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#214 - "Dancing in the Minefields" by Andrew Peterson
What inspired such a dangerous song title? NRT's Kevin Davis finds out.

Over the last 10 years, Andrew Peterson has quietly carved out a niche for himself as one of the most thoughtful, poetic, and lyrical songwriters of his generation. More recently he’s established himself as the grassroots facilitator of an online literary and songwriting community and an emerging fantasy novelist as well. 

But it’s still ultimately that sense of rootedness that listeners, readers and fans seem to respond to most deeply—because Peterson’s songs (and books) remind us again and again of simple, solid things like love and friendship and hope and redemption and beauty and how our stories were meant to be shared, and how the darkness will not always hold sway, and how we, being human, need to hear those things over and over again, because otherwise we become disconnected from the very stories we’re living in. 

Somehow, Peterson’s newest, 12-song project, Counting Stars, manages to do all that without ever leaving home. I had the great opportunity to interview Andrew about his current single “Dancing In The Minefields.”

Please tell me about the main message of this song.

In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated 15 years of marriage. Fifteen years felt like an accomplishment. It’s not forever, but it’s long enough to have weathered a few storms and have real history. I’m approaching having been married as long as I was single. A few days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. I can’t even remember what we argued about but there were tears shed and I came downstairs determined to write a song about how right I was... just kidding.

Thinking about it, I don’t often want to channel my anger into a song, but I was thinking about how beautiful it has been to spend 15 years with someone who made the same promise I did. Marriage was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by Him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self. The good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed?

What Bible verses did you use in writing the song? Any life verse?

Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What’s the take-away message for listeners?

It’s funny because the song seems self-explanatory but I get asked all the time what the song means. Say the song title “Dancing In The Minefields” to older couples, and they don’t even have to hear the song to know what it means. Marriage is a perilous journey.

If it hasn’t been yet, get ready because it will get hard. It is a crucible, and an important lesson to learn how to lay down our lives for another person. Just because it is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Some young people have a tendency to think marriage is a cake walk. They’ll say, “Other people fight, we don’t fight.” You need to know that if you are in an intimate relationship with someone there will be arguments. There will be tension. Mountains are moving in your soul and you’ll have scars. That’s part of God’s design and that makes marriage beautiful.

Here are the lyrics:

Well I was 19, you were 21
The year we got engaged
Everyone said we were much too young
But we did it anyway
We got the rings for 40 each from a pawnshop down the road
We said our vows and took the leap now 15 years ago

We went dancing in the minefields
We went sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for

Well "I do" are the two most famous last words
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I've heard is a good place to begin
'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found

And we're dancing in the minefields
We're sailing in the storms
And it was harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

So when I lose my way, find me
When I lose loves chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith to the end of all my days
when I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of man
So there's nothing left to fear
So I'll walk with you in the shadow lands
Till the shadows disappear
'Cause He promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of this chaos baby,
I can dance with you

So lets go dancing in the minefields
Lets go sailing in the storms
Oh, lets go dancing in the minefields
And kicking down the doors
Oh, lets go dancing in the minefields
And sailing in the storms
Oh, this is harder than we dreamed
But I believe that's what the promise is for
That's what the promise is for

Here’s Matthew Henry’s commentary on Romans 8:38-39: “All things whatever, in Heaven and Earth, are not so great a display of God's free love, as the gift of His coequal Son to be the atonement on the cross for the sin of man; and all the rest follows upon union with Him, and interest in Him. All things, all which can be the causes or means of any real good to the faithful Christian. He that has prepared a crown and a kingdom for us, will give us what we need in the way to it. Men may justify themselves, though the accusations are in full force against them; but if God justifies, that answers all. By Christ we are thus secured. By the merit of His death He paid our debt. Whatever believers may be separated from, enough remains. None can take Christ from the believer: none can take the believer from Him; and that is enough.”

This has been a personal anthem for me for the past year and I love the biblical truth behind it. My wife Jennifer and I met when we were both 16 years old and are high school sweethearts. We were married seven years later and this August we’ll celebrate our 17th anniversary. We have three young daughters who are now 11, 7 and 4 years old, so I can totally relate to the message of this song.

In this day and age of selfishness and broken marriages, this song is important for Christians to understand the picture of permanence that God has ordained through the blessing of marriage. Andrew perfectly depicts that with these incredible lyrics, “Well "I do" are the two most famous last words, The beginning of the end, But to lose your life for another I've heard is a good place to begin, 'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down, And I believe it's an easy price for the life that we have found.”

Jesus came to lay His own life down so that we could be with Him for eternity. The small challenges we face daily won’t matter when our vapor of time on this planet is over. Remember the Truth that “nothing can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Amen.

(You can watch the video of the song here.)

Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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