Magic in the Church?

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

Flom Justin circular cardsJustin Flom "You wouldn't think magic and that kind of entertainment would be done in church circles," admitted Justin Flom, a world-class magician who has "Christian magic" shows in his repertoire.

Flom, just 32, has appeared internationally, on network television, concert/entertainment tours and at large corporate events.

"But when I'm in a church I use magic to communicate a lesson, kind of the same way Jesus used parables."

And so he does, even though his "stories" contain elaborate slight-of-hand effects and quicker-than-the-eye manipulations.

"My church shows are family-friendly and a wild, fun time," he said. "But there is a special moment when I get to talk about why I do the things I do and what I believe."

Flom brings his "Make Magic, Share Joy" presentation for two shows Feb. 23 at Cornerstone Church in Caledonia (details below).

MAGIC AND "DARK ARTS"

Flom has investigated the history of magic and its traditionally held association with the occult and demonic forces. He produced a video "I'm Not A Demon" which offers his perspective.

"The kind of magic I do is only about 500 years old," said Flom of his slight-of-hand, much newer than the "dark arts" that date to pre-biblical times.

     
 

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"Back in that day magic meant 'wise one'...knowledge that people used to deceive and to claim the power of God," he noted of several scriptural examples. "That's what the Bible condemns."

He is a longtime member of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians, an organization of magicians dedicated to sharing the gospel through their stage work.

Flom performs some amazing card tricks, but also does some larger illusions. His video of "dividing (sawing) a baby in half" has drawn more than 200 million views on various social media platforms https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YR9FFkcBJBQ (note: in the video he performed it on his own infant daughter).

"That means I got about a million calls from Child Protective Services," he smirked. "I told them she has a half sister."

A MAGICAL STAGE

Among his illusions are removing a swallowed thread from a stranger's arm and getting shot in the nose with a BB gun and moving the embedded pellet until it comes out of his lower eyelid. (It sounds weird, and it is).

His best card tricks always include onlookers – from TV hosts such as James Corden of "The Late Late Show" to various audience members. In fact, it's "participatory" magic that Flom claims as his specialty.

"We've developed a trick that people can follow wherever they're sitting in the room. Everyone in the audience will experience a magic trick in their hands at some point," he explained.

His philosophy? "I want to take the magic away from me and put it in someone else. It (magic) is old hat for me, but if we can get someone else to do that trick, that's really something."

GROWING UP MAGICALLY

Flom apprenticed under his father – an amateur magician who trained young Justin as an assistant. "When I was just 2 years old I was already jumping in and out of (magic) props and boxes," he recalled of shows for local service clubs, churches and carnivals.

The family actually had a small stage set up in the basement of its suburban Minneapolis home.

"For one show when I was very young, I had a neighbor girl come over and I closed her up in a footlocker trunk," he recalled.

Both sets of parents were in the small audience and Justin began sticking knives into the trunk.

"My parents realized that they were regular steak knives instead of the trick knives and that was a scary moment for everyone....no one was hurt," he smiled.

Carefully refining his act through his teen years, Flom was influenced watching videos of the late Doug Henning, a ground-breaking illusionist who worked magic with everyday objects. After high school Justin found work in Branson, MO where he toiled for six years. His big "break" came when a slot on the Ellen DeGeneres TV show vaulted him in front of a national audience.

GETTING READY

Flom offered a heads up for west Michigan audiences about what he might do at his local shows. "We're gonna send something back in time in an amazing way," he promised. "And we're going to bring several people on stage who will perform the impossible themselves.

"That's a brand new trick for 2020 I've done only a few times, and it's amazing," he repeated.

Details:
Justin Flom: "Make Magic; Share Joy"
2:30 and 6:30pm Sunday Feb. 23
Cornerstone Church, 1675 84th St. SE Caledonia
Tickets: General admission $15; VIP with early entry and artist Q&A $30
Available online at https://www.itickets.com/events/439331 or https://www.itickets.com/events/439315, itickets.comor by phone at 800-965-9324.
     
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Author Information
Terry DeBoer
About:
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

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