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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » Gospel magic vs. Christian illusionist (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Daniel Faith
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My thought is:

I have found that many Christians are much more tolerant of my "gospel magic" when I call myself a "Christian illusionist"

What are your thoughts on this. I understand it's a play on words and WE all know it's the same thing...but, some Christians seem to be a lot more tolerant when the word "magic" is not used.

I use my magic within the church and even with my second grade Sunday school class and have so far had no objections to my "magic."

Any thoughts on this?
Daniel Faith
Dar_kwan
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I have noticed the same thing, I have even had heated debates with some people over it. I decided to take a stand and not hide behind "gospel illusion" and some of the other people at the seminar I was at would constantly "correct" me when I said I perfomed magic in children's church. I said, "Why not call the spade a spade, and maybe then others wouldn't have such a bad view about it?"

The only reason there is confusion is that the English language isn't adequate and we have to use the same word for what we do and what the witches and warlocks do. Smile
"YOU are the magic! The tricks only come along for the ride."
-- Al Goshman
John LeBlanc
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Years and years ago I wrote an article on this subject. I think I'm going to find time over the next couple of weeks to find it and maybe post it. Here are a few ideas I touched on.

Let's not forget something: the most popular translation of the Bible is the King James Revised Edition, which was given a date of 1611. But the work done on it came many years before that. (That much of the work was appropriated from the wonderful work of a real martyr, William Tyndale, is another subject.)

A book that has heavily influenced our little artform was also written around that same time, Discoverie of Witchcraft by Reginald Scott, 1584. As many of you probably know, Scott's purpose in writing the book was, in part, to counter the witch hunting craze of the Inquisition. He revealed some basic magical apparatus and workings in the course of his work.

Do you see how the thinking of the time could have influenced the English words chosen when translating Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into English? A good example is the use of the phrase "Holy Ghost" rather than "Holy Spirit." Belief in ghosts was prevalent at the time, and the connection between "spirit" and "ghost" was natural, if unfortunate.

There are so many beliefs people believe are based in the Bible, but are really not. But once a belief takes hold, it's very difficult to overcome it. Magic (our kind) is a perfect example, although things are a whole lot better than they were in the past.

One of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves or others is, "Why do you believe that?" Sometimes—oftentimes—the uncomfortable answer is, "I don't know."

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
Escamoteurettes, my blog.

"One thought fills immensity." -- William Blake
Jonathan Townsend
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Regarding "witches and warlocks" above, do you mean to refer to the practicioners of what is now called "Wicca?" These folks use symbols and objects in ways that look quite similar to some of what is seen involving magic wands, etc.

I was under the impression that the message takes precidence over the medium. In either case it seems counterproductive to malign others.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Margarette
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Magic vs. Illusion:

The term "magic" conjurs up ideas of the supernatural. If one does "magic", then it is possible that one "calls upon evil spirits for the power" (see another post for the explanation of this comment). If one uses the term "illusion," that conjurs up the idea that it's just "a trick". That one is indeed making the audience see something that they shouldn't be seeing, but it's not because of anything evil...it's just skill.

Just my thoughts.

Margarette
The only stupid question is the one not asked.
Bob Sanders
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For many, many years I have had the following on the backs of my cards:
___

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2
___

It seems to help me out of enemy territory.

Otherwise, I remind them that:
___

There are only two kinds of people in the world: the righteous and the unrighteous. We righteous decide who is who.
___

Then we are back on sane terms, or I’m leaving.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
Daniel Faith
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Exactly my point Margarette. I call myself a Christian illusionist now and everyone seems to be interested. When I called myself a gospel magician I got a lot of skepticism and raised eyebrows.
Daniel Faith
x-treem
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Randall, there is an EXCELLENT book out called Heros of the Faith in the beginning of the manuscript is a tretis called Defending our Art and it has a description of the Biblical terms for such entities as magician, warlock, magic and so forth. I believe Joe at Abaracadabra has it if you'd like to read it over.

I always find it best whether you use the term magic or illusion that you should set forth to explain that you have no "powers" you are not "possesed by demons" but just an average person who has a hobby much like stamp collecting is a hobby, yours is doing tricks which anyone with patience and money, can learn and do.

This was the best tip I ever got from both Toby Travis and Duane Laflin.

Shawn
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Dar_kwan
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Yep that's what I do. I'm blessed in that my pastor supports me.
"YOU are the magic! The tricks only come along for the ride."
-- Al Goshman
DougTait
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Bob; I loved the scripture verse and the "quotation". Unfortunately it is too often practiced.

Here is a link to an essay by Bob Hill titled Should a Christian do Magic or Conjuring?
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."
BroDavid
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I think that it is important to use discernment when labeling yourself. Labeling yourself as a magician, while being strictly accurate, leaves ambiguity in defining what you do and who you are. We can get all technical and say that the spelling of magic and majik are different and, therefore, it should be clear. But that is simply not the case, because it is not clear.

Why create a potential problem? Among friends, call yourself whatever you want; magician; conjurer, etc. But among strangers use a descriptive title that they will understand with no room for misunderstanding.

If we all agree (and a least a few seem to), including Randall, who started this topic, that some people react badly to "magician" and they get better response calling themselves "illusionists", then what is wrong with calling ourselves illusionists? Illusionist seems to me to carry a bit more stature anyway. (In my opinion.)

Does David Copperfield call himself a magician? I don't think so. I think his PR usually says illusionist. And I think that is a good enough reason to posture yourself an illusionist, even if people aren't confused about what a magician does. And if they might be confused, then all the more reason not to claim a title of "magician."

To magicians, I am a magician. But I don't perform for magicians. To audiences for whom I do perform, before and after they get to know me, I am an illusionist.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Daniel Faith
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Excellent point BroDavid.

X-treem, thanks for the tip. I appreciate it.

See you at the next magic club meeting?
Daniel Faith
Andrew
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Well, I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in this confusion.

Until recently, I promoted myself as "Andrew...Family Magic" but the resistance I have encountered simply by using the term "magic" has cautioned me to use "illusions" instead. While the term "magic" is more entertaining for children, some have found this offensive. With that in mind, "illusions" more accurately describes what I do.

Andrew
Andrew
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www.andrewsfamilymagic.com
Neale Bacon
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I have discussed this with other Christian magicians and I agree with calling it what it is. My simple feeling is if a person can't tell the difference between pulling a rabbit out of a hat and conjuring up a demon, they have a much bigger problem.
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x-treem
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Hey Guardian,

I will not make it until April so keep Joe in line for me. Smile

I agree with Bro David 100% in his last post as well.
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Steve Varro
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Among magical performers we all know the difference between the words "magician" and "illusioinist." When one from the arts thinks of the word illusion they think "Big Box" tricks, like cutting a women in half or even larger like vanishing a plane, etc. As a result, when one calls himself an illusionist members of the magic world expect big "illusions". It is only among magicians that the word illusion seems to be out of place when used by a performer who is not doing box illusions. However, the word illusion is also used to refer to "optical" illusions such as I've seen drawn on small card-size papers. The reality is that the word illusion most clearly expresses what it is we are all doing. Creating illusions...some small, some large, but all illusions never the less.

For 20 years I have called myself a Christian illusionist and have never felt I was "hiding behind" the term. There are many Christians who do have a problem with the word magic or magician, and even though they may be misguided, if my title "gospel magician" closes them to the message I am sharing, then I have missed the mark and the opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them. Better to dispell the thought that what I am doing is "real magic" thus opening their hearts and minds to the message of Jesus' love as illustrated through my program.

For those interested, there is an article on my web site called Why some Christians Hate Magicians. You can find it at http://www.gospelmagic.com/stevevarro then clicking on the "In The News" wand.

In HIS service,
Steve Varro
Christian Illusionist
STILL In HIS service

Steve Varro

International President of FCM

Owner/Dock Haley Gospel Magic Co.
John LeBlanc
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Steve, I understand your point, although I choose to use the words "magician" and "mentalist" in my gospel shows. Here are my reasons.

While I'm not interested in offending anyone, I do feel an obligation to teach and educate those whom I run into who do have a problem with the word "magic." It seems to me that there should be no incongruence—or at least, a presumption of no negative connotation—when I put the word "Christian" ahead of the word "magician."

Actually, I've found it a conversation starter more often than not. I follow the question, "How is it you can be a Christian and a magician at the same time?" with, "Well, what do the words 'Christian' and 'magician' mean to you?"

To me and in my experience, it's really not much different than someone asking why it is I believe what I believe.

Many of us know to keep up with contemporary magician happenings. Audience members are going to ask us about David Copperfield and David Blain. It doesn't look too swift if we can't speak about either of those two.

Same goes for gospel magic performers. Be conversant with what the Bible really says about what we do in comparison with the stuff the translators called "magic" in the Bible. Most people don't have any idea. (Come to think of it, a lot of performers don't have any idea.)

Which leads me to:

Quote:
For those interested, there is an article on my web site called Why some Christians Hate Magicians. You can find it at http://www.gospelmagic.com/stevevarro then clicking on the "In The News" wand.

I tried to get there but got a server error. I would like to read it, though.

John LeBlanc
Houston, TX
Escamoteurettes, my blog.

"One thought fills immensity." -- William Blake
Spiro Taylor
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My first posting...

As my public ministry in gospel magic increases I am also tossing up how I should "label myself" before others. And yet as one posting indicated, it is a great discussion starter. I even remember one time on a parallel note how someone was perplexed that I was a Christian but who goes to rock concerts(!). Smile

Spiro
Melbourne, Australia
sdgiu
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This is a great thread, with lots of good debate, pros and cons. This whole thing had me tied in knots for several years. My common sense tells me "What difference does it really make?" My dad, a semi-retired minister/gospel magician, got me started and I am proud to be a "gospel magician" and want everybody to know it.

However, when I was younger, I dabbled in things I shouldn't have and was on the verge of getting into the occult. So I also understand the repulsion of the people who don’t want anything to do with the occult or even sounds like it does.

See my dilemma.

I have come to terms with the whole matter through these verses.

In I Corinthians 9:
Verse 1-14, Paul talks about his rights in the ministry.
Verse 15-27, He talks about limiting his rights in the ministry.

I Cor 9:15
Paul says that he doesn't claim any of his rights because, it would be better for him to die than for someone to make his glorying/ministry void.

The srv — Smile Steve's revised version Smile — translates that as:
I have a lot of rights as a minister, (see 9:1-14) but if they cause someone to have problems "I WILL NOT" claim those rights. (*See I Corinthians 8 below.)

I Cor 9:19a
For though I am free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all or nobody can make me do anything, but because I love God, I make myself willingly a servant to man. (Serving through my ministry.)

I Cor 9:20-22
Paul says he talks to people in a way, and about things that they can understand, and can relate to.

I Cor 9:22 (last half of the verse)
I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Again in different terms Paul says he talks to people in a way, and about things that they can understand, and can relate to, and the reason is "that I might by all means save some" which is the whole reason for what we do.

*One last verse, in I Corinthians 8
Paul talks about the liberties of being a Christian, and being careful not to offend "The Weaker Brother" going so far as to say, that if his eating meat were to offend his Brother (other Christians) that he wouldn't eat meat. (In his words, till the world ends.)

This pretty much did it for me. If I am around people who get offended by my calling what I do gospel magic, I am a gospel illusionist, or whatever else makes them happy. Keeping in mind that my main goal is: "that I might by all means save some”. Well, this made things clearer for me.

I know that much of what I stated here has already been said, I just thought I'd tie several thoughts together in a little different way.

So whether you are a gospel magician or illusionist, go! Preach! Win!

Godspeed
Steve Smile
BroDavid
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Well said Steve!

I am particularly fond of I Cor 9:22 and that is my life model, which not coincidentally, also defines how I present myself when performing.

Good thoughts from everyone here! Great discussion!

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
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