Had an interesting situation happen to me on Sunday, not sure what to think......

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CardMagicNJ, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. Hey forum what's up everybody ??

    By all means I'm not turning this into a religious or spiritual debate. Recently this past Sunday I am a Christian and go to a non-denominational Bible Church and actually teach a youth group. So let me say it was not during youth group, but after the church service was over I was out in the parking lot just practicing some flourishes just with my cards by my car. Couple kids stopped over and I showed them a couple cool tricks and they loved it. Anyway I guess some extremists parents I could say told the pastor that I performed magic in the parking lot. And I was told if I ever do this again I will no longer be allowed to go to that church because it was considered " against God ". So I don't know what to think about that I'm kind of taking it hard on myself because my spirituality is very important to me and I'm not doing this to blaspheme God or anything and he knows that. My question is has anything like this ever happened to anybody else out there and if it did please tell me how you handled it or give me some advice and how to handle it. I just don't know what to do should I talk to the pastor and tell him say listen man it was just sleight-of-hand and there was nothing quote unquote demonic about it. I'm just so sick and tired of people who and their minds have no explanation or Reason to explain something they automatically blame it on something evil. I don't know it just never happened to me before I'm just venting thanks for listening to me. - Ryan
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  2. Religion is such a fussy subject that I typically try to avoid confrontation in discussing it. With that being said, for your particular issue I think Justin Flom had a very decent response to the subject:
  4. I'd talk to your pastor directly and explain that it's all just for entertainment. You don't use real black magic or claim to and did not intend to offend anyone or blaspheme God. Something along those lines.
  5. This is a bit of a touchy subject.

    Let’s throw out a disclaimer for good measure:

    For anyone reading this, take it with a grain of salt. I’m not the most religious person here, I just research what I can. If I am wrong in any sense, let me know and we can hammer it out on the thread or through PM. I’m sure this is a topic that the mods are eyeing over and the topic could go downhill fast. I’m going to try and tread lightly.

    Mods: do your thing if I’m (unintentionally) out of line.

    I agree with Antonio that you should approach the pastor about this to get some closure and a resolution. As I can see you’re passionate about what you’re doing and it sounds like what happened could/can pose a great divide. I can understand.

    I can see this this conversation going a few different ways. But just keep it in your mind that this will not be a ‘battle of wits’. The best you can do is articulate your case the best you can.

    From what I have read. I believe he’s going to utilize Leviticus 19:26 (‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.’). He might not, but from what I have read so far, that seems to be a common denominator for the argument against magic in Christianity.

    From what interpretations I have seen. It seems that the transgression happens when you try to:

    - contact evil spirits (which I guess would be demons and Canadian Geese)

    - use it to take advantage or gain influence of others

    The second one is all about your motivation is WHY you’re doing what you’re doing; in this case, card tricks.

    He may also use Acts 8:9-24 as an example of what you’re doing.

    I think his concern is that you’re only at the church to gain a following and ‘take his flock’. I don’t know for sure.

    Maybe explain that you’re not trying to lead anyone astray from the church.

    But keep in mind that there are Christian/gospel magicians out there.

    I hope I provided some sort of answer.

    For anyone more well versed in this. If I am wrong at all, let me know. I’m still learning.
    Antonio Diavolo and Gabriel Z. like this.
  6. While I am not religious myself, I have had conversations with several religious people concerning my performances. I generally handle it with tact and discretion but some people's beliefs are just not compatible with the concept of conjuring/magic. You said it's non-denominational and that may be something you can use to your advantage, but in the end you are probably going to have to talk to the pastor and explain what it's all about.

    So, here's two resources for you. The first, a thread on the Magic Cafe, which you can read even if you're not a member: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=164580&forum=198 (Should a Christian Do Magic or Conjuring?)

    Second, the Fellowship of Christian Magicians: http://www.fcm.org/

    Also, just be aware, if someone saw you doing card tricks and immediately felt the need to alert the pastor, you're not likely to get them on your side, ever. It's extremely rare that logic changes a belief, so any logical point you use in your favor will be ignored by this person. This means that even if you convince the pastor it's totally innocent, they may not want you performing tricks on the property to avoid having this other person get offended. That's just something to be aware of.
  7. Lmao....
  8. I keep things simple....time to change churches!
    C J, Gabriel Z. and Antonio Diavolo like this.
  9. I second checking out the Fellowship of Christian Magicians: http://www.fcm.org

    Magic can be used to teach and illustrate religious concepts.

    One of the effects I do involves using worry stones to talk about prayer. The routine finishes with a quote by the Dutch theologian Soren Kierkegaard who says that "the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."

    I also do a routine based on the Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8) where a 1943 steel penny is placed in a bag with 30 copper pennies and, at the end of the routine, the spectator is able to reach in the bag and pull out a single coin... which is the steel penny.

    My egg bag routine is the story of a young girl in Nazi occupied France who learns not to judge a person by first impressions.

    I do a version of Juan Tamariz's "Paradise Recovered" that talks about letting go of the things that hold us back from living the life we should.

    Those examples demonstrate that magic is not inherently "good" or "bad" but that it is tool that should be judged by its use.

    My suggestion is to explain that magic is a theatrical performance, much like a movie with special effects. Everyone knows that the illusion is not real. Like the actor that plays Thor in the movies, everyone knows that you don't have any powers.

    As an aside, I once performed a routine based on letters that I received from St. Peter and the devil. I actually had a priest hold the letter that supposedly was from the devil.
  10. Actually yes I have a similar situation right now. I sometimes go to church when I get the time because I am very busy. But when I do I am afraid to play with my cards but I came up with a plan. I go to a non-denomination church as well so if I ever get caught I say will I don’t tell people magic is real I just say I perform slight of hand magic and that magic is not real. And so far it works for me.
    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  11. These are awesome!

    Whatever you do, don't perform Eugene Burger's Card Warp presentation "Highlights Through Christianity. With a Deck of Cards." You may get excommunicated :p
  12. Actually, the worry stone routine is derived from Eugene's Prayer Stones routine.
  13. I can see why many church goers would not like anyone playing with 'cards' around kids. But I do not think it would be about magic and religion, but more about cards being used for gambling. Seems like if you are doing a cups and balls, or cut and restored rope, few would take issue with those types of tricks....but then there always seems to be one in the crowd....
  14. Hey Ryan, I’m sorry that happened.

    I am a youth pastor in my (Baptist) church, as well as a part time professional magician. So I have waded through similar conversations. Perhaps we can chat more in a PM if you want about some of the details. Between that Justin Flom video and the responses here, it provides a good start. My advice would be two fold: equip and teach, and protect relationships.

    First, it’s important you do your homework. Read the scriptures. Look up the Hebrew and Greek words and uses. Read them all. Ask yourself context questions like ‘who are they referring to?’ ‘what were they doing?’ ‘why were they doing it?’ ‘how does that affect how people relate to God?’ ‘why would God detest witchcraft?’ Why would magi come to see Jesus and why would God use Joseph to interpret dreams, but the other dream interpreters failed? In simple terms, a lot of it has to do with how we trust God or not. Simon in Acts, did not trust at all and his heart was revealed. The Bible is very clear on how bad it is to mislead someone about who God is.

    Then consider the context of people. It wasn’t that long ago that playing cards in church was not ever allowed. Cards were tools for gambling (and Gambling is not trusting in God for provision), so therefore not allowed. People are often confused about Old Testament Law and what if any things they should be following (which is a fascinating discussion we should have over PM). The point is MOST people have not studied in-depth themselves. You can’t judge them for that or even be upset, but rather coming alongside, teaching and helping educate through discussion and conversation.

    Don’t be too upset. It out of a place of not knowing, and a desire to be faithful to the text. So they are sincere, despite being incorrect. Conversation and dialogue goes a long way. If they don’t want to talk or learn, then that’s another conversation. It’s also good to share how the whole thing has made you feel. People often just react instead of really considering and seeking accountability. Sticking through some of these hard conversations can really build a group up and strengthen them for the future, and that’s really cool.

    Then like others have said, I would echo – showing them how magic can be used to highlight the message is really neat. You can also point out that magicians realize that Jesus could not have been a magician, like many would try to claim. Knowing the mechanics and trying to compare them to the miracles that Jesus did, there’s no way those could be replicated by a magician back then. A couple of interesting names who have looked into that are Andrea Kole and Brock Gill. Many magicians are skeptics because they realize that there are often explanations behind the perceived reality. I have used magic in church to illustrate the point that just because we can’t see or think of a reason, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one, and that God is at work beyond what we can see etc. Even Houdini called out fake spiritualists and mediums. My point is that when they see that it can actually be helpful to someone’s faith, it helps bring them to terms with it.

    All that said, I don’t do much magic in the church, and I don’t usually talk about it or promote my business in the church. I will do tricks for youth, and occasionally uses it to highlight a lesson, but in 13 years in youth ministry here at the same church, I’ve only done two tricks in front of the church as illustrations (torn and restored napkin, and Healed and sealed). This is because I don’t want to make an issue about it. I would rather people find out and talk to me about it, rather than see it, and react. That works for me, but every context is different. But for me, relationships are far more important than doing magic tricks, and so care should always be taken imo.

    And man, I love this stuff, so if you ever want to chat about the details, send me a pm (rather than getting into it in the forums).
  15. #15 notsoltd, Mar 8, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2018
    There are already plenty of resources listed so I'm going to avoid that. I just want to address this- you shouldn't let this weigh so heavily on your shoulders as you aren't doing anything wrong and you know that.


    I have had jobs that would encourage performing for customers suddenly tell me to never bring cards to work again because ONE customer ONE day decided it was devil work and complained. Not even close to kidding.

    All I'm trying to say is don't beat yourself up about it. We live in a society where EVERYTHING offends SOMEONE in some way and that's just facts. If the church is adamant about stifling a hobby you love, I'd move churches. I'm 100% sure you can find one that will welcome you with open arms and probably even let you perform.
  16. See? Case in point, my post offended someone lol.

    Let me be perfectly clear: I am not, have not, and will not judge ANY person based on their religious beliefs ever. For that matter- skin color, sexual orientation, race, religion, NONE OF THESE ARE VALID REASONS TO JUDGE ANY PERSON EVER.

    My anecdote was one of experience growing up in the south surrounded by Christians. Regardless of whether I offended someone or not, that does not change the experiences I've had.

    And if I did offend you- it was never my intention and I apologize.
  17. Justin that would be great I really would appreciate that thank you. It's not like I was performing for 5 or 10 minutes I was in the parking lot with the kids after the playground and they were just waiting for their parents to get out of church and I was a k you want to see something cool check this out and they're like oh wow that's really cool. And I didn't get spoken to on the spot I guess one of the children were really impressed and told their parents hey and my teacher did a magic trick for me and may this card go in the middle and come back to the top. I would say the most important lesson in Magic I've ever learned is everything you see is not what it seems to be. And a lot of extremist out there if they can't think of a reason to describe something they automatically related to something evil. But anyway yes I will message you I appreciate that thank you again.
  18. Honestly, it strikes me as pretty heavy-handed for a pastor to threaten to ban someone from a church, especially someone who gives of themselves to teach kids, just because some irrational extremists say doing some card tricks is "against God." That's just crazy. Perhaps the pastor is worried more about pleasing these extremists in order to keep them (and their contributions) in the church than he is about standing up and doing what is truly right and just. Would Jesus have reacted the way the pastor or those extremist parishioners did? I highly doubt it. He threw the most holier-than-thou, self-righteous preachers of "the law" out of the Temple (his Father's house), because they were hypocrites who talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk. As far as I'm concerned, the attitude and actions of the judgmental people who condemned and threatened you for having fun with the kids are the ones against God. Probably the same types who tried to stone the adulteress until Jesus stepped in and said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." I would find another church - where love, not narrow minded extremism, is the guiding principle.
    Brett Hurley and Justin.Morris like this.
  19. Al e Cat Dabra,
    Thank you, I appreciate that. Like I said the class was over. I was just keeping watch over them right by the front doors waiting for their parents. We weren't doing anything, so I was like hey would you like to see something cool. I did the ACR, and I guess one kid raved to his parents how much he liked it and not long after I had gotten a phone call. I said I wasn't teaching them anything, just trying to entertain the kids for literally 5 minutes. One thing magic has taught me greatly is everything is not always as it seems. It's an art mixed with various talents. Just funny how some extremists call something evil just because they can't comprehend how something is done. This is why I'm fading away from that scene again. Anyway, I really appreciate your feedback Al e Cat Dabra ( cool name by the way ) have a great weekend - Ryan
  20. Hey Ryan hope you're doing well, to be quick and to the point Im also a Christian that attends a church a Hispanic church to be exact, which by the way to let you know are pretty heavy handed on these type of subjects so yeah I know what you're going through... My advice to you would be if you're feeling this bad an overwhelmed by the situation speak to you're pastor let him know how your feeling and try not excuse what happened (I don't mean this in a bad way, that it's you're fault or anything like that) some people just don't get it and won't budge on what they believe or their position on some views...

    Just let him know how you're feeling and simple just don't perform at church or for people you know are sensitive about the subject, I think people (especially extremest) tend to associate cards with the occult, tarot, divination etc. and here in my opinion lies the problem... I my case and experience people know I do, like and enjoy magic I just keep the two things separate (church and magic) now if somebody is interested and asks me to perform something no problem just not in church... If you have any questions on my experience on the subject just let me know.

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