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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Good News! » » Know when and where (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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I'm writing this to share something I witnessed recently regarding Gospel Magic. I think it's an important thing to think about.

I was at a mall recently. Maybe you've seen various kinds of shows in malls. They'll have a stage set up on the walk way and from time to time shows will be performed there.

I watched a few acts. A puppet show, a group taht did some comedy skits and they a magician came onto the stage. There was a pretty big crowd gathered around but after about 5 minutes of the magicians act about a third of them left leaving a very small audience.

I felt bad for the performer because he did some nice tricks and did them flawlessly. What turned many people away was the first thing he did was basically started preaching to the audience. Obviously many people wheren't interedted in this at that time.

Now, this could mean that he wasn't a very good performer. Okay, he wasn't the best I've ever seen but he did a pretty good job. I honestly think they turned away because it was the wrong time and the wrong place for his kind of act.

I myself don't do gospel magic. Although I have performed in many churches. I'm wondering how often this kind of thing happens to gospel magicians. Would you agree that there is a time and place not to do it? I believe there are.

Or perhaps maybe some of you have worked in subtle ways to tie them into more atmospheres?

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
BroDavid
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America’s North Coast, Ohio
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That is unfortunate.

It will happen to magicians and to street preachers or anyone else who is trying to talk to an audience of the world. But if what you do is simnply preach to them, (and that sounds like what you are saying he did) you are likely to lose a lot of otherwise available listeners.

I think that before I give them a hard message, I must first earn that right by giving them something of interest to them. I must be credible and they must relate to me. That doesn't mean that what I do is without reference to God, or Biblical truths, but it does mean that I try to make it understandable and interesting. But it isn't in your face "Hell and ***ation to sinners" from the beginning.

Having said all of that, I may still have some people leave. But did they leave becuase they werent interested, or because they are scurrying around for last minute gifts,(in this case) or some other time constraints, like being on the way to a movie, etc, or maybe they just don't like being fooled by a magician?

I make it clear up front that "I am going to talk about God a lot, and if that offends, please leave now so those in back who are intersted can come right up here. But if you want to see some fun magic, and don't mind if I talk about God, then stay right there! Because this is going to be good!" And I make the show fun, gets lots f people involved, and do some nice stuff!

So I guess my reaction is to ask; did they feel like he blindisided them and they didn't want to hear what he was preaching, or did they just have someplace better to go. I don't think you can sneak in the Gospel, and in fact, at one point in my life, I can tell I would leave in a hearbeat if somebody suddly started to "preach to me." And in perfroming, of late I find that the more direct I am in telling them what is coming, to give tehm a choice, and then in giving them clear truths illustrated though entertaining magic, the more money I make. And performing primarily as a street magician, that is the gauge of how my perfromance was revceived.

But at the end of the day, the reality is that not everyone is ready to hear the truth. And the Gospel is foolishness to them. So some will walk away. I hope the fellow you saw didn't chase them away by sneaking it in on them.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
Hamil
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Very nicely said BroDavid……..to jump out at people with preaching is wrong in almost all cases and not what I would consider the Gospel to be about. Being preached to is not Good News nor is being told you need something, when the need is not felt by the person.

Just as a good magician lures his audience into surprising fun and mysteries, I believe a Gospel Magician should start slowly, drawing his crowd in with interest of his craft. In so doing you can show them that they need God without telling them they do. It’s the old adage, “ People will never care how much you know until they know how much you care”

Show them how important they are to you to be entertained by your performance and then............and then show them how important they are to God.

As far as doing this in a mall goes, where God is, we go. But we go to be an ambassador and one must first learn the language of the people and then share with them a different culture. The language of the mall I believe is quite diversified. There’re there to shop, enjoy fellowship with friends or family and some just to be away from their problems in addition to all the life choices that have and continue to steer them away from God.

People will always enjoy a good magic show, much like a the circus that by design is for kids aged 8-80. When given the opportunity to see a good performance, they forget their troubles, relax and very often than not, will be sensitive to the Good News you could bring to them.

The worst is always the guy who walks around streets with the double sided billboard that says: “REPENT OR GO TO HELL” So to I believe, is a Gospel Magician who in an un-invited status, jumps out at people with this foreign language in his attempt to proselytize them with his magical mysteries.

So, in my hurried or relaxed state of mind, the last thing I would welcome at the mall (or anywhere for that matter) would be someone browbeating me in a language that I don’t even understand, to be interested in something I’ve never even heard of or maybe even been trying to avoid for years…………”People will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Magi:

I think this is one of the core reasons why I dislike Gospel Magic.

In reading the New Testament, I find examples of preaching, teaching, service, and respectful confrontation. James advised caring for the widowed and the disadvantaged. Jesus warned His listeners that the wide and easy path lead to Hell.
Paul told the Athenians that their worship was ignorant, and the Jews that theirs was unefficacious. I don't find bands, oratorial skills, storytelling, puppetry, or even (and I sadly admit this) Magic being recommended or used as a vehicle for spreading the Gospel. The mandate given the Church is to go and tell.

If others wish to blend a Gospel message into their performances, that is of course between themselves and God. But I wonder if the Magus in question would have gotten the same reaction had he been, say, a mechanic, plumber, waiter, or shop clerk. In those cases, the audiences would have expected car service, pipe repair, food delivery, or retail goods rather than a sermon.

BroDavid's comments about being upfront with the audience make sense to me, and I appreciate that approach to this blend of message and entertainment. I'd be more inclined to end the performance with a brief description of my beliefs or discuss them with the audience after the show.

All right, put the stake up and start stacking logs, I'll get the matches...

Leland
thesecretllama
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I think Hamil has as good a point as BroDavid. I think it begins with a solid theology of entertainment. I like to think of entertainment not in the shallow 20th century western sense of vegitative and passive, but rather as a gift. When one understands entertainment as a gift, that is to say something given without expectation of reciprocity (much like the love of God), then entertainment becomes something the audience participates in as well. What we do is a gift. When our understanding begins there, the natural next step is another gift. But BroDavid is right, we should let folks know ahead of time, "Just so you know, I'm going to talk a little about God, don't be offended, I am Christian before I am magician."
dave.m
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Just to add a little to this room,
I would say that at no timeshould we water down the Godd news if we can not be up frount in the begining of the show then we are in the wrong 'job' yes you will get people walking away or having a moan but if your show is Good and the the Gosple will also come over as Godd news, which it is.
I must say I thought that for along time we must preach love joy peace but I came across this site please take a look and see what you think http://www.livingwaters.com/
thesecretllama
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I don't think anyone is talking about watering down the gospel. I think we are talking about things that help keep the audience listening. Christ did it with parables, food, miracles. We do it with illusion. The difference isn't paint thinner, it's delivery.
dave.m
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Sorry I seemed to have gotten the wrong message,
BroDavid
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I certainly am not talking about watering down the Gospel friend. The Truth is the Truth! However since you really can’t deliver it all in one word, we must decide what words to put into our sentences. And since it takes more than one sentence, we must decide which sentences to put into the conversation.

Failing to smack someone over the head with Biblical verse, but rather showing them you are a genuine caring, interesting, and even an entertaining individual who likes to have fun, just like them, is what allows your words to have credibility.

I think we have need to be all those things; genuinely caring, interesting, and entertaining, if we want to use illusions to help proclaim the Gospel. I also think we need to be skilled, and well practiced to do it right. After all, we are about the King's work. And as his Ambassadors, we should not come across as bumbling fools trying to trick people into believing. I very much look at it as "friendship evangelism" as you really can't have them take you seriously in your message, if they no respect for you otherwise.

In today's society, it is hard to get people's attention long enough to get any message across. That is why advertisers on TV resort to showing sexy scenes, and lots of motion, and bright lights, and they often crank up the sound during the commercials. Everything is rush, rush, rush! So how do you get their attention; entertain them! Amaze them a bit. Tell them what is coming, but don't shove it down their throats at the start. Earn that credibility. You would be amazed at how "relevant" a nearly sixty year old, slightly overweight, mostly balding white guy, can be to a bunch to inner city teenagers, when I have just thrown some fire and done a few card tricks! After that, we often sit down and talk, and they are interested in whatever I have to say, because I invested a little entertainment in them. And since I told them at the start that I was going to talk about God, because God is important to me, and even if I hadn’t done magic, I would still be talking about God, so they may as well enjoy the magic, because either way I am going to talk about God. I think people (I know this true of younger people) respect honesty. And the know if you are honest up front, when they could leave, you are probably going to honest later too.

Earlier, it was rightly said/quoted by Hamil, Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. As Christians, this ought to be easy. It isn't about us just going out there and dumping a message on people. It is about Loving them, and having them know it. That is having a relationship with them. Can you do that in a magic performance? I think you can! I attempt to create a relationship with everyone in my audience with eye contact, smiles, involvement and just including them with a question; "Did you like that? Was that good?" .

I often look for someone who looks like they aren't fitting in. Either they are alone, or just kind of trailing a group of others, and I will make that person my "insider" for the show. I get them involved, and ask them to help me, and joke with them, and after a trick might wink and say, "Now don't tell them how we did that one, OK?" I give them a chance to be on the "winning team", the one getting attention for the moment. In other words, I show God's Love! And
If I wasn’t doing magic, I would be doing something else to show God's Love.

There have been lots of terrific comments made on this thread. And to dave.m, as I said friend, none of us is intending to water down the Gospel. Thanks for posting the link to http://www.Livingwaters.org. It is a terrific resource, and before the living waters site even existed, I was already applying Ray Comfort's (now integrated into living waters) "Hells Best Kept Secret" concept, in that if you don't know you are a sinner, you can't be sure you even need a savior! I regularly pass out the stamped pennies with the Ten Commandments on them I get from Living waters now, just to work through that question about the Ten Commandments when I hand them out. I have a little effect I do where I start with a normal penny on the fingertips of my palm up hand, then after the specter examines it and replaces it on my open hand, I squeeze it, and turn it into the stamped penny, and then I start talking about the Commandments, and how many do you know, and how many have you kept, etc. So I think we are on the same page friend. It is just hard to say everything in one message (although after this message, some might say I try...) But I think we are all saying the same thing. Speak the truth in love! And a clarifying illustration brought about by a magic trick won't hurt.

BroDavid
If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.
ChrisG
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Batavia, Ohio
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When performing I always present the Gospel in my program. Not every trick has to have a message attached and I am not preachy. However any group/person that hires me, it is with the understanding that I am a Gospel Magician. My routines involve Bible stories and other supporting Christian doctrine. I do teach more if the setting is Church.

I do Birthday Parties, Church and Company Pick nicks, Children's Vacation Bible School, Cub Scouts, etc. At the beginning of my program I explain that my program is a Christian themed program.


I believe that it is very important to let the person that books you as well as your audience know the type of program you are doing. Surprises are never good to spring on the person or company that hired you.
ChrisG
"Consensus is the negation of Leadership"

M. Thatcher
thesecretllama
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Dayton, Oh
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That's a good point. It is a matter of professionalism and courtesy to let the person who books you know what you will be doing. I only do a gospel presentation if I am booked for a gospel presentation. This past summer I did a VBS closing and they had done the gospel presentation the night before. When I asked the person who hired me if she wanted me to do a gospel presentation she explained that they had done one the night before and this was a sort of celebration.
edwin
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TX
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I definitely agree with BroDavid--you don't want to turn people off by preaching at them from the beginning. Ease into it and amalgamate the theme into the routine. Don't disembody one from the other. Make it smooth and organic.
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