination is about relationship - learning the dignity and worth of an individual who bears the image of God. It is a journey of forbearance, commitment, patience, the benefit of the doubt, and perseverance. It is a worthwhile trip.

There are narratives in the Bible which have a stopping place but don't really have an ending: Jonah in the Hebrew Bible - we wait in vain for a resolution. And The Book of Acts in the New Testament leaves a church leader named Paul waiting for his trial, again without result. Connection in Time similarly stops but does not end. The final punctuation is appropriately an elipsis. Those final three periods communicate on the surface that Martha and Arunas will continue the discovery of relationship, but more substantially, the elipsis punctuation challenges the readers to enter the story line, and to make venture and gain in their own relationships. Arunas and Martha are suggesting that risk and vulnerable transparency pay off.

I have known Martha Harper for several years now, formally as her pastor, and familiarly as a dear friend and fellow disciple. Encouragement is intuitive to her, dancing a passion, understanding God's presence a vocation. Arunas has been somewhat a mysterious personage to me; I had only heard his name and reputation, but Connection in Time shines some light in the shadows, and we discover an artist who violates the stereotype of insulated, isolated, aloof, and unreasonably temperamental. If Martha risks rejection in seeking him out, Arunas risks distraction from his artistic purpose.

But in the acceptance of the risk, both are discovering the unseen world that is not about the flow of the dance and its near flawless performance. Rather, they are uncovering an invisible reality that is foundational to the excellence of performance that is the artists' goal. The authors' narration is not rife with explicit theology, but from time to time they appear to be dusting for God's fingerprints, and they find them. I have said before that God enjoys a game of Hide and Seek, but he is not very good at it, on purpose. Martha and Arunas have helped me get better at the game! Enjoy with me their story telling and see if you find God between the lines of your own story.

Kenneth Mick,
B. A. in Biblical Languages from Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee;
New Testament master's level studies, Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas.

 

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