Performance video was simply captured on my smartphone. This was done in one take, with no editing. Routine is how it would appear to a live audience. Speaking of which, close-up magic really only exists in the context of a life performance. This video recording was an artificial necessity for submission consideration but it is important for the judges to consider that this performance piece would normally be presented for a small audience. In fact, one or two participants would be involved at various points in the performance actually shuffling and cutting the deck of card themselves before the revelations of matched pairs. This increases the dramatic tension and build-up more than the "solo" recording of the submission video can capture. This is my first presentation with an explicit Gospel theme. Although Gospel Magic exists as a genre, most contemporary performers present a stage show. Although the literature contains examples of close-up Gospel Magic (most notably by Neale in "Magic and Meaning" by Eugene Burger and Robert E. Neale, Hermetic Press, 1995), it is a theme that is sparsely explored by current sleight of hand performers.
I decided to address the broader interpretation of the final spiritual battle that will take place at the end times, when God will conquer all evil.
Matt Growden: Writer and Performer
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In the chapter six of Ephesians, St. Paul exhorts all Christians to be prepared to engage in spiritual battle against evil. He uses powerful imagery that evokes the weapons and armor of a Roman soldier. I think that Paul’s message prefigures the Final Judgement. At the present time, the world is full of chaos but in the end, God will restore perfect order. People today are searching for meaning. But because of our sin…our brokenness…our lack of charity towards fellow human beings…our selfishness…there appears to be no pattern to life. But if you look again, there is a pattern. God is the underlying order. But what about the rest of the natural world? Human beings have introduced a lot of chaos there, too. But again, if you stop to look a little closer… you will find some pockets of order. Sometimes we create such a mess, that we think things are beyond hope… beyond repair. But nothing that we do can upset God’s underlying plan. Sometimes we lose faith. But by putting on God’s armor, faith can be restored. And we can once again get a glimpse of the divine order. There are still countless spiritual battles to be won or lost before human history comes to an end. But as Christians we have faith that God will restore ultimate order to the universe.
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