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Clifford the Red
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Well according to Christ, your main obligation toward other people is to simply love them and to borrow a Bill&Tedism "Be Excellent to Each Other". After doing that I'd have the faith that things pretty much take care of themselves. Conversion isn't pushed from the outside in, it is drawn from the inside out. In loving others you are at the well offering them a no-strings attached drink from everlasting waters. And it should be love, not because you have to, or because Christ told you to, or you'll go to hell if you don't, it should be because that is just who you've become - a person who loves. Then you "get it" and everything falls into place.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Cybersloughter
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Whew, Okay, here I go into another controversial thread that hasn't been very active in very recent times...

I work for a Christian Television Broadcasting company and just the other day I was having a discussion very similar to this thread with a co-worker. We were watching a channel that plays Christian music videos 24/7. Some of it is good, with good production values, a good message, and hey, wouldn't you know it, it even sounds good. Some of it uses shaky, cheap, personal cameras and the sound mixing was done so poorly that you can't tell if the lead singer is even singing at all.

As 2 music lovers, we were talking about Christian music. In the end, we both came to the decision that we would actually prefer the label of "Christian" to not be applied to something as subjective as an art form. Music is a form of art. Magic is a form of art. Not every musician is going to be good, and not every magician is going to be good. Personally, I would rather see a GOOD show and hear the Gospel be there, but not blatantly beating people over the head and telling them they are going to hell if they don't repent, then to see a bad show that goes to excruciating measures to get the Gospel out. (My advisor in college would smack me over how badly I treated the grammar in that sentence, sorry.)

The same applies to music. If the music is good, then it should be able to stand on it's own without needing the label of "Christian". In fact, I would dare say that some people have been led to Christ through music that they weren't aware was "Christian" when they started listening to it.

Two last examples or statements and I will stop for now.

Personally, I don't do Gospel Magic for reasons that I have been currently discussing in another thread here. However, I am working on someday teaching, be it in church, or hopefully, college. I have currently worked out what has been called a "wonderful" routine using Devin Knight's "Tri-epic" as an aide in illustrating the "Free-will" versus "Predestination" debate. I believe that this hammers home in an incredibly visual and in an incredibly memorable way the teachings of both beliefs. This is not something I would use to attempt to reach new people and to bring them to Christ, this is for someone who is more mature in their spirituality and who are wanting to learn more about some of the different ideas of Christ.

Second, I know someone who does Gospel Magic and not well. I have seen this person perform and it has caused me physical pain to watch his performance. He believes that he has been called to do Children's Ministry. I won't go into the argument over "callings" here, but I would like to add something. If you believe in your heart that you are supposed to do something for God, Please, PLEASE, don't do it halfheartedly. If you are supposed to sing for God, then take singing lessons or at the very least practice a lot. If you are supposed to preach, please read the blasted Bible before you go and start trying to spout scripture to people. And to tie back into this thread, if you are going to do magic for Christ, then PRACTICE the blasted tricks before showing them to people. Yes, God does perform miracles, and yes, sometimes God can accomplish great things through us, but as I once heard a great man say, "Sometimes God accomplishes things in spite of us, not because of us."

Just my copper peices...
JLJ
James L. Johnson

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
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... a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism
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harris
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Before the service with our Pastor, each Sunday begins with 30 minutes of Praise and Worship.(music and song) This is specific type of songs and hymns that give Glory to God and Jesus. Some musician's and Christians do not like any music associated with Church. I know some that are both..Christian and musicians that will not join in the Worship "band" or join in Gospel Jams.

I am surprised that at some open jams at Churches some of the songs that are played.

Peace be with you.

IHN

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Dan Bernier
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When I use magic tricks to open up dialoge with someone I don't know, let's say...on the streets witnessing, I don't go out with a bunch of magic tricks and start performing a bunch of Gospel tricks trying to convert people to christianity. I can do some pretty cool tricks but I can't change people into christians. Smile

I use magic to get attention in places I would not normally get attention, so that when I do get attention I can talk about Jesus Christ. There are several aspects to my outreach ministry and my magic is just one part of it. I teach my youth what it means to be servants for our Lord, and help them to put it into practice.

One example; we as a group have gone into the streets to witness to the homeless using love as our greatest tool. We make aquaintances, and sometimes we're blessed to have made new friends as well. We'll bring lunches for as many people we can with hope that a picnic will break out. We talk with them, listen to them. Especially listen to them. (You'd be amazed at some of the stories I have heard). We earn their trust and respect because they soon realize that we are not there to pound the Bible on their heards, nor are we there to tell them that they are terrible people living in sin. I personally don't advocate the, "You're going to hell if you don't turn your life over to God" type of witnessing, especially on the streets with the homeless, or with anyone else on the streets.

Anyhow, I may not be the best singer in the choir, I may not be the best Gospel magician, I may not always have the answers someone is looking for, I may not even be the best christian, but I will always run the race willingly, and with every effort as if to win.
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
Cybersloughter
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Quote:
On 2008-04-07 18:25, Gospel Dan wrote:
... Anyhow, I may not be the best singer in the choir, I may not be the best Gospel magician, I may not always have the answers someone is looking for, I may not even be the best christian, but I will always run the race willingly, and with every effort as if to win.


And that is what I was really hoping to advocate with my previous comments. Too often I have seen people who say that God is with them, they cannot fail, but then they assume that they don't need to try or put any effort into what they do.

And that to me seems to be a great tragedy. We may never be truly the best at what we do, but if we try, and try with everything within us, then I believe that God can truly use that effort to accomplish things far greater then we would ever be able to on our own.

And if we don't try, and if we don't put any effort in, it feels to me as if I am doing a disservice to God...

JLJ
James L. Johnson

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
- Voltaire

... a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism
- Corinda
FriarShaun
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John.... We are called to proselytize, "Go and make disciples of all nations". This is not just done by being a nice guy. We are called to love one another, but "agapeo" does not mean to be nice, it means to sacrifice and put the other first. Sometimes love does things that don't make others happy. If you pull a drunk out of a car he is liable to hit you curse you and spit on you, but if you love him you will still pull him out of the car.

All magic has an agenda, some performers are just more honest about the agenda. To say that using magic for the gospel is the "wrong" way to do magic is without foundation. Where in the magic rule book does it say that magic, as a performing art, has to be void of belief, opinion, or agenda?

I am tired of being made to feel that believing in something strong enough that you live it and share it is wrong. So I will continue to use magic as I always have, to express myself. To connect with people and tell them who I am and what I beleive. If they don't like me or agree with me, hey that's life. I still will live and express my faith.
gaddy
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Quote:
On 2007-07-07 06:59, JohnWells wrote:
Here we go. I hate, despise, detest, repudiate, and in any other terms you might be able to devise, including profanity in as many as six languages (eight if you count Hebrew and Greek), dislike Gospel magic. Magic seems to fall into a common evangelical trap, that of mediocrity. There is a prevailing notion in the churches that doing something for Jesus means you don't have to do it well, just sincerely. This observation comes from years of ministry. I have never seen a competent gospel magician (admitting that I have seen none of the Café members perform, you all may be the exception, though I am generally suspicious of any group that would have myself as a member), nor have I ever seen a gospel routine that did not water down the glorious Gospel of Christ. Am I missing something?


I don't hate gospel magic, I hate BAD magic, but not an entire genre of magic part and parcel. I could enjoy gospel magic done well...
*due to The Magic Cafe's editorial policies, words on this site attributed to me cannot necessarily be held to be my own.*
JohnWells
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I'm sure I could as well, I just haven't seen it.
JohnWells
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Quote:
On 2008-04-07 23:34, FriarShaun wrote:
John.... We are called to proselytize, "Go and make disciples of all nations". This is not just done by being a nice guy. We are called to love one another, but "agapeo" does not mean to be nice, it means to sacrifice and put the other first. Sometimes love does things that don't make others happy. If you pull a drunk out of a car he is liable to hit you curse you and spit on you, but if you love him you will still pull him out of the car.

All magic has an agenda, some performers are just more honest about the agenda. To say that using magic for the gospel is the "wrong" way to do magic is without foundation. Where in the magic rule book does it say that magic, as a performing art, has to be void of belief, opinion, or agenda?

I am tired of being made to feel that believing in something strong enough that you live it and share it is wrong. So I will continue to use magic as I always have, to express myself. To connect with people and tell them who I am and what I beleive. If they don't like me or agree with me, hey that's life. I still will live and express my faith.


Congratulations Friar. You have managed to:

1. Miss my point entirely, and...

2. Take a stand on a non-issue.

Well done.

A question for you:

Why is the de rigeur approach to proclaiming the evangel of Christ to look at what the world is doing and try to copy it?
KurtK
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Ive been lurking in this thread in the past few days and I can see where you come from but there ARE good gospel performers. Maybe you havent seen enough and assume all are like the few bad ones.

Thanks,
Kurt
Dan Bernier
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You know what they say about assume eh?! (:
"If you're going to walk in the rain, don't complain about getting wet!"
GlenD
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Yeah, too bad they don't go ahead and put it in the dictionary. that would be hilarious. Anyways as to the initial question of this thread... Yes and no.
How's that for an answer?

GlenD

P.S. - JLJ, if you're still checking in on this, I was wondering if "Tri-epic" is the name of an effect using ESP cards fromed in a pyramid and having spec. announce whether each card dealt from the remainder will match the one it is placed on? Just curious cuz I have been doing this since I learned it (as the finale to an ESP card routine) but had forgotten the name! Also I really like your message that you put with it. Thanks for sharing it. Don't worry, I won't rob it from you unless of course you don't mind. ;-)
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
FriarShaun
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OK John I'll bite

1. What is your point then
2. How is defending proselytizing a non-issue.
and.
I think what youre asking at the end is, if the world has an agenda with magic and I have an agenda with magic, why do I feel compelled to copy the world? I may have missed your intent on the end, but if that is it, I am not copying the world I am using an art form to communicate what I want to communicate. I am a firm advocate that the church should not follow the world's lead, but that is not to say that I feel the church should consider anathama anything that the world has touched.

Illusion, magic, storytelling, music, art, dance, are all tools that can be used with great success in communicating the truths of the Bible and the central truth of the gospel.
Terry Owens
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To build on what FriarShaun said...Historically, that was the whole meaning behind Gospel magic, it actually was developed from a minister who also knew Thurston and was taught by him. He developed routines to teach children about the Bible.

It was from this that the genre of children's magic sprang out of...So those who do Gospel magic have a longer history to draw from than those who do children's magic. The intent of Gospel magic has always been to help others understand the Bible...and that's what object lessons do, which in essence is what we do.
Cybersloughter
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Quote:
On 2008-04-11 11:18, GlenD wrote:
Yeah, too bad they don't go ahead and put it in the dictionary. that would be hilarious. Anyways as to the initial question of this thread... Yes and no.
How's that for an answer?

GlenD

P.S. - JLJ, if you're still checking in on this, I was wondering if "Tri-epic" is the name of an effect using ESP cards fromed in a pyramid and having spec. announce whether each card dealt from the remainder will match the one it is placed on? Just curious cuz I have been doing this since I learned it (as the finale to an ESP card routine) but had forgotten the name! Also I really like your message that you put with it. Thanks for sharing it. Don't worry, I won't rob it from you unless of course you don't mind. ;-)


I'm still checking. Smile I may not write as much, but I'm still checking...

The effect that I was refering to was Tri-Epic by Devin Knight. It is a routine with 3 volunteers who step forward. The first one chooses a newspaper, the second one a card, and the third a marker. The third draws the card on the newspaper and then the performer reveals the contents of the sealed envelope that someone else has been holding (usually the first volunteer) and it all matches. My patter (in a shortened version, I can recommend more in PM, but this should be enough to get your noodle going) is about how each person had free will in their decisions, but God knew what they were going to chose. On the inverse, out of all those choices that it looked like they had, they really only had the one choice available and that was the one that God wanted them to take...

It works as a great visual and mental way to look at predestination and free will. And I'm sure that patter can be adapted to a LOT of mentalism effects out there, that just happens to be the one that I had the idea with.

You can look at the Tri-Epic on Penguin, Murphy's, or your favorite online/brick and mortar I think...

JLJ

Oh, and please, feel free to use it. I would love to hear how it works out for you too...
James L. Johnson

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
- Voltaire

... a rigmarole with a few bits of paper and lots of spiel. That is Mentalism
- Corinda
JohnWells
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Quote:
On 2008-04-11 19:57, FriarShaun wrote:
OK John I'll bite

1. What is your point then

Have you read the initial post?

2. How is defending proselytizing a non-issue.

I'm not sure it is. Is that what you were doing? Ah.

and.
I think what youre asking at the end is, if the world has an agenda with magic and I have an agenda with magic, why do I feel compelled to copy the world? I may have missed your intent on the end, but if that is it, I am not copying the world I am using an art form to communicate what I want to communicate. I am a firm advocate that the church should not follow the world's lead, but that is not to say that I feel the church should consider anathama anything that the world has touched.

Illusion, magic, storytelling, music, art, dance, are all tools that can be used with great success in communicating the truths of the Bible and the central truth of the gospel.

I couldn't agree more. My experience suggests, as was the initial point of this thread I think, that there is a rampant mediocrity in those attempts. In Christian music, the most notable performers are taking their cue from the top 40, and what is sad is that very little of what I hear on Christian radio is on the same level of quality as the drivel on secular radio. Christian movies, art (Christian Art, not just art that is created by a Christian), literature, etc. all seems to follow the same theme of "lets take what's allready popular and take out the naughty bits, add a bit of moralizing, and get these heathens to Jesus."
JohnWells
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Note: there was a loose screw on the keyboard while the previous response was being typed which gives the illusion that my responses are a part of friarshaun's original post. The vitriol is mine, anything of substance is probably his. JW
FriarShaun
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I agree John that as Christians what we do should reflect Who's we are. We should always strive for quality, but we must also strive for integrity of the message as well. God is the only One who can truly create. We just recreate what we have experienced. When we truly tap into the inspiration of the Creator, we are in position for something truly original and wonderful. Christians should lead. But I would like to encourage every Christian who is interested in using their gifts, now matter how elementary, for God to do so. Sure it may mean a rough start and some embarrasing moments, but that is the fire from which quality and skill are born. The key is to never stop trying to improve.
Terry Owens
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Richard Osterlind addresses the fact that magicians feel guilty that they are deceiving people...and that's why some men have problems with Gospel magic. It is an art form, it's transporting someone into a make believe world where the impossible seems possible. You don't have to apologize for what you do, just like an actor that gets into character, he's not really that character, but when you watch the program, movie or whatever you feel like he's the real character even though you know he's not...no difference.

There's always going to be people who don't like what we do...both secular and on the religous side...but it has been a very effective tool for me reaching the lost...that's why the enemy will try to make you feel guilty.
Bill Hallahan
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I'll add to the previous comments about Andre Kole. I saw him a long time ago, and his show was great. He's a true professional.

To answer the question posed in the title to this topic, the answer is, "yes." The medium, nor the performer, are necessarily the message, so of course one can dislike the art, and still believe in the message.

As to the first post, I've had a substantially different experience with my limited exposure to Gospel magic. Most of it was pretty good, some of it great. I don't doubt there are mediocre performers doing any art form today. I find most of the music on the radio to be pretty mediocre too. Don't misunderstand, I like a lot of it anyway! I like hamburgers too, but I don't confuse them with filet-mignon!

And finally, I consider my favorite religious music to be some of the best music ever written. It's by J.S. Bach. Granted, he hasn't composed anything for a while, in fact, he's 'decomposing' now! Smile
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
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