Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Performance Videos!

Here is another video of a drama team performing one of my skits: in this case, "The Crate Escape." I found it on the website of the Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, FL, and they did a good job it it! The video link is at the bottom of these screen captures of the performance.

Click on the images to view larger size.

The predatory Mr Hunter unveils his Mystery Box.

Our curious young man tries out the promised thrills to be found in the box.

But then he finds that he is trapped in the box!

A New Ager offers advice for escaping the prison.

Another person trapped in a box comes by and can offer no hope.

The Word of God is given to the young man, his only hope of escaping.

Having accepted the Lord, the youmg man bursts free of his prison.

The newly-freed believer now offers hope and help to the returning box person.

The cast comes back out for a bow.

Here is the link to the video page where you can watch "The Crate Escape."

They also did my script "The Telltale Talent."

As well as "The Stupid Dummy's Guide To Higher Self-Esteem."

Go to my skit site to see another team performing it here, also!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Crazy For Christ!"

I truly enjoy seeing videos of people performing my scripts, and I get sent a lot of them. They also turn up online quite a bit, and that's where I find some occasionally. That's what happened the other day, as I was fishing around for videos of my skits being done, I found a couple posted by a group from Fayetteville, Georgia known as the Harps Crossing Community Theatre. My favorite was their performance of "Crazy For Christ," which is about a young Christian intern applying for a position at a mental institution that has to go on the defensive against the hostile interviewer. The twist at the end is a fun turnaround. The actors delivered their lines perfectly, and I was very pleased with the production.

I asked the person that posted the video, Tim Richardson, for some information, and here's what I learned...

Hello Fred,

I'm so glad you liked Crazy for Jesus. It is one of my favorites as well. We worked hard to perfect our performance and I think the final product is brilliant. I (Tim Richardson) play the doctor/mental patient and the actress was Lauren Kosiba. The rest of the cast is Billy Pagent and Charlie Fells who play the orderlies, Dennis Lowre plays the real doctor, and Amber Hancock plays the nurse. We performed the skit at my home church, Harps Crossing Baptist Church in Fayetteville, GA. Over the last few years I put together a professional theatre company at Harps Crossing, called the Harps Crossing Community Theatre and soon it will be known as Insane Rescue Productions. We have a huge group of up and coming volunteers in our actors guild and our ministry is growing at breakneck speed.

A funny behind-the-scenes story is the hypodermic needle that the nurse uses was supposed to be empty but as a joke they filled it with cold water so when she went to inject me she sent ice cold water down my back. I almost screamed from shock but we laughed about it after the performance!

Your friend,
Tim Richardson

Below I've posted some screen captures of the video showing some of the drama that takes place... click on any of the images to see them larger.

I am looking forward to seeing if they do any more of my material in the future, and I'm pleased to provide the video links below so you can enjoy them for yourself, as well as be inspired to do the skit at your own church! When you go to the video page, there are other videos of their different performances of material by others that you will also enjoy.
Part One

Part Two, the short conclusion.
Get the script they did in the video at my site,, as well as many more you will enjoy!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Can Comedy Be A Ministry? Part 2

(If you haven't read Part 1 already, read the last post here first.)

Part Two: Why Christian Comedy is viewed with distrust by the Church.
It is a historical irony that although the Church has been instrumental is promoting art as a whole to glorify God, no institution has been more resistant to new expressions of art for that purpose. Whenever an artist introduces a form of art unfamiliar to the church, it is initially viewed with distrust, as if the church suspects that the message has been made subject to the medium (in a reverse of the fears of the world). Aware that the theme of glorifying God is tantamount, the sacred critic often feels that art which expresses much of the creativity and talent of the artist is in some way detracting from the message, and indeed, may be introducing undersirable elements of the world into the church.

It is the desire to separate the worldy from the sacred, without recognising that all of humanity has certain things in common, that has created this friction; a friction which has put the heat on the Christian artist striving to reach all men by all means, as did Paul (who was also criticised for it).

God Himself has used this method to communicate. Consider the events of Pentecost! The disciples had gathered at Jesus' command to await the coming of the Holy Spirit to endue them with power from on high. What was the evidence, beyond the initial visible flames of fire that descended on each of them? The ability to speak in languages other than their own native tongue. To what purpose? To edify the hearer, who would not have understood them had they been speaking the Gospel message in any other language. So God reached out to the many people from other countries, using the gift that He had given the disciples.

God has given us various gifts, and we are to use them as good stewards to reach as many as we can with the message of the Gospel. We may be using, in a manner of speaking, another language than is understood by the other believers around to do this. But that in no way invalidates the message being communicated, as long as it is understood by the hearers for which it is intended. It is understood by those who need it most; by those who are spiritually receptive and open to it. Hence Jesus words; "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches."

Christian comedy, when rightly used as a tool, is as powerful a medium as any other to communicate what the Spirit is saying to the church. Further, it is a means not only of reaching the lost with the message in a way that is palatable to them, but also of uplifting the heart of the believers already in the church. As in preaching, the message is balanced between enlightening the lost and exhorting the saved.

Comedy as as legitimate a method of ministering as playing a musical instrument, singing a song, teaching a class, preaching a message, and so on. Emphasis on legitimate; it is not as common. It is also not as neccessary, either. A church can do without a comedian; it cannot do without a good preacher or other ministries. However, it can benefit by a Christian comedian in the same way it can benefit by a special speaker, a talented and dedicated singer or musician, or any number of other form of the ministering arts.

Consider the message of "the whole body is not the eye; if it were, where would be the hearing?" Just so, although there are parts of the body of Christ that may not be as evident or important as some others, they are still needed and beneficial. Imagine a church that promoted preaching to the total exclusion of music, singing, congregational worship or participation. Or a church that was devoted to only music and singing? Neither would be a well-rounded, effective (or well-even attended) house of worship. Look upon the Christian comedian as the funny-bone of the church! It has it's place in the body, when used wisely.

Some feel that having any humor in the church amounts to a lack of seriousness over sin and salvation. Here is an excerpt from article from a site that is a good example of this viewpoint, written by a dear person who feels, apparently, that Christian comedians are the devil's tool, designed with the idea of dragging poor lost souls to hell, laughing insensitively all the way. A quote says this: "Maybe the reason that "Christian Comedians" and many other "trifles" have slipped in on the Church, is because we have SIMPLY FORGOTTEN the utter magnitude of the very real and present tragedy of SIN -- killing people right before our very eyes...
...or maybe we just don't care..."

As an aformentioned "trifle" (thank you, sir), that page seems to me to reflect the attitude some have: "Please don't smile or laugh, it might give people the wrong impression that Christianity is anything other than a frowning, scowling, kill-joy religion. And for Heaven's sake, toss out anyone that exhibits a sense of humor. People are going to hell in here! And we want to help them."

Oops, a little pointed humor slipped through in there. Sorry, sir. I deserve to be tackled and yelled at to "Shut up! Just shut up!" according to your article. Have you ever considered anger management counseling?

But he's not alone. A fellow Christian comedian sent some emails to several churches letting them know he was available. Here is a response he got back (note the 'Dear friend' opening before the knife is applied and twisted with malice):

Dear friend:

I am quite certain that you do not intend to offend anyone by this unsolicited e-mail. However, I absolutely cannot think of anything more revolting to me personally than your request to stand in our pulpit where the solemn Word of God is preached and use comedy to give the gospel. It is unscriptural, illogical, and will never, as long as I breathe and have any say in our ministry be a part of what goes on here at (edited church name).

While you might be thinking, that’s over the top, consider what the Scriptures teach about the sober duty of the pastor to teach the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” Your presentation is the complete opposite. No, I won’t even consider having you in.

It's that kind of attitude that the average Christian comedian is up against; that of the worthlessness of this type of ministry to impart any kind of useful message. It is worth mentioning here that skits are viewed with some distrust by those who simply doubt their usefulness. They question (rightfully so) whether skits are imparting enough of the Word to be effective, and feel that they may distract from serious preaching. This may certainly be the case if the skits are only done for fun, and contain no clear message. Skits, interpretive dance, videos, etc., when used in a church service, that are interjected only to "lighten things up" and make the church more "user-friendly" are worse than ineffective, they can be downright deadly to a worshipful atmosphere and serious consideration of eternal truths and destinies.

A skit that is presented as part of a Sunday service or revival must be meaningful. This does not exclude funny skits, as long as they are both funny and meaningful. Only when written and performed with the mind to minister, (as are all of the skits on this site) and when intended to add to, affirm and confirm the preaching of a full-gospel, called-of-God minister, will they be used of God. If they are used in a setting besides Sunday church services, like special events where there is no preaching, the level of Word content is even more important, as it may be the only exposure to the Gospel that some there will have. There is NO EXCUSE for "just for fun" skits by Christians. Everything should be done to the glory of God.

Christian comedy, when expressed by a called and gifted Christian, can be a blessing to the saved and a means of reaching the lost. This is not to say that there are no "bad apples" in the area, any more than that of other ministries. This is to debate the legitimacy of the art, not the spirituality of individual artists. There are people living holy, and being used of God in Christian Comedy, just like there are such people in Southern Gospel singing groups. And there are a good amount of misguided, and just plain hypocrital performers in Christian Comedy, just like there are such people in Southern Gospel singing groups.

I know first-hand the truth of that statement, having been heavily involved in both areas for years. I know, I'm in danger of stepping on some tender, sensitive tootsies with that statement, but that's never stopped me before. The term "sacred cow" applies to any area of ministry that is thought to be more holy than others simply due to a person's love for it. News flash, folks: people are alike all over. And God uses them in spite of it. Your type of music or ministry, whatever your preference, is no more "righteous" than any other simply because you prefer it. And neither are the performers.

So, this writer hopes that if you have in the past downgraded or criticized practitioners of the Christian comedy art simply because you distrusted it, that you will --if nothing else--allow each person to answer God's call in the way he feels led without hindrance or judgement. But further, this writer hopes that you will open your heart and mind to accept the laughter and joy that can be imparted through this ministry, and not be such a sourpuss!

-Fred Passmore

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Can Comedy Be A Ministry? Part 1

The Philosophical Difference Between Christian Comedy and Secular Comedy
Part One: Why Christian Comedy is viewed with distrust by the World.

Christian comedy is not some new invention or derivation of a secular form of entertainment. It is an artistic creation that endevours to bring out a Gospel truth using the medium of humor the same way that a Christian painter endevours to depict Christ or His handiwork on his canvas. So in it's truest form, Christian comedy is an art form. Placed in this perspective, it can be perceived a little more clearly for the sake of this philosophical discussion. This article has been divided into three examinations of the artist: the Secular, the Sacred, and the Profane.

The fundamental difference between sacred art and secular art goes much deeper than a simple matter of theme. This is because the difference lies in the core reason for doing it.

Secular art is most often "art for art's sake." The focus is not the object pictured or theme portrayed but rather the style in which it is depicted or portrayed. However, in sacred art, the focus is Christ, and the style is merely an expression of the individual artist.

The success of secular art is measured by the intellectual appreciation of the higher critic and popular acceptance. The success of Christian art is measured by the degree of increased awareness in the viewer of some aspect of God.

The secular artist is gratified when their artistic talent is recognised, their artwork purchased and their name glorified: the Christian artist is gratified when, through their talent, God is recognised, His Son accepted, and His name glorified.

This is the reason that Christian art, in all its various forms, is subject to immediate suspicion by the secular mind. When viewing art where Christ is the theme, it is recognised immediately that there is an ulterior motive behind it other than the artists's desire for pure personal expression (which is tantamount, in their thinking, in the creation of pure art). Whether a painting, Christian film, play, piece of music or song, drama or comedy performance, the art critic (professional or self-appointed) must always mentally subtract the message and attempt to judge the art for it's own sake. However, the art will always be judged as lacking since its theme and the artist is insulting to their intelligence and ego.

This illogical thinking would have been condemned if a recognised art critic had denigrated Andy Warhol's famous painting of the Campbell's soup can simply because he disliked that brand of soup. But secular criticism of Christian art is shared by most of their peers because they feel that the Christian artist has betrayed the artistic ideal by putting it in submission to or in a secondary position behind the subject.

Sadly, too, the secular man's rejection of Christ causes not only the art but the artist to be illogically hated and berated, whereas if the same artist had performed or created the same artistic piece without the Christian message they and their art would be hailed and praised. At the very least, where the artistic talent is less than fully developed, they would be defended for their expression and interpretation, which is the one sacred thing in the secular mind.

Even in the mind of the average man who has given little or no thought as to why the various expressions of Christian art are distasteful to him, is the subconscious awareness that everything done by the Christian artist is suspect because they are "trying to get somebody saved." This often unconscious distrust is a reaction of his fallen (and spiritually dead) inner man against the gospel message.

It all boils down to the statement made by Jesus: "The servant is not greater than his master; if they have hated Me, they will also hate you."

The Christian artist understands that everything he does must reflect the Person that is his master. Art, like work, play, relationships, our lives or anything else that we share in common with all of humanity, must shine forth the message of the Gospel and glorify God. This is the reason that comedy, like any other form of art or communication, may be used of God; it is the saving power of Christ, brought by the Word and the Spirit, within the art that is responsible for the life-changing results. So, to those that the Spirit is calling, your message is powerful and effective. To those rejecting this call, it can be distasteful.

Art is a tool, and a talent is a God-given ability to use certain tools, whatever they may be. When a tool is given more emphasis than the job it is created for, the natural order of things has been perverted. Thus, the fundamental philosophical difference between secular and sacred perception of the role of art.

Another perception worth mentioning concerning the role of art is the view of art by the profane artist. The secular artist creates to express self. The sacred artist creates to express faith in God. The profane artist creates to denigrate God, mock Christianity, and destroy faith. The profane artist perceives art as a tool as well, to express his own detestation of the belief in the God of the Scriptures, and in some extreme cases, to glorify God's enemy, Satan. This view mirrors that held by the Christian, except that the message is in stark opposition. Although the message is one of hatred and defilement of the sacred, the view of art is the same as the sacred artist: that art is a powerful tool for expressing the belief one holds. Ironically, although at opposite ends of the pole, both views more accurately grasp the true potential and power of art for affecting the minds and hearts of the viewer than that held by the secular artist.

Click here to read Part Two.