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Majiloon
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Andre Kole – as far as I can remember- is careful to separate the 2 functions of his program- first the entertainment, then a distinct break where he illustrates a biblical truth.

He doesn’t mix the two, and doesn’t take license without respect for the audience, and is careful not to offend God. He does this in a plainly obvious manner so everyone has an understanding, and given the opportunity to decide whether they want to hear it or not. This maintains a level of respect for his audience, and the audience toward him.

I see this dilemma;
We are dealing with an arena as defined as the THEATER OF DECEIT —where we involve the theater of the mind by stimulating the imagination as a form of entertainment. In order to deceive, we (as magicians) have to suspend their disbelief- by conveying physiological and theatrical techniques. Audiences surrender and disengage normal beliefs to the degree they wish to enjoy themselves in this theater.

And if you think that by giving them a good show will in a sense justify forgiveness from the audience, you will have betrayed their act of surrender to follow you in the first place…
Conveying biblical truth requires- just the spoken word, and confronts deceit from every angle. (Biblical truth I mean preaching the Gospel, as it is by its very nature offensive)

--Is it appropriate to think that preaching the Gospel demonstrated within this ‘theater’ can be a troubling notion?

Children (or even some adults) that are not developmentally adept at handling abstract thinking very well could easily be misguided by such impressions.

Cheers,
Kelly Duro
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Clifford the Red
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By defining entertainment in such a manner, "DECEIT", you are obviously slanting your argument by using this loaded term. If you are going to do that, I expect you will do the right thing and apply your ideas to the logical end. Of course you have to apply this term to all forms of entertainment except juggling and sideshow (sword-swallowing, glass-eating, fire, etc), which are actually truthful in their performance. You of course would eliminate film and TV, art, non-fiction books, and theater - as what they are portraying is not actually happening - DECEIT.

And of course, the parables of Jesus have to go as they did not portray actual events either.

"Children (or even some adults) that are not developmentally adept at handling abstract thinking very well could easily be misguided by such impressions."

Lucky for me I am more than adept at abstract thinking and can discern an agenda.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
illusions & reality
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Hi Kelly,

I answered your question above on the former thread. I assume that the only agenda that you have is to discuss your thoughts and questions.

Lou
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Hiya, Kelly:

Yes, I think you're on to something. The Gospel deals with Truth, which has both temporal and eternal significance. By presenting this Truth through deception, the Gospel Mage enters the same logical category as the psychic dispensing occult wisdom: They are both frauds.

Clifford's point about the potentially allegorical nature of entertainment is noted. If Magicians present their wares as illustrative of deeper truths, well and good, for we thereby join the ranks of artists who communicate obtusely, as through allusion. ('Our Town' isn't really about a cemetery full of spooks, nor is 'Moby Dick' about a whale.) Your point about people perhaps not seeing this distinction [observing an illusion that illustrates reality, rather than mistakenly seeing a feat that demonstrates supernatural power] is also noted.

I would ask in turn, "Why Gospel Magic?" Why blend the two into an hybrid that dilutes one and may improperly elevate the other? Paul didn't do sleight of hand, yet I understand he was rather successful in communicating the Good News.

Leland
Majiloon
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I am of course speaking of the art of Magic and illusion as we (those of us reading this) are employing the “theater of deceit”.

The notion the Jesus used the same is a stretch and preposterous. Jesus did not need to use demonstrations involving the theater of deceit (the art & demonstration of magic or illusion) he did the real thing.

Story telling- as Jesus would do, is not the same thing as working with equipment- staging, and props for the purpose of employing the theater of deceit, for entertainment purposes.

Perhaps my premise is not wrong, you are not ready to accept it.

Please re-read my question as a whole, it is a sincere and important topic to study, if you try to pick it apart, then it will seem like you are making an excuse not to examine yourself.

Cheers,
Kelly Duro
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Payne
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Quote:
On 2005-01-28 14:12, Majiloon wrote:
I am of course speaking of the art of Magic and illusion as we (those of us reading this) are employing the “theater of deceit”.


All theatre is deceit. Any play, movie or story requires the audience to suspend their disbelief and accept the performance they are witnessing to be real: at least in the context of the piece.
We know the actor on the stage is not Hamlet but for the drama to function we must at least temporarily acept the fact that he is.
Would those who were moved by the performance of the actor in last years Passion been so moved if thet didn't accept the image on the screen as Christ?
How popular would the movie had been if it was just an actor being beaten and then crucified by a bunch of other actors in funny clothes?
No for theatre to work we must suspend our belief.
And yes Christ did use deception in his preaching. The parables can be viewed as fact but in truth are merely stories to illustrate valuable lessons. For some they bear more weight if they are percieved as actual events while others see them for the object lessons they are.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Majiloon
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Lou- I have no agenda-
I have been plagued by this dilemma throughout my career, and I was hoping for others who are honest enough to admit that they too understand the importance of a self-examination.

Leeland is exactly right;
"I would ask in turn, "Why Gospel Magic?" Why blend the two into an hybrid that dilutes one and may improperly elevate the other? Paul didn't do sleight of hand, yet I understand he was rather successful in communicating the Good News. "
I am offended that the Gospel is trivialized, and I am convinced that God is too. If God is the same yesterday and today- then his warnings still hold the same weight.

Do we dare ignore the premise I outlined- and expect that God’s grace is sufficient to “bless it” - for the sake of ushering in others into the kingdom.. This is sloppy agape…it’s more than that—it could be displeasing to God.


Cheers,
Kelly Duro

No Payne-
It is not the same-

A magic or illusion show has a distinct difference, it is uniquely powerful and different in that it is a live show if actual (artificial) miracles happening right in our hands as volunteers, or in front of a live audience.
A magical show goes several steps further than a play- and incorporates specific secret elements of deceit– in order to maintain this powerful difference, over a play.

Watching a carton or television commercial simulating magical effects is not the same as being in an audience experiencing it live.

anyway- I degress, sorry...
Cheers,
Kelly Duro
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Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2005-01-28 14:35, Majiloon wrote:
Lou- I have no agenda-...I was hoping for others who are honest enough to admit that they too understand the importance of a self-examination....so-called Gospel Magicians...Please don’t think that I am picking a fight...I was hoping for a down to earth discussion, hoping for some straight talk. – Nothing sinister going on here...if you try to pick it apart, then it will seem like you are making an excuse not to examine yourself...I am open minded...The Gospel by its very nature is offensive...THEATER OF DECEIT...I am offended that the Gospel is trivialized, and I am convinced that God is too....Do we dare ignore the premise I outlined?....


No agenda? Methinks he doth protest too much. Although I am glad that he knows what God is thinking. I feel so much better. Of course I am just "avoiding self-examination" by pointing out arrogance and fallacies in reasoning. I should repent Smile
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
illusions & reality
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Hi Clifford & Kelly,

Personally, I think that it is dangerous to decide what another person's motives or agenda are. It is true, that we"shall know them by their fruit," but Romans 14 asks, "who are you to judge another man's servant?" I am taking Kelly at his word. Sarcasm and accusations really aren't the best way to communicate.

Kelly, I think that we are coming from very different perspectives. I was hoping from my earlier posts that I in no way want to trivialize the Gospel. I have faced persecution, on and offstage, for sharing the Gospel. Again, as I stated earlier, I believe that the Gospel is offensive, but we don't need to be offensive.

I am missing your point about trivilaizing the Gospel when shared in the context of an illusion program. To me, the contrast between illusion & reality is powerful. I share the Gospel, from Scripture, using verbal illustrations and one trick to illustrate truth. How do you see God taking offense at that? I have also shared the Gospel with non-Christian friends, as they sat in a bar, with music blasting in the background. I used a napkin to draw the Navigator "Bridge Illustration." I don't think that writing Scripture on a napkin trivializes truth.

In Luke 19, Jesus states to Zaccheus that He came to seek and save that which is lost. Jesus said, "As the Father has sent Me, so I send you." It would be much easier for me NOT to do illusion programs with a clear Gospel presentation. I have turned down very well paying jobs because of who they would be sponsored by. Most recently, a casino wanted to hire me for a very attractive fee. For me, it would negate my testimony because I wouldn't be free to share the Gospel and it would appear that I was endorsing gambling. (The casino wanted to use me to draw people in.)

Again, I don't do "miracles" in people's hands. I have had people wonder how I did something, but nobody ever asked me if I had supernatural or divine power. As a matter of fact, I point out the fact that I do tricks involving equipment, staging and practice. God does miracles because of Who He is.

I agree with you completely regarding self-examination (and God & church examination)! Jeremiah 17:9-10 says that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all else. Only God can search our hearts and test our mind. It is easy to be self-deceived. I always want to be open to being corrected and have been a part of accountability groups for 20+ years. I have a board of godly men (one who served on the board of translators for both NAS & NIV translations of the Bible.) We should not shy away from hard questions if we have honestly wrestled with the answers.

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:20, "To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win the Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, though not being myself under the law, that I might win those under the law." He goes on to say that "I have become all things to all men that I may by all means save some." (v. 22) I don't think that Paul was being duplicitous, or deceitful. I think that he was constantly trying to build bridges to share "the only true Gospel" at points that he could connect with people. I see an illusion program as a point to connect with people. Audiences enjoy entertainment and I enjoy entertaining. It becomes a connection point to talk about who I am and Whose I am. I share the Gospel because "my relationship with Jesus is the reality in my life."

Kelly, do you believe that magic truly is "theater of deceit?" If I believed that we truly were deceiving people, I think that as believers we have no right to perform illusion anywhere, under any circumstances. We would be lying, deceiving and defrauding people. Our "yes" would not be "yes" and our "no" would not be "no". There are clear Biblical admonitions against all of these things.

I am wondering if you see performing on a church platform as profaning the sacred? This is a real question and a different issue.

I also have no problems with believers disagreeing with one another. I do think that it is critical as to how we disagree. We need to have loving, humble postures toward one another, because none of us are perfectly correct. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 says, "Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.  There are three things that will endure – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love."

Kelly, I do not mean this in a demeaning or condescending way. Until these threads, I had no idea that you were a believer. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? If so, I'm excited to have you as a brother! If you're still checking what it means to be a follower of His, I'd love to be of help if I can.

Blessings on you. Feel free to e-mail or PM me. I'd be happy to phone you at my expense.

Lou
BroDavid
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Get to the motives.

Is your magic deceptive in order to take advantage of someone?
Or is the "deception" intended to entertain, and illuminate?

Is it deceptive, when you say, "I am going to do my best to fool you, and if I am good, I will fool you real good"? How can one be deceived if you tell them what you are doing, and they agree to watch.

It is all about motives. I don't think any right thinking Christian performer, whether singing of God's Grace, or dancing Praises to Him, or doing an illusion or effect would have a motive of somehow tricking someone into the Kingdom.

No matter what performing art is applied, the purpose is present the Truth in some easily understandable and relatable format. If it only took one man, and one way to deliver the Gospel, Jesus would have been the man, but even He chose 12 others to carry on the work. And they each had others, speaking many languages, and with many styles of presentation. Why? I think (and this is merely my opinion) that it is because each of us needs to hear the Truth in a way that we can relate to, and understand. The message that brought me to Christ, might have gained a yawn from others, but it was what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it, and in a way that I needed to hear it.

I tell people that I am going to talk about God. I don't sneak it in on them. And I don't sugar coat the reality that we are all sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. We cant do it ourselves. We all need a savior. And When I use linking rings to illustrate man, and man's sin nature, I am deceiving no one. I am providing a visual illustration that shows them a reality in terms that help clarify the reality. Is it deceptive because the rings don't really penetrate each other as they appear to? No, because I never tell them that they will!

I did a routine for a secular audience the other night, and told them I was going to talk about God, and if they didn’t want to hear about God, this would be a good time to go get something to drink or see if there are any deserts left. And then I did a routine about colors, talked about which are God's favorite colors, and produced colored silks, and closed with a silk fountain and talked about how, for believers, no matter how beautiful the colors here, and all that God has created, how much more beautiful it will be in heaven, and the silk fountain drew ooohs and Ahhs. If people are offended, and some will be, then they will be offended. But I told them what was coming. And my motive was to share a little about the Glory of Kingdom to come.

Did I offend God? I don't think so. God is no nearly so concerned about anything in our lives as he is about our hearts. If your heart is right, so will your actions be.

Where does the Bible say, don't do it? It doesn't.

As long as you have motives in line, it doesn't matter whether you sing, dance, play a part in movie, or are performing illusions. It is all about where you heart is.

I have said now for a long time, and will repeat it here. "I wish never to offend, any more than is necessary. But the Gospel is an offense to the unbeliever."

This discussion is one that happens frequently as people try to legalize what performers do in conjunction with carrying the Good News. The discussion inevitably blurs the question, from should Christian do magic, to "how dare us, offend people with the Gospel"

In rereading what I have typed, it is clear to me that I have rambled. But I hope my points can be mined out without hard labor.

BroDavid
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Clifford the Red
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Quote:
On 2005-01-28 16:13, illusions & reality wrote:
Personally, I think that it is dangerous to decide what another person's motives or agenda are. Sarcasm and accusations really aren't the best way to communicate.


Lou, Excuse my analytical mind. My background is quite varied and does include extensive study in logical argument. When I see fallacious reasoning used to lead discussion, I am compelled to speak up. I reposted the loaded terms and leading wording used throughout the threads for all to see. There is an obvious bias against Magic by his referral to it NUMEROUS times as the "THEATER OF DECEIT" - using the loaded term "Deceit" on purpose. I am using "Deceit" no more than exists in a Nativity Scene or in a fine painting or in a fine play. I resent that disparaging term in regards to an art I hold dear. I hardly need to make assumptions to understand a fallacious logical attack. Even less when it is strewn consistently over numerous posts on a leading topic. The title of the threads "A Gospel Dilemma" and "A Gospel Magician's Assumptions" (Not one but TWO threads!) further clarify the direction of the leading conversation. I think one should speak their mind and not veil it in "innocent discussions". That is the only thing "deceitful" here. If he thinks magicians are evil and an affront to God, then say so! That would bother me much less. I may disagree but I wouldn't feel deceived.

Also, I explained myself clearly in my first post after which I was told it was "preposterous", that I "was not ready to accept" his glorious premise and that I am "making an excuse not to examine myself."

So aside from being even more clear in my second post, I added sarcasm with the hope it would work better, because clear communication only was simply ignored and disparaged or that it would at least amuse.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
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Hi Clifford,

I appreciate your perspective. If someone is cloaking their agenda, that is their responsibility before God. As you can see above, I asked Kelly the following question:

"Kelly, do you believe that magic truly is "theater of deceit?" If I believed that we truly were deceiving people, I think that as believers we have no right to perform illusion anywhere, under any circumstances. We would be lying, deceiving and defrauding people. Our "yes" would not be "yes" and our "no" would not be "no". There are clear Biblical admonitions against all of these things."

I know that Kelly sells his products to magicians (I have purchased his VSM-7), so I don't think that he thinks that magicians are evil and an affront to God.

Some people communicate more clearly than others. When I am speaking in a small group, my wife often has to serve as my interpreter. I know what I'm thinking, why doesn't everyone else!? Smile I just want to think the best of Kelly and assume that he is asking honest questions. If he isn't, he will be accountable to God, not me.

I too love the art form of illusion, but I love God and people a whole lot more (I am NOT implying that you don't!) I would rather try to answer (at least from my limited perspective) what is being asked. I have tried to be honest and share from my understanding of Scripture. Again, I am an imperfect interpreter. I don't put my understanding of Scripture on par with Scripture!

I think that of all the forum topic participants, Chritian illusionists/magicians should be the most gracious and helpful. That doesn't mean that we swallow anything, but I would rather err on the side of grace.

Blessings to you.
Lou
Majiloon
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Thank you Lou-

You are right about my intentions, I do not have a hidden agenda, just asking for a little help with an issue that I would like to incorporate within my approach regarding Christian venues.

Perhaps I used too strong a word, and maybe people are getting fixated on the word Deceit- when I could have used a softer word, but the fact remains that the word belongs in the rest of the paragraph of my statement in it own context.

Clifford, (or whatever your name really is)- you comments are harsh and uncalled for. And dare I say it- wrong- If you are personally having difficulty understanding something about my topic- then PM me instead of planting negativism on the thread.

For the Record- I love Jesus Christ- have had a relationship with him for 30 years. I have performed professionally as a magician of sorts for 25 of those years. And Yes- I have utilized magic within a Church setting. I have been asked to speak in some of the nations leading churches over the years. But (admittedly early on) I have not always been careful not to offend God when I do. I have been asked to manufacture products for thousands of other such performers in 23 counties for the last 15 years -- most of which are in the “magic” business.

I have always been open and honest with every post I have ever posted, signing my Real name so everyone knows who I am. What sort of self-sabotage do you think I am conducting here- and if I were- wouldn’t the logical thing to do – is sign off using my stage name- or other made-up name?

With your permission, I would like to continue the discussion,
Respectfully,
Kelly Duro
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illusions & reality
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Hey Kelly,

I am glad to know that you are a brother in Christ. I don't know if you remember when you asked about declaration amount when you shipped the VSM the first time. I told you to declare the full amount for customs because I was a Christian. You never know who is watching! I don't think that you would take me very seriously now if I had asked you to lie about the amount for customs then.

I am glad that you are asking real questions, as I assumed you were. All that I can tell you is that I have done this for more than 27 years, for 100,000s of people and seen 1,000s genuinely come to Christ. I have been featured at some of the largest and Biblically conservative churches in North America and what I do has never been questioned as displeasing to God. I have also performed and spoken at conferences of up to 25,000. My walk with the Lord is not something that I put on before I go onstage. People can usually smell a counterfeit. I am always humbled that God chooses to use me in whatever context He chooses.

I do need to say that before some have seen my program, they have decided that all illusionists/magicians are demonic. I do not try to defend myself or argue with their opinions. I politely disagree, sharing my understanding of Scripture. These people don't book me, and I would not be very effective in their churches.

I would be glad to help you in any way that I can. Of course it is also important to get a broad spectrum of input so that you can prayerfully make wise decisions. It is also good to get input from your pastor, elders and other brothers and sisters in Christ. Please feel free to PM me or e-mail me with any questions that you think I might be able to help you with.

God Bless,
Lou Leventhal
Clifford the Red
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Lou, you are very kind and a model of patience.

Kelly, well I am certainly blunt! Harsh? Maybe I am just "preposterous" - I resemble that remark! Smile If you have an internal conflict with magic, I truly hope you reach your resolution.

Perhaps we differ on what appears to be your underlying premise - that magic is a deceit, a fraud, or whathaveyou and that it is somehow different in being so from any other form of entertainment. I completely disagree. I would say, no, absolutely there is difference. Magic is the same as theater, art, film, etc. It is not a fraud nor a deceit, but a deliberate entertainment, a mutual transaction. Magic is no more insidious than an inspirational book, film or piece of art.

You had mentioned previously that you felt that magic somehow used much more techniques to create illusion so it was different. Well, actually, many other art forms are far more sophisticated and intricate in their construction than magic. So I disagree on your argument there as well.

So your question would apply to all entertainment - How can you combine the Gospel and (insert your entertainment here)?

So if all entertainment is "deceitful" how do you reconcile this?
If no entertainment is "deceitful", is there some other aspect you want to reconcile?
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Majiloon
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Okay- thanks Clifford—I think you can’t get passed your presuppositions – let it go man—

Doesn’t seem like anyone is getting this-

I am talking about the engagement of the heart and mind- there is a unique suspension of disbelief, - a willing voluntary action for the sake of the magical entertainment,

Then- there is an abrupt shift when the topic of their eternal destination occurs---

Unless you employ great care- the audience could subconsciously feel betrayed.

I know that I felt it- experienced it- maybe I’m wrong- Maybe this isn’t really important- maybe there is never a need to consider any of this examination- and just do whatever your ‘heart’ tells you to do- every gospel magician for himself--after all, God will work it out in the end…

Judging by your comments Clifford- I’m all wet- and there isn’t anything left that you haven’t tried to shoot down- Do you know- you come across as hostile-nasty?

Thanks anyway, I think that I will go to another sandbox…
KD
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The problem here, is we haven't agreed on terms.

Where, EXACTLY is this show? Whom, EXACTLY is it for?

If we stay in the abstract, we can't solve much. People will keep jumping about.

If you are in a paid show for Billy's birthday, most likely not the place for a gospel message.

A family night at your church might be.

Who are you, EXACTLY? What is your show about EXACTLY?

Duane Laflin has explored this in great detail in his various works, Greater Gospel Magic comes to mind.

Magic as a tool to enhance a message is no better or worse than any other tool a speaker could use. It is all in how you use it.

The "Well Jesus would/would not" do this or that is interesting, but not on point. The real question is if Jesus were in YOUR position, what would he do?

Jesus was not a performing magician, BUT, if he were, what would he do?

In his steps, that WWJD thing, its the central question to all of our growth in the Gospel.

Mark Tripp
Clifford the Red
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Funny how responding to insulting remarks makes me a bad guy. Oh well. Maybe I'm just being too sensitive, I apologize for that. And no I don't hold anything, I let it go when I first pressed the button.

No Kelly, I am not "shooting down" everything you say. I am giving you my opinion. That I am disagreeing with you apparently doesn't go over well - I "can't get over my presuppositions". What can I say, my opinion is mine and you haven't posted anything that would make me go "hmmmmm...something to think about". You're a smart guy, you certainly could, but you haven't. No I don't think you are all wet. I am trying to get you to clearly define and support your position!

"If three people have the same opinion, two are unnecessary."

Again you say no one seems to be getting this. Perhaps it is the way you are communicating it? If at first you don't succeed....

You seem to be focussing on the point of creating a live magical illusion. Maybe it would help to apply it to a specific effect to give an example? That may help clarify. What specific effect would be a good example of one that you believe would create this conflict?
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
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When Jesus was reinforcing a message or point he told a story, we know them as the parables. Now the shocking bit, he made them up…

As a gospel magician I also use story’s to reinforce a message however my story’s usually contain magic.
illusions & reality
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Hi Big Bad Baz,

Please be careful that you don't put your stories on par with those of Jesus. When Jesus spoke, it was the Word of God, because He was the Word made flesh. When we speak, we are using illustrations that will always be limited at best!

Lou
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