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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Reminders of What Matters

In my comfy living room, I have a big screen TV. (Because I’m an American, and that’s what we do.) Above it, I have photos from some of my travels. I put them up because they mean more to me than some random pretty thing from a store. There’s one in particular I want to share with you. It’s from one of my early trips to Central America in the early 90’s. I honestly don’t remember which trip it is from, so it could have been from anywhere from Mexico through Honduras. I took these trips with Compassion International. I was working as a volunteer with them at the time. I went to see their work with children who were living in poverty in order to help me be a better advocate for children in need.
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The Real Baby Jesus

Traditional Manger Scene

I just heard a new Christmas song on the radio. It was lovely. But it also contained some pretty weak theology. It was about how Jesus came to save us with joy and restore the child in us. It reminded me how so many people in our culture are OK with the idea of a safe little baby who came to bring us joy and peace. The real Jesus was anything but “safe.” And he didn’t come to eliminate conflict or make us feel good.
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The Hidden Beauty of the Local Church

The church is the metaphorical body of Christ. It consists of all followers of Jesus; and crosses denominational, racial, and national lines. The local church is a geographic segment of that global body. It is, in a very literal sense, God’s hands in the community where it is located. And it is a beautiful thing. (Don’t get me wrong it’s also a mess, but it’s a beautiful mess.)
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Magic is not Ministry

I do magic, but magic is not ministry. That may sound strange coming from someone with a “magic ministry,” but it’s true. Ministry happens when there is a connection between people where needs are met. Magic can facilitate that, but it isn’t ministry in itself. To make an analogy, a hammer isn’t construction, it’s just a tool. However, when used properly, a hammer is an important tool in doing construction. Similarly, magic is one tool in the “ministry toolbox.” So, when might magic be the right tool for the job?
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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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Us vs. Them

Racism is immoral. It’s the antithesis of the teaching of Scripture. It’s socially unacceptable. And it’s just incorrect. There is simply no basis in fact for believing one race is inferior to another.

Even those of us who abhor racism still tend to find ways of dividing ourselves up into “us” and “them.” It gives us a way to feel superior to “them,” whoever they are.

“They” could be liberals, conservatives, foreigners, refugees, addicts. “They” aren’t worthy of our respect. It’s OK to refer to “them” with dismissive and disrespectful labels, like right-wing, left-wing, radical, extremist, nuts, libtards, teabaggers, and so forth. It’s OK to feel superior to “them.”
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Absolute Offense

The word "values" against compass.

Our culture no longer believes in moral absolutes. Everyone decides for themselves what’s right or wrong. This leads to a major social problem. A shared moral compass plays an important role in a society. If everyone is free to do what is right in their own eyes, how can society function?

It occurred to me that something else is replacing the role of morality as a guiding force in our culture: offence. It is no longer the adherence to a moral code that guides us. Instead, it is the avoidance of offending someone.
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