I’m Still Here (Barely)

Frayed Rope

It’s been quite a hectic year. First a bit of background. As you may know, for the past several years in addition to working as an entertainer I’ve been moonlighting at an apologetics ministry. I had been in full-time ministry through magic for many years. Back when the economy slowed down, I didn’t respond appropriately or quickly enough and ended up getting into debt trouble. Getting a “real job” helped me get back out of that.

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My Journey So Far

Brad on stage

I’d like to share a bit about where I am. Before I do that, a bit of history. I’ve been performing magic pretty much my whole life. In 2004, I quit my “real” job as a computer programmer to go full-time into ministry through magic. I had the opportunity to partner with churches and other Christian organizations all across the country and around the world sharing the love of Jesus through magic and assorted silliness. Things were going well until the big economic downturn. It turns out that when money is tight, churches can find a way to get by without magic shows. Who knew!?
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I Refuse…

I became involved as a volunteer with Compassion International around 1990. Around that time, about 40,000 children died each day from preventable causes, such as lack of clean drinking water, proper nutrition and basic medical care. 40,000 That’s an overwhelming, almost inconceivable number. It would be easy to let despair lead to inaction. During my years volunteering with them, I learned many things, not the least of which is that individuals really can make a difference. One common refrain was, “I can’t change the whole world, but I can change the world for somebody.” A lot of individuals, organizations and governments did a little bit, and things got better. During my time with them, that number kept dropping. It became 38,000, then 32,000, then 28,000, then 24,000. According to UNICEF, that number is now down to 16,000. That’s still a heartbreaking number, but look at how far we’ve come! We could theoretically end abject poverty within a generation. (In reality, war and corrupt governments will make it impossible to completely end it, but we could get amazingly close.) Countless millions have been lifted from abject poverty because individuals chose to do the little they could.
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Disclaimers that Aren’t in Bible

Disclaimers. You know, that fine print that tells us why something doesn’t mean what it says. They seem to be everywhere. They explain that your phone’s “unlimited” data plan isn’t really unlimited. That product’s “lifetime” guarantee doesn’t really last a lifetime. And that miracle product for “effortless” weight loss doesn’t really melt pounds away without effort.

It occurred to me that one place we seem to want disclaimers is in the Bible. We want to believe the Bible doesn’t really mean what it says. Here are a few examples of disclaimers that you won’t find in the Bible:
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Getting to the Root: Are People Basically Good?

Human Nature

Are people basically good? It’s a simple question, but the way you answer it has a profound impact on how you view the world. It drives conclusions about how society should be organized, including economic policies, political systems, the nature and purpose of the law, and much more. This question is at the core of the worldview difference between liberals and conservatives.
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Getting to the Root of Our Differences

Crowd at a protest

Our culture is divided. Very divided. Abortion, guns, drugs, sex, gay marriage, health care, minimum wage, the appropriate size and role of government, and much more. About the only thing we can agree on is the fact that we can’t agree. We argue endlessly on social media, but no minds are ever changed. We are totally shocked that those on the other side fail to grasp the obvious “rightness” of our position. So we commiserate with those on our side, mocking the irrationality of those with whom we disagree.
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Magic is not Just for Children

Baby examining grassMany think of magic as being a kid’s thing. It’s not. Kids don’t need it. Adults do.

Don’t get me wrong, kids enjoy magic programs. Magic can be a great tool for clearly presenting a memorable lesson. However, kids, especially younger ones, don’t need it because they haven’t lost their sense of wonder. They can still see the wonders, large and small, that surround us every day.
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