As I drive around town, I see the advertisements for Zumba at numerous churches – Day and time of class, just come join the party! Believers that I know personally and through social media talk about their Zumba work outs, etc. At first glance, it sounds fun…after all its exercise, getting together with your girlfriends and dancing to get in shape…come on, no big deal right? But can you walk with me as we take a closer look:
“Are you ready to party yourself into shape? That’s exactly what the Zumba® program is all about. It’s an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health. Zumba Fitness® is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends red-hot international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a “fitness-party” that is downright addictive.”
These are the opening lines on a Zumba website – hhhmmm…Party, party, party (used 3 times in above description). “Latin-inspired dance”, red-hot international music and its downright addictive. I am not so sure this is what Peter had in mind when he penned: 1 Peter 1:13-16
So, how did it all get started – Zumba originated when a fitness instructor, Alberto Perez, darted off to teach an aerobics class and forgot his traditional aerobics music. He improvised using his own mix of music from tapes he had in his backpack (salsa and merengue music he grew up with). Spontaneously he created a new kind of dance-fitness, one that focused on letting the music move you (instead of counting reps over the music). Energy electrified the room; people couldn’t stop smiling. That day, in the mid-90’s, a revolutionary new fitness concept was born.
According to Wikipedia “Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba’s choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included.”
So you say – ok, I still don’t see the problem here? Just to make it clear – I have no problem with a good, calorie burning workout….but as a believer red flags do go up when I see/hear that it includes marital arts and belly dance moves as both of these are clearly Middle Eastern practices linked with Yoga and Middle Eastern religions.
According to Wikipedia: “Belly dancing arose from various dancing styles which were performed in the Middle East and North Africa. Belly dance has roots in the ancient Arab tribal religions as a dance to the goddess of fertility.”
Belly dancing, then, is a pagan ritual.
Martial arts combines the physical with the spiritual. Some of course will say martial arts are just an exercise in self discipline and self defense but Wikipedia says: “Martial arts are practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development. It is rooted in Eastern Philosophy.”
According to Caryl Matricianna (a christian filmmaker who is recognized as an expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult):
“Eastern Philosophy is based on the idea of “wholism” and “holistic” thought which teaches that the mind, body and spirit are one and integrated. Ultimately the oneness of the individual is believed to be merged with the wholeness of everything around, material and supernatural. This idea of ‘wholism’ and oneness being in all, and all being part of the one, is entrenched in eastern spirituality that teaches that all is divine and divinity is in all.”
This brings to mind 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 which says: “but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ok, so lets say you haven’t done your research and you don’t know the origins/roots of Zumba. You just like to “dance” for exercise and its fun! Could we for just a moment take a look at the seductive/sexual moves coupled with the worldly sensual music that makes up this popular exercise fad.
Please use discretion if you choose to watch the video below. I could not get passed the first minute, honestly and had to make sure my children were not in the room when I viewed what I did. It is flat out embarrassing and truly grieves my spirit (and the Holy Spirit living inside all of believers).
Viewing discretion advised
I also understand this is not representative of every single Zumba class/instructor out there….but the facts above hold true, it’s roots are not of God. This does not sound like or look like something we should be participating in as followers of Christ and certainly not something we should be bringing into our churches and introducing to our children (yes, children are encouraged to join too). Let us remember Psalm 101:3.
Let’s also consider the fact that Zumba is not just for women. Tell me, could you participate comfortably performing the moves as above with an audience of men behind you? That man (or woman for that matter) that is struggling with an issue of pornography or another form of sexual immorality. Do you really want to be the one who causes a brother or sister to stumble? Jesus is clear in Luke 17:12.
Please understand – I am not judging non-believers….remember, I started this post by talking about how many churches I see advertising Zumba classes and fellow sisters I know participate in it. As followers of Christ, should we be accepting things as good just because they have infiltrated the church? Isaiah 5:20 is a prophecy and warning about the end times, we should certainly take heed to it.
Saints of God – 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to study to show ourselves approved unto God. Not only should we look into and study things that we are exposed to, asked to be a part of and are brought into our homes, families and churches but we must be like the Bereans in Acts 17 and search the scriptures daily to find the truth of God’s word and test all things against the word of our Lord as noted above in 1 Thessalonians 5.
As believers in Christ, we are supposed to be an example in the world as Romans 13:13 and Ephesians 5:8 tells us.
Can I ask friends – how is participating in “Christian Zumba” being different than the world? We accept all things without study & testing….because it is what the world is doing. Truth is, it makes us feel good. It appeals to our selfish nature and our pride. But we are to be in the world yet not of the world as Jesus said in John 15:19. And we are not to be conformed to this world, but have a renewed mind that we may prove what is the good and acceptable will of God – Romans 12:2.
We must be ready to go against the crowds; our friends. To be called out and even hated….Christ said we would be hated for his name sake; but those that endured until the end will be saved. Mark 13:13. Let’s remember, it is the evil adversary that comes to kill, steal and destroy and it is our responsibility to hide God’s word in our heart so that we are not deceived – Galatians 6:7-9
One last question to leave you with – Is this something you would be proud to be doing if Jesus were in the room…right there with you, watching you……because truth be told, He is – Hebrews 4:13
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-21
In Truth and Love,