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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » Are church folk really this naive? » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
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Alan
Every synagogue is different, this one was a very very orthidox one, and they were perfect gentlemen about the whole matter. If they call me back for another non performance with full pay I will gladly return.
Al
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
http://www.juggleral.com
http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
flourish dude
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from ? But I know where I am going!
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Quote:
On 2005-12-01 21:53, calamari wrote:
I don't think you have to be a Christian to perform at churches as Flourish Dude remarked earlier, I mean does a plumber have to be a Christian to do work at a church?


If you are going to perform a Church show for the people whom go to church then yes you should be a Christian. Being a plumber and work on the church build is not the same as presenting for the people.

"I'm surprised a church would book a magician. And I say this both as a person who performs magic as a hobby, loves it, and is a born-again Christian. Look, we go to church, or we should be going to church, for one and only one reason. And that is to worship God. That's it. It's not a nightclub. It's not a Café with a coffee bar, and it's not a social club. It is the house of the Lord.

If a church has sound doctrinal practices, I can see no possible way that they would invite a magician to perform. What's the purpose? Entertainment? See above for the reasons. I would say if a church member wanted to hire someone to perform at a private event (birthday party, etc.), I say "Go for it." But that's not what church is for.

Earlier posters are right. It only takes one person to change/ruin/distort anything. It happens all the time.

Alan, you are doing nothing wrong. Personally, myself, I just don't think a church should hire a magician. That's not what church is about.

Regards,
Mark"

Mark, most of us who perform for Churches offer a theme program that will enhance Biblical teaching. It is the same as a play (skit), puppets, or even a singing group that comes to perform for the church. We are performance artist. I will agree that if it is a private show and they are using the building then do what ever, but if you are presenting during service times for the church body then it is very different.

It all boils down to you should know your market. It seems like a lot of magicians will take what ever show is thrown at them. Then they wonder, what happened why did they not like my show. I will tell you this, not knowing your market will in the long run hurt you.

Alan, I am not saying your doing anything wrong as well. I just think that if your a Christian and have a strong Biblical background then you would know that there is a fine line with how you present yourself and this would not have been a problem. I myself have a different website for churches. I present myself not as a magician but a variety arts performer. I use illusions to illustrate.

Ask your self this, are you performing for the church to "get paid" or are you performing to enhance the kingdom of God?
Nothing of the same will bring any change, take action today!
Just taking a step, is a step in the right direction because when you stop working, your dream dies.
www.magicalmemories.us
Brian Lehr
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This is a great discussion on an important topic, and one that is often discussed in the forum directly above this one (The Good News forum).

If I'm not mistaken, the purpose of this Café is for magicians to help other magicians, not for certain magicians to disparage other magicians because of their beliefs, culture, race, style of magic, or anything else.

Brian
Scott O.
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Midwest
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I think MagicGeorge touched on part of the problem earlier. We perform Magic, guys. It's a "secret" art. When asked, "How did you do that?" we say "I can't tell you." Most people know it's just a bunch of trick, but we use terms that are shrouded in mystery and abhorrent to those in the Christian faith. Magic and Psychic being two of them. Both of these terms denote some power that is beyond the natural-- yes? Well, if you are a Christian then you believe that only God Himself has this type of power. Why would a church want to bring someone in to perform feats of "magic" or demonstrations of "psychic" power? It makes no sense. . . unless there is a purpose.

I'm a Christian magician... Christian -- magician. When I perform a magic show in a church, it is not purely for entertainment. I am there to support, through my actions and words, what that church believes and teaches. If I do my job correctly, my presentation will be entertaining. It will also become a creative way to present a Christ-centered message.

Have I had church's that pre-judged my show based on the word magic? Yes. Quite honestly, that should be expected. The very definition of the word magic puts it outside everything that honors the God that Christians serve. However, if my terminology is changed to 'illusion' or 'object lesson', then most of the opposition vanishes. Those terms more acurately define what I do.

So one really needs to understand one's audience. If a specific audience grouping is causing you problems, then you probably don't have enough awareness of that group to adequately meet their needs as a performer. The burden doesn’t fall upon the audience (or booker) to understand you; it falls upon the performer to understand his audience needs.
Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will reap a harvest, if you do not give up. Galatians 6:9
chris mcbrien
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If Alan wants to perform in churches, he will have to be more sensitive to their issues and figure out how best to market to them. Perhaps a seperate webpage would be a good idea.
It's all about the message. My gospel show is about the basic tennants of Christ, which happen to be the basic tennents of many faiths. I've been hired by Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, the local Hillel Foundation (jewish), and Muslims....I gotta tell ya', they all loved the show because it's all about....LOVE! At the same time, if they don't want a magic show, so be it. I don't discount that Al has a great message, as does Alan...I'm sure the same could and probably will happen to me at some point.
It's all about the message.
Maybe Alan could change his wording to "mental miracles" instead of the psychic thing....it would put it into the realm of everday psychology, which is more acceptable to the public.
chris
calamari
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It's one thing to do a religious themed program for churches and another to entertain for a group at a church. I perform the same family friendly show for churches that I would perform for any family oriented group. I did not get the sence that the original poster was going to perform a religious program for the church and as churches provide entertainment for their congregations from time to time outside the normal services (such as youth programs, fund raising dinners etc..) their is no need to have a religious theme in your performance.

If you want to be hired by a church all that is required is that they beleive your program will not offend the congregation or have a message that is contrary to their beliefs. One should certainly have a contract and require a deposit for churches and everyone to avoid this kind of situation.
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
Payne
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Seattle
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Quote:
On 2005-12-01 19:20, flourish dude wrote:
I would say if your not a Christian then you should not perform for churches or for a church program. If you are a Christian and a true student of the Bible then you know how to represent yourself.



Hey I'm a devout atheist and I've performed for church sponsored events with no problems. I just keep my lack of faith to myself and present the show I was hired to perform.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
bsears
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I'm surprised that I find myself siding with the church on this one. I think that a magician who does psychic readings, tarot, and the like, and advertises it publicly, places themself in a category outside of the mainstream of most magicians. I can understand the church's surprise.

Many speakers, presenters, and performers have been cancelled after the person who booked them found out that there was a conflict of interest in their beliefs.
Donald Dunphy
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I perform lots of shows for churches, in addition to serving other customers. And I am a born again Christian. Most of my shows for churches are gospel shows, but I do some for-fun shows now and then for churches.

I know from experience, that there are more hoops to jump through with church customers. And people from churches are, generally speaking, more easily suspicious of "magic".

However, I don't equate that with them being lazy, or hating me, or anything like that.

I think it is part due to their upbringing, and part due to how they choose to educate themselves. However, I also know lots of non-Christians that are the same way, they believe a certain way because of their upbringing, and how they choose to educate themselves. As the classic saying goes, "Those convinced against their will, are of the same opinion still."

I know both Christians and non-Christians who think that some psychic demonstrations are real. Same for hypnosis.

But not necessarily for magic (in the majority of the world), because of the amount of exposure to demonstrations of magic entertainment, and the exposure of magic secrets.

Now, with a non-Christian, real powers (or the implication of real powers) might be "interesting" or not considered bad. But with a Christian, especially a conservative one, real powers (or the implication of real powers) are going to be considered negatively.

So, I personally, knowing how conservative churches tend to be, would avoid those subjects in my marketing, even to related markets, because they might see those materials. Because those subjects (psychic demonstations, hypnosis) hint at real powers. Besides, I have no personal interest in those subjects anyways.

If you want to work in certain markets, you have to be willing to jump through the hoops they provide, and also accept the lumps when they don't like you doing business on your terms.

You are a grown-up, and can do business in the way you choose. If it means marketing magic as well as psychic demonstrations, then you have to realize there might be consequences for doing business on your terms. You might lose some potential customers. But you can't blame customers who won't respond, when it is your choices that drive them away.

Here's an example of what I mean. Just yesterday, I was in a store that sold electronics, and some other items, called XS Cargo. They were "new", but mostly factory refurbished, electronics. There were amazing prices. Then I asked some more questions. They had a 30 day warranty only (no standard one year warranty, or even a 90 day warranty), and if you returned the item in the 30 days (because of it breaking down, or even if you changed your mind about buying it), you did not get cash back, but only store credit. There was the option of buying a two year warranty on some items, but again, for store credit if you returned it because it quit working (and that item might not be there anymore).

For me, those were some terms of business I wasn't interested in dealing with. Some might like it, and buy there, but I would rather have a "new" item (not refurbished), that comes with a one year warranty (not 30 days) at a place like Costco. I would rather have a proper money back guarantee, as well. So, I will choose to pay up to twice the price, as opposed to buying at XS Cargo. It would just be silly if they got mad at me, for not buying there, because I didn't like their terms.

With my birthday business, I ask customers to pay me in cash, because I've had problems with bounced birthday customer cheques in the past. Customers do that, and they realise they are doing business on my terms. I also do business on their terms, at the location they want, on the date they want, etc. It is about mutual agreement.

With doing business with churches, you can do business on your terms and their terms (a mixture of both), but if you market in ways that some might object to, you will lose business. Those are the plain and simple facts for the choices you make. You can't get mad at them for objecting to some of your choices, if the option of having your program is going to make harmony within their church body more difficult.

Now, in order to be as "church-friendly" as possible, I have designed my marketing materials that talk about our shows in conservative ways, I offer my book on the subject of "Magic, Christianity and The Bible" for anyone that has any concerns (I also have written a short, two-page article on the same subject which I put into some church mailings), I clearly provide an explanation of a gospel magic trick (not the method, but a description, so they can see that it is an object lesson), and I am super-clear in my show to say that I don't have any powers (I don't need to do this for non-church groups).

Some might not really understand the meaning of the word "magic" used in the Bible (and how it is different from what we call "magic" today). While I can try to "educate" them, I might not be successful. They might not even be willing to look at my article or my book, or talk with me in person or on the phone.

Have I had some negative responses from people in churches? Yes.

Have I had the church change their mind about the booking, because when I am not there at the meeting, someone stands up and objects, and then for the sake of church family harmony, they make a choice not to book us after all? Yes.

Have I had some churches still continue with the booking, even if a person objects? Yes.

Have I had local Christians in the community write to me personally, expressing concern about me doing "magic"? Yes.

Have I been attacked in the local Christian media (newspaper), by members of the local church body, because of doing "magic"? Yes.

I still love and care for those people, even if they feel suspicion and fear towards me. That's because I am commanded to, in the same Bible that tells them to be concerned about "magic."

I don't consider myself superior to them, just in a different place in my spiritual walk.

But as I said, I can do business on my terms and their terms, but there has to be agreement between the two points of view, otherwise there is no business. If one gets their way, it is lose-win, or lose-lose. If both get their way, it is win-win.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
dking66
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In the best-selling book "Purpose Driven Life" by Pastor Rick Warren, he states the we, the church, have five purposes... Worship, Missions, Discipleship, Evangelism, and FELLOWSHIP. The church is all about fellowship... spending time with and supporting other believers. Entertainment, banquets, get-togethers, pot-lucks are all a part of fellowship. God is not a kill-joy... and he doesn't want his church to be so.

I am not only a performing magician... but also a full-time Minister of Youth & Activities. I both perform for churches... and I book entertainers for our church-wide activities and events. There are times I look for a Christian performer who can present the gospel or make a inspiring presentation... and there are other times I just want someone who will entertain. However, as I am sure most church leaders, realize that you can't make everyone happy. There will be some people who will not agree with the type of entertainment or program you have. Thus, the church... as do schools, and other organizations must choose their program and program personalities carefully.

To promote a school show... you might not want to advertise yourself using a "brassiere trick".
To promote birthday party shows for 5 year olds... you might not want to advertise yourself with a head chopper.
And, to promote church shows... you might not want to advertise "psychic demonstrations".
It all has to do with how you promote yourself.
Don't come down too hard on the church on this one. You must see their side... as they must be very careful. Therefore, we must be careful how we promote ourselves.

Many thanks!
Doug
rossmacrae
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Quote:
I really don't see the point in rewording my website. How else would I word it? Are people really so ignorant that I have to state the obvious - it's not real, just a theatrical performance. Do these same people think that what occurs in a movie is real? I just hope if that's the case, they don't have the gall to breed.

I make no apology for saying that anyone who thinks like that should be committed to a mental institution.

Of course they're dolts. But then, they think you are the one who is crazy. Arguing against them is futile.

As an entertainer, by choosing to specialize in magic you have eliminated this sort of person/group from your customer pool. If you'd been a singer, you'd open up certain markets and eliminate others - if you'd been a lecturer, the same.

This was a glitch - don't make the same mistake again and move on - don't look back.
Donald Dunphy
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I have another comment to make, and that is about the subject of contracts and getting your cancellation fee / non-refundable deposit. Some have recommended this course of action.

Now, they broke their word in cancelling the booking. But to a degree, they also felt that you misrepresented yourself (and broke your word), and might present psychic demonstrations* during your presentation to their group (something they are uncomfortable with), or perhaps weren't the type of performer they thought they were choosing.

While I believe in contracts, I also believe in the spirit of them.

If I had a show for a customer, who I knew would be unhappy with the show, before I even did it, I would turn down the booking (or let them cancel), and not force them to pay for it. There are circumstances when they should pay you if they cancel, but this doesn't seem like one of them.

It is just bad business to force them to pay for something which they are obviously going to be unhappy with, because negative word of mouth will work against you.

This is especially important if you offer an money-back guarantee (MBG) on your show, or work your best to deliver full customer satisfaction (and many performer's don't... they just take the money and run, not caring whether the customer is happy or not). If you offered a MBG, why do a show, if you know you are not going to get paid for it, in addition to the customer being unhappy?

You did well in letting them go, and parting as amicably as possible.

- Donald

P.S. *They might not realize that psychic demonstrations is another term for mind-reading magic. But even if you phrased it differently, it still might have turned them off.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Police Magician
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Alan, I live in the Bible Belt in Georgia and have had mixed reactions to magic. Some don't mind a show in the church while others perceive it to be the work of the devil. When explaining what a magician is, I let them know that the "power" I have is the knowledge of principles used to effect a trick. I tell them that if I had any real powers, I would not be seeking out people to do shows, nor would I need all the props.

I have experienced some of what you mentioned in the past. Some you can reason with, others you cannot. I respect their belief even if I don't agree with it. There are some good posts on your problem that will help prevent this from happening again. We all learn from problems experienced. P.T. Barnum once said that every man is a *** fool for five minutes a day; wisdom comes from not exceeding the limit. I try not to exceed the limit.

Glenn
Glenn Hester

P.O. Box 3095

Brunswick, Ga. 31521

912-571-8071

www.policemagic.com

https://www.facebook.com/PoliceMagic
Alan Munro
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Using the term "mental miracles" would get me in more trouble, than saying "psychic demonstrations". Besides, what in the world is a "mental miracles", anyway? It would only confuse prospective clients. I've had many discussions about this and the use of the word "miracle" would really offend people - I won't do that, if I can reasonably avoid it.

The need for secrets can be explained to even church people. I also explain that my performance is strictly theatrical in nature. The trouble is that too often they won't allow a dialogue, because they don't want anyone to change their superstitions. They don't like change - period. Some people are really close-minded.

As for misrepresenting myself, I discussed what my show is and is not, with the person doing the booking. After that, I was shut out of the conversation, not allowed to discuss things with the people who had concerns - they simply cancelled. Churches in this area are largely social in nature. I find churches to NEVER be divine institutions, but rather human ones - largely political.

As for myself, I don't like being told what to believe, because it doesn't allow for real growth. I believe that organized religion often gets in the way of God. I'm just a secular magician - will never be a gospel magician. If the show causes concern, they don't need to waste my time and cause me to turn away others, who want to book for that time slot.
Smoke & Mirrors
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Name-calling, generalizing, grouping, is this the kid's section or a section full of kids?

This is why posts of this nature eventually get deleted here. There is no discussion. This is an outlet for non-christians to whine and complain...and for christians to act better than thou and chastise and both are wrong.

The biggest problem is we want to think that we are good enough to perform for any group, any venue, any age and have them ALL happy and laughing. The best thing I did was learn to say "no" to certain events outside of my favorite venues and abilities. We would all do ourselves a favor by turning away the things we do not desire and let the pros in that group handle the event.

Just opinion though.
Resume the childish name-calling.
Donald Dunphy
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Quote:
On 2005-12-03 06:47, Alan Munro wrote:
The trouble is that too often they won't allow a dialogue, because they don't want anyone to change their superstitions. They don't like change - period. Some people are really close-minded.

[SNIP]

As for myself, I don't like being told what to believe, because it doesn't allow for real growth. I believe that organized religion often gets in the way of God.


I don't know if anyone else sees the irony in this statement. Maybe you didn't mean for it to come out that way, but it did. You said you despised close-mindedness in others, but admitted that you yourself are close-minded (about certain things) in the very same post.

How can you be mad at others for not being open-minded, when you admit yourself that you don't like being told what to believe (admit that you are not open-minded, too)?

I know that I am close-minded about some subjects, so when I see it in others, I don't get as upset as much. That's a healthy perspective on life!

As I said earlier (my first post, way back on page two), run your business the way you want, but why get so upset when someone objects to the way you CHOOSE to advertise? You now know that your choices are costing you gigs. But that's your choice.

You could always advertise without using that phrasing at all, if you are really frustrated about losing shows like this. Otherwise, just realize that advertising in the current way you CHOOSE to, will cost you shows now and then.

I was reading in "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield the other day, about Incident (I), Reaction (R), and Outcome (O).

If you want a different Outcome (O) in the future, you will need to change the way you React (R) to certain Incidents (I).

His example of this was:

Example A:

A person gets $100 bonus at work (I).
They choose to spend it on booze, or a wasted night on the town (R).
They are frustrated that they never get anywhere in life (O).

Example B:

A person gets $100 bonus at work (I).
They choose to invest it in some special savings or bonds that will bring a financial return (R).
They are happy because they have their bonus still, plus some extra money (O).

Again, if you want to be happier about incidents like this (I), and still work for these customers without losing the show (O), you will need to change your marketing approach (R).

You are in TOTAL CONTROL of your reactions in life (R) to different incidents (I). That's why some people react to the same incident (I) in completely different ways. This is why one person might be totally frustrated about being stuck in a traffic jam, and another person might totally roll with the punches and be mellow about it. That's why one person will blame others when they lose a show, and another person will learn from it and change their marketing approach in the future.

We are giving you suggestions as to what to change for the future. It is your choice whether to change or not, whether to be bitter or better. (Sounds like the advice you wish the people at churches would heed, too.)

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
rossmacrae
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Quote:
On 2005-12-01 22:31, mstick85 wrote:
I'm surprised a church would book a magician. And I say this both as a person who performs magic as a hobby, loves it, and is a born-again Christian. Look, we go to church, or we should be going to church, for one and only one reason. And that is to worship God. That's it. It's not a nightclub. It's not a Café with a coffee bar, and it's not a social club. It is the house of the Lord.

No, it's not a nightclub. But many churches host functions that might be thought (on their face) purely social ... dinners, children's socials, the sponsorship of Scout troops ... EXCEPT that the benefit is fellowship with one's church community, the good of the surrounding community, and promoting the awareness of the church as seven-days-a-week center of life.

If you're going to insist that church functions be limited to prayer meetings and worship services, the church is isolated from "workaday life" and left with almost no connection to the community as a whole.

My Church performances have been for Christmas parties ("better finish the show, they're all in a hurry to see Santa"), Halloween parties ("better finish the show, the kids have to go to school tomorrow") and annual Scout dinners ("better finish the show, the parents are dying to go home"). All of these events, in my view, have a perfectly valid place in the church hall.
Alan Munro
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Quote:
On 2005-12-03 11:55, Donald Dunphy wrote:
I don't know if anyone else sees the irony in this statement. Maybe you didn't mean for it to come out that way, but it did. You said you despised close-mindedness in others, but admitted that you yourself are close-minded (about certain things) in the very same post.

How can you be mad at others for not being open-minded, when you admit yourself that you don't like being told what to believe (admit that you are not open-minded, too)?

There's a big difference in being told what to believe and having a healthy dialogue. I often discuss theology with people who have differing beliefs - it can be a really healthy thing. They can discuss what they believe and why they believe it.

I don't like dictators who TELL you what you should believe - I make that call. My beliefs evolve, maybe their beliefs could evolve for the better, too.
mdspark
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Alan,
You have expressed a very reasonable point of view and approach. You are correct..it is sooooo sad that people in the 21st century still think like they are in the Dark Ages. They have reduced a spiritual way of life to a mere superstition and in doing so,have made a mockery of Christianity.

On more than one occassion I was asked by a church to entertain their children as long as I "didn't do any CRYSTAL GAZING." So what I do now is perform my mentalism under a different name to keep the two separate. Sad indeed.

Mark
rossmacrae
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Quote:
On more than one occassion I was asked by a church to entertain their children as long as I "didn't do any CRYSTAL GAZING." So what I do now is perform my mentalism under a different name to keep the two separate. Sad indeed.

In fairness, hasn't the mentalism/psychic area been too irretrievably tainted by bad guys to be a good fit with a Christian environment? I mean, entirely aside from certain Biblical citations, isn't it just a LEEEEETLE too close to dressing up in a red jumpsuit with horns and a tail? Even without chapter and verse, would Max Maven look entirely in place in your pulpit?

And I don't wanna hear "well there are shyster evangelists too" ... the "but he does it sometimes too" argument is just juvenile.
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