(Close Window)
Topic: Playing cards in church?
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Oct 1, 2001 12:21AM)
I feel this is a worthy subject to explore.

I've noticed that in gospel magic, whenever any type of "cards" are used, they are usually pictures of Jesus, the cross, the devil, etc. I understand why (I'm a Christian myself), but in regular magic, so many of our tricks involve playing cards!

I know that "some" Christians have a real problem with cards (the devil's play things?), but then again, some Christians have a problem with any kind of magic show.

Suggestions? Experiences? :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Oct 1, 2001 12:39AM)
I think the walls have really come down on this, except for the ultra-conservative fundamentalist churches. I always have a pack of cards on me and do stuff after church, at the men's retreat, etc. I've even done the card on ceiling as an object lesson on the rapture (caught up to meet Him in the air...)!
Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Oct 1, 2001 05:04AM)
While most churches are becoming more tolerant of playing cards there are a few that still have a problem with them. I do a back hand production of several cards in my opening routine and instead of regular playing cards I produce rook cards. When I get to the Rook card itself, I sometimes pause and say, "By the way, These are vegetarian playing cards" or "Christian approved playing cards" or something similar.

In the past all of the effects Dock Haley made used Aviator backs, but to be more sensitive to those with concerns about playing card, we are changing many of our card type effects to a more acceptable back. If the effect uses regular playing cards such as the King of Hearts trick, then we are staying with a regular playing card back. I know of some magicians who will cover the backs of their cards type effects with a solid color contact paper to avoid the "playing cards" look. Most importantly you must know and be sensitive to your audience. If you are not familiar with the denomination you are performing for, ask someone in advance what their feeling is about playing cards, then alter your program as to not be offensive to them.

In HIS service,

Steve Varro

International FCM President
Message: Posted by: Andrew (Oct 1, 2001 11:04AM)
I do relatively few card tricks, but if I plan on using them for a church show, I always ask if anyone will be offended.

Somewhere I heard the entire gospel told using cards to represent the major themes.

I don't remember the patter...perhaps someone

else out there does?

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Oct 1, 2001 02:29PM)
That routine can be found in Hugard's Encycopedia of Card Tricks.
Message: Posted by: RayBanks (Oct 2, 2001 06:58AM)
It's called "The Perpetual Almanac or Gentleman Soldier's Prayer Book" and it is in Chapter 18.

Not much magic but it is really a great story.

Message: Posted by: JaquaiGul (Oct 2, 2001 09:07AM)
I am pastor of an "ultra conservative" fundamental Baptist church. I am also a magician who works with cards. In churches I never use playing cards. When I did magic at a Pizza Parlor I would find families that did not want their children handling or interacting with cards. It is enough for me that some weak believer may be encouraged to get into gambling by my example. As Steve V. says, all you need is another form of cards. I have used Steve's Alphabet cards, but I have also used baseball cards, Old Maid, Rook, and picture cards I have made myself. All in all they are as easy to work with and no one will be offended.
Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Oct 26, 2001 08:35AM)
Greetings again:

I may have my wrist slapped for this by Steve Brooks, so Iíll apologize in advance. Itís just that Iím so excited about our newest product. Itís titled .... The Dock Haley Symbolic Deck. Itís a deck of 52 cards, 4 suits (Red, Gold, Green and Blue) each consisting of 13 cards. The deck is made up of Religious, Bible and Historical Symbols. Weíre so pleased with it I couldnít pass up the opportunity to share it in this thread. Sorry Steve.

Love ya,

Steve Varro

Dock Haley Gospel Magic Co.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Oct 26, 2001 09:36AM)
I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but even as a young kid in a VERY conservative Regular Baptist Church, I never understood why playing cards were evil but Rook cards, etc are fine--especially when the "substitute" had 4 suits of 13 cards each. I also have a couple of problems doctrinally with playing cards, or even gambling, being "evil."

I think a lot of people do exactly what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for--making the traditions and rules of men as important as God's Word.

Also, regarding the "weaker brother" argument, I agree and know that is Scriptural. However, I have had 80 year old deacons who've been believers since they were 4 or 5 tell me that my using playing cards is causing them to stumble. Surely a church leader who's been a believer for 75 years doesn't constitute a "weaker" brother!

Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Oct 26, 2001 10:58AM)
Wow Steve, sounds like a project your really proud of. I'm sure a lot of gospel performers will get a lot of use out of those! :wavey:
Message: Posted by: yellowguy (Nov 1, 2001 06:57AM)
I do believe that alternative cards are a good way to get around the íevilnessí of the regular deck. I personally use a deck of UNO cards. But I just recently came across a game called Phase 10 where the cards, while still being of the bridge size, do have the air cushion finish that Bicycles do.

I myself am a young man studying in Bible College to become a pastor in the Christian and Missionary alliance, So I understand the gripes that people have against playing cards. Iíve actually even been prayed over. But the only other alternative to buying an
"acceptable" deck of cards is to make your own. but Iím not sure if youíd want to bother with that.

Message: Posted by: JaquaiGul (Nov 2, 2001 08:15AM)
I must agree with the Great Scott about those who claim to be offended just to pursue their crusade against cards or whatever. It is irritating, but doesn't change the fact that there are some truly weak people who are considering the Friday night gambling session and find out "cards are okay at my church." Since (1) we do not have to use regular cards, and (2) since some might really be caused to stumble, and (3) since Steve Varro has cards that can be seen and recognized at a greater distance than regular playing cards, we might as well plan to leave the regular playing cards alone. :hmm:

Besides, I find using the different kinds of cards helps me develop novel presentations.

Message: Posted by: atkinsod (Jan 7, 2002 12:34PM)
Interesting topic.

I can see that some would be upset at playing cards being used in church, as some don't even like magic shows in church. I suppose you have to approach each church and ask before performing.

You can certainly gamble with just about anything: dice, coins, sticks, and football games being other examples.

About the new Doc Haley deck: is one of the symbols used the image of Christ? This is just a pet peeve with me, but I'm uncomfortable with using a "Christ" card that has an image of Jesus as commonly portrayed in paintings and so forth. I'm not trying to be legalistic about it, but have developed a conviction that I shouldn't be using this. I have a Doc Haley Svengali deck, and have never used it...

Doug A.
Message: Posted by: Bernard Lightfingers (Jan 11, 2002 02:00PM)
I know some people from the church I go to who view any magic of any sort as work of the devil. My grandpa, who is the main pastor of the church, says playing cards mean gambling, and that's work of the devil, but he looks at some of my card tricks... :cry:
Message: Posted by: Steve Varro (Jan 15, 2002 05:37AM)

Doug asked about the new symbolic deck and wondered if it used the "image of Jesus" as one of the cards.

Unlike the Svengali deck which is a force type deck designed to always force the Christ Head card, the symbolic deck is like a regular deck of 52 cards. None of the 13 images is the image of Jesus. However a Christ head card is included in the deck as a 53rd card for those who want to use it as a social card for different tricks, but it is not needed to use the deck. A 54th card, a joker (money bag) is also included in the deck.

In HIS service,

Steve Varro

Dock Haley Gospel Magic Co.
Message: Posted by: MANDRAGORE (Jan 24, 2002 04:00PM)
Steve, it is funny that you start a thread about cards and the church. Let me tell you this story.

I was invited to speak in a Brethern (is that the way you spell it?) church and I took my cards out, and I can tell you that I won't be reinvited again by any member of that church.

I think that there are two things that I can take out of it.

1) When you perform with cards and especially for a church, check first to see if it is OK to use them.

2) Everybody has his/her own perception of how a Christian should live his/her life, I personally think that God gave me a gift and I have to use it, and fortunately this gift is linked with the use of cards. It is an akward thing... cards in a church, but who knows the ways of the Lord are...

By the way, do you know that the Brethern will be the first to go to heaven?

It is proved in the Bible, "The dead in Christ will rise first"

Sorry, that was a joke... no offense to anybody.

Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Jan 24, 2002 06:22PM)
Ben, that last one deserves to be preceded by a pious drum roll, and followed by a stern rim shot! :rotf: :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:

Some folks tell me "You can't be a Christian." You have too much fun!

Oh Well! .................

Hey, Thanks for the laugh! I love to laugh. And in all of this, it is the true Christian who get the last laugh - so why wait to start?

I can't wait to perform in that Great disappearing act called "The Rapture".
There will be a whole bunch of folks standing around, totally amazed; asking; "How did they do that?"


Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jan 24, 2002 06:35PM)
You know why they didn't play cards on the ark? Because Noah sat on the deck!
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Jan 25, 2002 01:26AM)
Now that's funny.
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Jan 31, 2002 06:10PM)
Very Good Scott!

Hey Steve, where is "rim shot" icon???

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Feb 1, 2002 12:59AM)
Did you know women and preachers won't go to Heaven? In Revelation, it says, "There was silence in heaven for half an hour." Ever meet a women or preacher who could be silent for that long?
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Feb 1, 2002 09:07PM)
Uh Oh, he's rolling now!

I knew it was a mistake to encourage you Scott....... :rotf:

Love it!

Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Feb 4, 2002 04:18AM)
What's the difference between a deacon and a pastor?

The pastor gets PAID for being good; the deacon is good for nothing!
Message: Posted by: Steven the Amusing (Mar 2, 2002 02:05AM)
Another source of cards for church are childrens decks of ABC, Zoo, Old Maid or Go Fish cards. Unfortunately most of these are not well finished for card work, but they are large and readily recognizable. I created a routine using Go Fish cards that I call "Fraidy Fish Gets Framed". It's a chosen card to picture frame effect. It's geared toward children. It is not a "Gospel effect" although is has plenty of room for adaptation for that purpose.

:P: http://steven.i.am/magic
Message: Posted by: johncrosby (Apr 14, 2002 12:01AM)
I can see where Cards in church would cause some folks to cringe, however as long as I am not gambling, I see no problem with this. I have even done card tricks for my 8th grade Sunday school class and they love it.

John :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Apr 21, 2002 08:52PM)
Scott, you are hilarious . . . :rolleyes: :bg:
I saw some Cheetos cards in Wal-Mart the other day . .. I wonder if little fun symbols on it like that - or maybe the old Batman cards they used to sell, that kind of thing, would soften the "gambling" image of the cards? I've never had a problem with anyone but my grandpa on my Dad's side thinking magic was evil, though. And he's a Freemason! Go figure . . .
:huh: :confused: :no:
Message: Posted by: John (Jun 2, 2002 03:19PM)
I have one card effect I have translated to use in churches by taking out a playing card box and saying "A lot of people don't like these to be used in church because they believe cards are instrument's of the devil and have been used to enslave people and keep them in bondage"

Then, I say, "Particularly this kind of card" as I open up the box and dump into my hand a "deck" of plastic credit cards of different color and design. The effect I do can be adapted quite nicely to this "deck" of cards.


Do you know the difference between prayers offered up in churches and prayers offered up in casinos?

The ones offered up in casinos are in earnest.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 2, 2002 10:45PM)
Jews don't recognize Jesus as the Messiah,

Protestants don't recognize the Pope as the leader of the church,

Baptists pretend not to recognize each other at the Liquor Store!
Message: Posted by: Joe M. Turner (Jun 3, 2002 07:03AM)
I've always heard that the difference between Baptists and Methodists was that Methodists will wave to each other at the liquor store. :)

As for playing cards in church, I am a Southern Baptist deacon and the pianist in my church. And I usually have a deck of cards in my inside suit pocket when I'm at the piano. There is a time and place for everything, and I have used cards in church performances, both formal and informal, for years with no fallout. These shows have been for many denominations, including the Grace Brethren in Canada.

Just my experience...
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jun 3, 2002 11:24AM)
Which led Joe's Pastor to say, "Oh, brother, now I have to 'deal' with that pianist!"

Ah, Joe, you're such a card! I wouldn't mess with you with a red hot Poker--so let's Bridge the gap between our Hearts, and have magical fun in Spades--we're both mature adults over 21!
Message: Posted by: Joe M. Turner (Jun 3, 2002 07:28PM)
As one Christian to another, I can only say...

Go fish.
Message: Posted by: GlenD (Jun 4, 2002 09:11AM)
Good stuff and even better humor posted here! I love the credit cards in a playing card box idea, thanks John for sharing and I hope you don't mind if I steal that and use it sometime!
Message: Posted by: jkvand (Oct 13, 2002 08:22PM)
I just wanted to add something about the Soldier's Prayer Book. I adapted it so that I use every card in the deck, and I tell the story in a format similar to Bill Malone's Sam the Bellhop, complete with false shuffles and cuts. I think it adds to the 'magic' side of the trick, although the story itself is excellent. If anyone wants to know my routine, PM me and I'll be happy to share it with you. Or, be creative and come up with your own! -Jeff
Message: Posted by: metaphyzix (Oct 14, 2002 04:10PM)
I've never been given the third degree for busting out playing cards in my church, and it's nice to see that my pastors are encouraging me to use my gift. I've been to many churches for special events, rallies, and what not and I can sort of tell which churches would be cool with the prospect of cards, and which churches wouldn't. Of course, this is all by assumption, but you can kind of catch a vibe. I'm thinking denomination and style of worship definitely plays a large role in this. And for the most part, I don't know many churches which condemn the use of cards... Where are ya'll from!?
Message: Posted by: Darrin Cook (Oct 14, 2002 11:16PM)
I think I remember reading in Tarbell, how he was about to perform at a church, but he was warned that the pastor was dead set against any cards.

In Tarbell's program, he asked the pastor if he had a deck of cards he could borrow. The pastor said he most assuredly had no cards. Tarbell asked him to check his jacket pocket, whereupon the minister discovered a deck of cards (that Tarbell had deviously planted earlier)! Reaction was great, and the show was a success.
Message: Posted by: DanTheMagicMan (Oct 18, 2002 10:31AM)
The important thing is the message, not the cards. So if there is a possibility that the cards could interfere with the message, don't use them. The worst thing that can happen is the message is lost over the emotion generated by the use of cards. You will probably have better luck using them at less conservative churches and/or youth groups, but check with the church first.

Duane Laflin's book "Greater Gospel Magic"
talks about this and other issues the gospel magician deals with.
Message: Posted by: Paul Menzel (Oct 20, 2002 08:59AM)
Interesting discussion (I know, I am arriving late). I grew up with a very strict background. While many in the church I grew up in probably thought of cards as evil, they never seemed so to me. My grandmother taught us to play card games and that was my association with cards--without gambling.

I can see gambling demonstrations being out of place in a church setting, but card effects with story applications should be okay in most places. These things can be approached tactfully, so as to hopefully minimize offense, but some people are determined to be offended regardless (since they are morally superior--never mind the skeleton's in their closets).

Plenty of church folks question my choice in music, my tattoo and my pierced ear--all of which have scriptual significance. If they can get past those things to the point of allowing me to present magic for them, I doubt they'd be overly concerned if I use a deck of cards :rolleyes:

:bikes: (Boo!)
Message: Posted by: Georgia Boy (Oct 30, 2002 09:01AM)
I have performed for church groups for 5 years now I have never thought of doing a "card trick". But here's why:

Anytime you have a fair sized group, card tricks can become hard to follow, if you have children in the group, it can be over their head. There is SO much more out there to do than cards. I think magicians over-use cards. My church once brought in a magician for the kids and he did "Insurance Policy". I shake my head to myself, I don't get it.

Maybe in a one on one situation I can see doing one or two card items, but above that I just can see pulling the Bicycles out in a church to do a trick. There's 5 million other things to do.... :)
Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Nov 9, 2002 05:47AM)
I read a few of the replies on the first page of this thread had real problems with them and felt the need to reply. Being very new to The Magic Cafť I feel funny about speaking out now, but being an old Christian I decided to put my "2 cents worth" in. Taking in consideration that It is worth every Penny you paid for it, (not even 2 cents) please read on.

Using playing cards

#1. I don't think that because someone
disagrees with your ideas, we should be name calling. Whether it is: "Weaker Brother" or
"poor misguided card player". (made that one up myself) We are to be the light of the world, and we cannot do that in this manner.
(There are lots of people watching us to see how Christians act.)

#2. The people who believe either way, will not usually have their minds changed, in a forum situation such as this.

I love "The Good News" and this forum, I have learned so much in here.

Arguments don't become us.

The only way to handle the problem is on an
individual basis. If "using cards offends someone", it is wrong in that situation.
Be polite and ask in advance. If "people who think using cards is wrong" offends you (even from a new users view this is obvious), make "discreet" inquiries in
advance. (It can be done) Save everyone, yourself included the heartbreak, and politely bow out if invited to perform.

This advice coming from a retired GI who for a time tried to hate everyone equally. (makes it easier if you have to kill them)

Who for awhile lost his way, but got back on the right path, and now tries only to hate sin.


P.S. Sorry, didn't mean to sound pious OR preachy.