Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Two Faced?

If you've visited A Waste of Good Cyberspace from the blogs I frequent, then you'll recognize the following quote from a recent post:

"John is a Christian and a magician (I thinks it's fairly safe to put them in that order...)"

Putting them in that order certainly meets with the desire of my heart, but it's started me thinking about how much I really need to work on both being a Christian and being a magician. It's odd that some of the characteristics are exactly opposites.

As a magician, for example, I practice the art of deceit. Actually, the art is magic. Deceit, however is often a big part of the method. In order for me to be successful, I need to be able to understand how you will think, how you will react and take advantage of basic human behaviors. Deceit comes in the form of sleight of hand, sleight of mind and sleight of mouth (outright telling lies.) That may seem a little bit strong, but that's what you would expect from a magician. It's all a part of the package; a part of the act. I know that I've taken things to a very base level. Magic is truly much more than that. As an artist, the magician takes his audience from where they are to a new place. The real magic is in the journey and often the destination is a surprise for everyone. It's as if we're in another world where our laws of nature and our laws of truth don't apply. We don't mind the deception. In fact, we look forward to it. It gives us a moment of escape; a moment of wonder; a moment of joy.

But in being a Christian, aren't we to be transparent? Genuine? Without guile? (That's a weird word—guile.) Maybe the real problem comes when we get those roles confused—when we, as Christians, begin to practice deception, pretending to be something that we are not. It’s been said that a person isn’t really a magician; he’s an actor playing the part of a magician. I don’t know if you agree with that or not, but I do know that it doesn’t work for a Christian. If you are a Christian, you ought to behave as a Christian. (I purposely didn’t use “act like a Christian.”) Being a Christian is not an act. It has to be who you are—not who you say you are. It is important for us to remember that Christianity isn’t a cloak of goodness. We will fail from time to time as we live out the life of a follower of Jesus. We have to recognize that we will be criticized by believers and unbelievers alike when we fail. Keep going. Don’t give up. Practice living like Jesus. Practice thinking like Jesus.

Maybe that’s the secret. Study and practice seems to work well for the magician part of me. Something tells me that it would work for the Christian part as well.

We call ourselves Christians as a way of identifying ourselves with Jesus, the Christ. When we are called “Christian” by somebody else, it is both an honor and yet somehow humbling at the same time.



chad said...


Anonymous said...

I don't think we're any more deceptive than someone telling a joke or acting in a play; we're (at least the honest among us) quite up-front about the fact that we're going to use subterfuge for entertainment purposes. We're honest cheats!

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