Anyone reading this review will find it odd what I'm about to say: I'm an atheist who loves to read the Holy Bible. For many people, it's a contradiction they can't seem to wrap their heads around, but to me, there's nothing counterintuitive about it.
The Holy Bible is considered the greatest story ever told for a good reason. It's as relevant now as it was in the times of Martin Luther. As you open its pages, you step into a beautiful piece of literature written over thousands of years by dozens of authors. Every page is filled with fantastic stories and complex characters and is steeped in poetry that can fill a person's heart with joy and enduring truths.
As a magician, I found the gospel magic concept fascinating. I think it's a fresh approach to bringing these timeless stories and ancient wisdom to life. But "Magical Gospel Lessons" by Rev. Lawrence Burden was a huge disappointment.
It's not that I was expecting simple magic tricks geared towards evangelizing children to be at the same artistic level as the apostle Paul's writings in Romans and 1 & 2 Corinthians. My problem with the pamphlet was this: All but one of the nineteen tricks presented called for expensive store-bought props.
One thing especially irritated me—the Rev. Burden's insistence on pushing the Abbots Magic Company on his readers. Eight of the tricks called for equipment sold explicitly by that outfit. Here's a list:
- Abbott's Flower Tray
- Abbott's Baffle Milk Vanish trick
- Abbott's Twentieth Century Silk Trick
- Abbott's Nite Club Cylinder
- Abbott's Disecto (a hand guillotine)
- Abbott's Phantom Clock
- Abbott's Spurting Rice Bowl
- Abbott's Comedy Fire Cracker trick
Only one trick, a gospel twist on the Professor's Nightmare (cut and restored rope), used something you could find lying around the house.
After a while, I began thinking that the Reverend owned Abbot's Magic Company stock or was getting a kickback of the profits.
Maybe someone should have reminded him before he wrote this book of Proverbs 22:16:
"Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty."
Sorry, Reverend Burden, but in the Gospels, Jesus met people's spiritual and physical needs through his use of parables, not thumb tips, and magical chafing dishes.
While the messages in this book pushing home the glories of God are commendable, the prohibitive price outlay for the recommended equipment is unnecessary and ridiculous. Spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg.
If you're a minister or Sunday school teacher looking to add gospel magic to your sermons, save the $4.00 price of this E-book and put it in the collection basket. Check out some free online resources instead.