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BenjaminMan
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Interesting. I have not really looked over the forums here in months, yet I come back just a
week or so after this conversation started back up.
My point is that even suspension of disbelief should not be with supernatural,
it could be with something mysterious, stunt-like,or science fiction.

I mean, we might watch a movie about aliens with powers that aren't real, but that isn't really "supernatural" in the spiritual sense.
But I wouldn't watch a fictional movie glorifying demonic activities, even if I know that the movie is fictional.
As I've said, it is about the "appearance of evil."
This is getting down to the issue of coveting, of flirting with the idea of sinning.

It is one thing to suspend disbelief to the idea that there is a very complex explanation,something unknown to many others, when in fact the explanation is simple,
and another to "pretend" to be working with demons, to put it rather bluntly. Do you ever enjoy pretending to be an atheist in order to show how interesting and exciting it would be to be an atheist? I hope not. I honestly think you should use a scientific suspension of disbelief, (and YES I know it is "only" SUSPENSION of disbelief, still,) a science-fiction/mysterious suspension of disbelief, or just leave the stuff altogether.

You know what Paul wrote, about being uncertain and not eating fruit if you think it might be bad.

Pray. Pray clearly. You are a servant of God. Be specific, if you should. Pray that He gives you exactly what you need. Ask Him to give you an unmistakably clear answer if He will, even if it is not the answer you want. Perhaps you are pushing against something He is telling you. Pray that He helps you to listen to Him.
Mike Ince
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I responded briefly through my phone earlier and lost the whole message. Basically, I spoke to a trusted friend who encouraged me to give a clear disclaimer and that should be enough. Sure, magicians have given me the same counsel but it's easier to accept from a non-magician. Magicians, no matter how well-meaning, are more likely to have opinions about performance that are tainted by their own desires. I know there are good ministers who perform magic, including great saints who have now passed on, but it's important to remember that they are my brothers. We have the same Father who bought us and we will each give an account to Him. I pray through no mediator, dead or alive, except the one mediator between God and Man (I've always preferred to dial direct). Likewise, no one's word holds weight like His do; yet it's imperative to listen to other believers, both within and without the magic community.

My character uses trickery, suggestion, a little body language reading, psychological mind games and of course sometimes I lie (but I tell them that up front so it's honest deception like any actor applies). Never, ever are psychic powers claimed, though some have misunderstood. As an afterthought, my older friend and mentor also reminded me that when the Lord performed miracles and cast out demons, some Pharisees claimed he accomplished his miracles by demons. Despite their misunderstanding, Christ continued to do his works. There may be something to that thought regarding our responsibility for the misunderstandings of others.

I might be even more careful about what I say - guys who tell me "don't use a disclaimer" mean well, but we'll all stand before God by ourselves and I'll choose what my conscience agrees with. At the moment, I feel okay about performing. I don't feel good about the sheer amount of time I've been devoting to what amounts to a self-supporting hobby but that's a discussion for another thread.

Mike
The secret of deception is in making the truth seem ridiculous.
Mike Maturen
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Sounds like maybe you have finally worked it out, Mike. Praise be to God!

St. Don Bosco, pray for him that Jesus would continue to guide and bless his entertainment ministry!
Mike Maturen
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Terry Holley
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Quote:
On 2012-12-18 21:48, Mike Ince wrote:
I responded briefly through my phone earlier and lost the whole message. Basically, I spoke to a trusted friend who encouraged me to give a clear disclaimer and that should be enough. Sure, magicians have given me the same counsel but it's easier to accept from a non-magician.
Mike


Here's my post on this thread dated June 1!

"Although many mentalists do not feel disclaimers are needed or appropriate, I have used one for over 40 years. I simply feel more comfortable giving one and have not felt as if it detracts from the entertainment value of my show. I am looking to entertain, not convince. It is shared prior to my show and basically goes like this:

Although I claim no supernatural powers or help from any supernatural agencies, and although I want to make it clear from the beginning that everything I perform on stage is done by purely natural means, once I begin my performance I will assume the role of a psychic and attempt to convince you that I do in fact have an unusual power.

Works for me!"

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
Alan Wheeler
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Mike, I am impressed and blessed by your crossroads experience (Jeremiah 16:6) and by your thoughtful, prayerful search for wisdom and guidance from God.
The views and comments expressed on this post may be mere speculation and are not necessarily the opinions, values, or beliefs of Alan Wheeler.
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DelMagic
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The example of Christ's works being misunderstood is a certainly apropos. The lives of the disciples in the book of Acts also report misunderstandings:
9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
10 said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked.
11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"
12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand.
4 So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live."
5 But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
6 However, they were expecting that he would swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had looked for a long time and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.

One thing I might suggest having nearby would be a magic dealer's catalog or book that teaches magic. Then you could explain how anyone with $19.95 + shipping and handling can learn to apparently read minds, predict the future, etc. Offering to the worried spectator a "giveaway" type effect of the kind found in cereal boxes or Cracker Jack may help them see the "trickery" behind the presentation.

And, I think we would all be driving nicer cars and living more stress-free if we could actually read minds, predict the future, bend people to our wills, etc.
Stephon Johnson
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I have read most responses. I have reasoned through most all of the thoughts presented at various times. However, I have never been able to get past the thought that first convicted me:
Why do we enjoy constructing and performing counterfeit miracles as entertainment? I started as a teen because it made me feel more powerful, I knew things the average person didn't know, and people were Amazed and impressed by what I could do...perhaps the only time that had ever happened. So doing magic has been more about how it makes ME feel about myself and the desire to be known and appreciated.
I have tried to justified of doing it for God's glory, and to witness to others. But all efforts have amounted tome "helping" God's magnificent word do its job, which isn't needed. And not just that, but I claim to be a follower of an ALL powerful God, and yet I represent Him with literally "Entertainment designed to mimic supernatural alteration of physical laws".
When I try to justify this as acting or playing a part, I think: "I serve a mighty God, who's Word when spoken does not return void! WHY would I want to waste time trying to construct'pretend miracles' when there are real miracles to be a part of in simply witnessing faithfully and being used to bring His elect into the Kingdom...literally seeing the dead brought to life?"
It reduces all my"tricks" to what they really are...tricks. that perspective makes them go back in the box in the closet, as I continue to wrestle with this in my own conscience.
May God bless all your own struggles and resolution with this. I do not claim to have the answer, and present my personal thoughts merely as input. Thanks for all your thoughts too! I am praying for you all and this thread.
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2013-02-19 13:09, Stephon Johnson wrote:
I have read most responses. I have reasoned through most all of the thoughts presented at various times. However, I have never been able to get past the thought that first convicted me:
Why do we enjoy constructing and performing counterfeit miracles as entertainment? I started as a teen because it made me feel more powerful, I knew things the average person didn't know, and people were Amazed and impressed by what I could do...perhaps the only time that had ever happened. So doing magic has been more about how it makes ME feel about myself and the desire to be known and appreciated.
I have tried to justified of doing it for God's glory, and to witness to others. But all efforts have amounted tome "helping" God's magnificent word do its job, which isn't needed. And not just that, but I claim to be a follower of an ALL powerful God, and yet I represent Him with literally "Entertainment designed to mimic supernatural alteration of physical laws".
When I try to justify this as acting or playing a part, I think: "I serve a mighty God, who's Word when spoken does not return void! WHY would I want to waste time trying to construct'pretend miracles' when there are real miracles to be a part of in simply witnessing faithfully and being used to bring His elect into the Kingdom...literally seeing the dead brought to life?"
It reduces all my"tricks" to what they really are...tricks. that perspective makes them go back in the box in the closet, as I continue to wrestle with this in my own conscience.
May God bless all your own struggles and resolution with this. I do not claim to have the answer, and present my personal thoughts merely as input. Thanks for all your thoughts too! I am praying for you all and this thread.


Remember that God gave you the gifts that allow you to ne a magician. Yes of course what we do is not real magic and true miracles are all around us. As long as you look at your gift to do magic as a gift from God, you are fine. And Christianity teaches us to use those gifts; by using them we thank Him for them. Rather than feeling empowerment by magic, feel humility and thanks for the gift of being able to allow people to forget their troubles for a short time. In that sense you are giving a gift as well. Thank God for your talents and make some people smile and laugh and gasp inamazement. Let that joy into your heart and mind. Smile

+In Christ,
Vlad
Mike Maturen
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Stephon:

We could also apply your logic to preachers. God's all-powerful Word doesn't need our help, so why preach?

The answer is easy: God made us to be His hands and His feet here on earth to do His work amongst our fellow man.

Therefore, whether it is preaching, teaching or entertaining, WE are doing the work that God has set before us, gifted us and asked us to do.

As long as we don't present OURSELVES as God (I fear there are more preachers that do that than magicians), we are fine.

Mike
Mike Maturen
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Stephon Johnson
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Mike,
Other than scripture instructs to preach, and states that God has chosen the "foolishness of preaching" as the primary means of spreading the Good News. Being gifted with certain abilities that magicians need (public speaking, personality, poise, dexterity, etc..) doesn't necessarily justify using them for magic. You could just as easily do open air preaching, or approach people with tracts, or one-on-one witnessing. Being good at something doesn't automatically qualify it as a God glorifying gift.
You can be awesome at something, and it be a totally perverse abomination to God. Even if you are convinced you are serving Him. History is replete with efforts in God's name which had little or nothing to do with Him at all. You can be sincere, and still be sincerely wrong. Thanks for your input and also Glad!
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Stephon Johnson
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Sorry, that last line should have said "thanks for the input and also to Vlad"...not "Glad"...autocorrect strikes again.
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Mike Maturen
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Quote:
On 2013-02-20 15:01, Stephon Johnson wrote:
Sorry, that last line should have said "thanks for the input and also to Vlad"...not "Glad"...autocorrect strikes again.


We agree in that things that are an abomination unto God should NOT be used to promote God. But the art of magic is NOT an abomination unto God...unless you portray yourself as a "real" magician, or somehow receiving powers from spirits, etc.

It's really no different than a Christian comedian, singer, artist, etc.
Mike Maturen
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Stephon Johnson
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Thanks Mike,
I will keep wrestling through and praying on this. I also plan to take counsel from my Pastor and Elders (who are also my close friends and brothers in Christ) and since they know nothing of my past interest; I will illustrate with an example trick or two.
WHAT IF you wake up tomorrow with ONLY the things that you THANK GOD for today?
Mike Maturen
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Always good to have pastoral counsel. May the Holy Spirit guide you, my friend.
Mike Maturen
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AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

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J-L Sparrow
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Mike, I applaud you for using a disclaimer in your shows, and I encourage you to keep using it.

Lots of people have already voiced their opinions on the matter, and I must say that they're all very good. However, let me add my own views, as well:

The way I see it, there are three types of people who watch your shows:

1. Those who are convinced that your powers of mentalism are real.
2. Those who are convinced that your supposed powers are just a trick.
3. Those who don't know what to believe.

Take the spectators who fall in the third type. They're not quite sure what to believe. I'm sure this has happened to you, but I've met some spectators who are so astonished at a trick I do that they ask me if I'm doing real magic. (Which in turn surprises me because I know what I'm doing is just a trick.) I get the impression that these spectators would truly believe me if I told them a convincing, yet fabricated, tale.

But the important part is that they're willing to believe whatever I say on the matter. I could choose to lie and have some fun with them, but I feel I'm morally obligated to give a short explanation that's it's just a trick; they don't know what, when, or where I pull off my trick, and because they're not aware of it I'm able to demonstrate something that looks like pure magic. But in the end, it's just a trick.

In other words, they're willing to believe you. Take this time to educate them.

As for the second type, these are the people who suspect you are using trickery, but you're so good at what you do that doubt begins to creep in. This will cause them a bit of distress -- UNTIL you tell them your disclaimer. Then they'll say to themselves, "I KNEW it!" and then be able to relax a bit, and enjoy themselves more during your performance. They still won't know how you do your tricks, but they'll be more entertained, secure in the knowledge that their world-view is still intact.

With this type of spectator, you'll no longer be their opponent; instead, you'll be an intelligent, masterful performer who shares their belief.

As for the first type, you may never reach them, but if you keep being honest that what you're doing are just tricks, you may eventually get to them.

So, in conclusion, I say to keep doing your disclaimer. It will immediately benefit those of the second and third types, and hopefully eventually benefit those of the first type.

You never know, it could be that your disclaimer is what prevents one of your spectators from being swindled by a con-man in the future!
Vlad_77
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Great post J-L! The thing about mentalism as opposed to magic is that its impact can be profound and I can understand Mike Ince's turmoil which I hope he has resolved. The disclaimer really is a good thing. In my estimation, part of what makes mentalism seem so much more "real" is that is doesn't look like what people expect it to be, i.e, "magic." Yet, and sorry mentalists for the following but it IS true: magicians AND mentalists both use natural, covert methods to achieve effects. But, while it is rare that people encounter professional caliber magic, it is even more rare to encounter professional caliber mentalism. Also, magic and mentalism are firmly based in psychology - if one were to argue what is THE secret of magic or mentalism it is simply psychology. BUT, mentalism gets a lot more personal and as such its effect can adversely affect some people.

Mentalists like Mike Ince - and really the vast majority of mentalists - treat their art AS art. Unfortunately, people like Uri Geller, John Edwards, Derek Ogilvie, and similar people are TRULY what Holy Scripture would label sorcerers; Geller has claimed repeatedly that what he does is real, and Edwards and Ogilvie prey upon the vulnerabilities of people. I do not believe that any person of good morals would do such a thing. As a Christian, I have a healthy dose of respect for our resident atheist Master Payne. True, he may believe as he says in "one less God than I do" but, I do not perceive Payne as a Geller type. In fact, I just watched a presentation that he gave that would be very helpful to anyone wrestling with the sorcery versus magic/mentalism question. Perhaps if he reads this - and I know he posts here from time to time - he might be kind enough to share this splendid, informative, and really funny presentation. It really is germane to this topic.

+In Christ,
Vlad
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