Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Problem With "Christian" Puppetry...

I have a friend who has maintained the problem with “Christian” puppetry is that it isn’t good. He’s not talking about the message. He’s talking about the material and the mechanics. To be honest, when he first said this I was insulted, but I should have been thanking him. He is absolutely correct in his assertion.

First, there is no excuse for sloppy manipulation. The concepts are simple and good execution takes practice. Am I the best in the world? No. Do I practice enough? No., but Jesus died for me, the least I can do is develop good puppetry skills if that is how I choose to serve Him.

Second, most “Christian” skits are dry. A lot of authors just sprinkle humor into the message but it is disconnected from the skit. I am guilty of this. I depended on hackneyed jokes, loud noises, sight gags and Simpson’s rip-offs to make my skits funny. There is a balancing act between too “preachy” and too “funny”. I have a tendency to go one extreme to the other, but I’m working on it…

Look! Knowing Jesus IS exciting. God gave us the capacity to enjoy humor and fun. We (I) need to tap into this ability when we approach puppetry. The wonderful part of puppet ministry is that it contains in its very nature the ability to be entertaining AND teach about Jesus’ love and mercy.

I have found two new puppetry blogs and although they are not ministry sites, they are informative in their nature.
Puppet Buzz
Puppeteers Unite


Anonymous Wes B. said...

Here, Here I totally agree with you Ben. When I teach Puppetry I drive home the basic and tell my students the Bible tells us that in everything we do, do it to the best of our abilities, in other words don't do it half way. Remember what was said about being Luke warm! I may be a like over Zealous about puppetry some time but I take it seriously as you do. But once we learn the basics then we can worry about ministry!

8:05 AM  
Anonymous Wes B. said...

Here, Here, i totally agree with you! When i have teached puppetry in churches i have stressed the basic, The Bible tells us that whatever we do, do it to the best of our ablillity, in other word don't do it half way! This is How i Believe puppetry should be taught, Basic's first then apply ministy to your skills!

Our Hands, His Plans!

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

Thank you! Finally someone speaks the truth about Christian puppetry!

We have a fledgling TV ministry here in Brazil, and God has blessed us with like minded people who are dedicated to quality AND content. We are just getting off the ground, but our goal is a "muppet" quality production. We have a ways to go, but we will get there.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous Tambra H said...

"You want people laughing with you. Not at you."

I agree wholeheartedly. There is no excuse for poor technique. Get the basics down. I ask, does the Henson company go to Christian churches & festivals scouting for puppeteers?!

Every interested Christian should feel they owe a debt to learn the art form. Throwing on a puppet without understanding the art form is insulting to secular & Christian pro's alike. I so want to learn mime as my secondary art form. My walk & brushing my teeth are pretty good, but it doesn't make me a mime. Buying bold colored items from the thrift store & being what we think is silly doesn't make one a clown. Puppetry is manipulation & acting at the same time. It's a great tool the Father has given us Christian puppeteers to further his Kingdom. Not treating it with respect puts a bag over our light.

We state in our workshop manuals regarding the 5 basics of manipulation that, "Those wishing to become serious about their puppetry would do well to learn the craft thoroughly." Most, unfortunately, are not. They just want to have the fun, the glitz, the glamour without the study, practice, rehearsing & hard work required. Then they go out & title themselves, "Pros". Prov 19:2 in the ES Version states, "Desire without knowledge is not good, & whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way." Maybe the word hands could take the place of feet in this proverb in applying it to puppeteers.

There are other factors that influence the continuation of poor Christian puppetry like socioculture expectations, youth, TV, etc. However, I best stop ;-) And in all fairness, I invite you to view a few of our videos on God Tube given below.

Thanks for creating this blog. It allows serious puppeteers to share their concerns. I applaud you on your loving honesty toward this growing problem! Proverbs states that it is better to receive wounds from a friend than kisses from the enemy! God gave us His best. We need to give Him our best.



2:39 PM  

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