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On the seventh day He... umm... enjoyed a puppet show, maybe?
February 19, 2007 1:21 PM   Subscribe

The Hands of God. Alyson Levy visited a Christian puppetry camp and made a short documentary out of it (direct links to parts 1, 2, 3, and 4).
posted by hypocritical ross (35 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
When standards for entertainment are this low, one begins to understand the existence and success of Christian rock groups.
posted by billysumday at 1:38 PM on February 19, 2007


You think Christian puppeteers are bad, wait till you delve into the surprisingly vast universe of Christian clowning.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:42 PM on February 19, 2007


LOLXTIANS.

SRSLY.
posted by The Straightener at 1:51 PM on February 19, 2007


LOLXIANS.

There, I saved you guys the trouble.

I just wanted to observe that Part I of the video closes with an announcement from a (presumably) American girl (admittedly, via hand puppet) that "well, it's always poor down there" in Mexico, and that such poverty is the result of there being "so many people that needs be reached the Lord." I mean, shit, you just wait until the Catholic Church hears about all those non-Christian Mexicans! Rome should be all over that.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:51 PM on February 19, 2007


Jinx, dude. SRSLY.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:54 PM on February 19, 2007


LOL puppeteers
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:58 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bob Barkers and the Hands of God
posted by phaedon at 1:59 PM on February 19, 2007


How awesome was that painting of Radiating Light of Jesus Nurse?
posted by The Straightener at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2007


"God uses us all as tools."
posted by awesomebrad at 2:09 PM on February 19, 2007


the rest of us are tools on our own authority
posted by pyramid termite at 2:24 PM on February 19, 2007


What's he doing with the OTHER hand!?

Oh. Yeah. I forget. "What we do to ourselves we also do to Him."
posted by tkchrist at 2:32 PM on February 19, 2007


One of those occasions when Matthew 6:3 doesn't apply.
posted by Abiezer at 2:44 PM on February 19, 2007


If every religion proselytized solely through puppets ... yeah, I think I could get down with that.
posted by Nahum Tate at 2:51 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


And then there is gospel mime, more mime and yet even more mime.
posted by madamjujujive at 2:57 PM on February 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


When standards for entertainment are this low, one begins to understand the existence and success of Christian rock groups.

Bruce Cockburn came by looking for you. He had a rocket launcher.
posted by dw at 3:02 PM on February 19, 2007


its really hard . . . i mean rough, wood. really rough. i just can't believe how rough it was.
posted by nola at 3:05 PM on February 19, 2007


There's a whole "Christian" parallel cultural universe. It's like the real one, only Sturgeon's Law applies even more harshly.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:13 PM on February 19, 2007


The Milli Vanilli of miming? Try to map your noodle around that one.
posted by phaedon at 3:15 PM on February 19, 2007


Meet the Manger Babies!
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:19 PM on February 19, 2007


Holy shit, I watched that "That's my line" clip, decided to see if Bob Barker was still around on Wikipedia, and apparently he died...today!
posted by notsnot at 3:26 PM on February 19, 2007


Nice puppets. And the little dolls are cool too.
posted by luckypozzo at 3:27 PM on February 19, 2007


Bob? He's not dead, his batteries are. He'll be back on tomorrow.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:53 PM on February 19, 2007


God AND String Theory. Q.E.D.
posted by Sparx at 3:59 PM on February 19, 2007


I love watching and reading religious stuff mindful of the discoveries this this guy is making.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:06 PM on February 19, 2007


Oh wow, another attack on Christians.
posted by CameraObscura at 4:13 PM on February 19, 2007


Puppet Show

(no Spinal Tap)
posted by dontoine at 4:15 PM on February 19, 2007


Wow. The end of the fourth video was the payoff. Rough wood, eh?

I feel sad for these people.

For some of them, they are escaping a worse life; the depressed older woman would probably have a different life if she'd discovered an effective mood-altering drug instead of an effective voice for her own self-support. She needed someone to tell her what to do, and she got it: Alice the Preachy Puppet.

Hey, it's better than death, which is where she was headed.

She's obviously has a high Authoritarian need (see link, previous post). While she is engaged in indoctrinating others, I don't see her as having a high Social Dominance need. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Which makes her one of the more harmless form of religious follower. Left to her own devices, she's Mostly Harmless. She's a threat only when used as a political weapon.

Damn, that web book about The Authoritarians is fun!

In its thread, from my first link, it might be interesting to discuss how to best influence these sorts of people, who seem to play a key part in deciding the direction the US elections go...
posted by five fresh fish at 4:36 PM on February 19, 2007


Which makes her one of the more harmless form of religious follower

it might be interesting to discuss how to best influence these sorts of people

Condescending much?
posted by CameraObscura at 5:44 PM on February 19, 2007


So, maybe putting myself out there in the mefite pool is a bad idea, but I've attended (and performed in) my fair share of "puppetry camps."

Now, granted I've ceded some of my objectivity with that statement, but... this is a flat-out, terrible documentary, and making fun of the subjects when the production itself is so abyssmal seems a little unfair. I'm not going to dwell on it, because it's not the point, but... GODDAM!

I can't say that there is a proliferation of high quality work in the Christian puppetry scene, but when I was involved there were a handful of mainstream-pros and homebrew folks doing some excellent work who ran and lectured at these conventions because they sincerely wanted to raise standards higher and give these performance groups the tools they needed to reach higher levels of artistic creation. I have seen some stuff that is amazing regardless of its message, and there are a number of sharp, talented adults and youths who could be doing breathtaking things if they didn't feel so obligated to drive the bus. Of course, driving the bus is what allows them to be involved in a maligned subset of a maligned art form from a financial standpoint.

Like most Christian art scenes, puppetry stumbles over its own agenda. I remember a speaker one year scolding a class for potentially thinking that accepting a role as a Christian entertainer was a betrayal of the talents God had given them (us) as evangelists. I'm certain I wasn't the only person in the room who cringed at that suggestion. People feel so obligated to God to be marketers and salespeople that they stop (or never start) making something passionate and genuine.

There's also some goofy theological debate in the community. Certainly, there's the omnipresent denominational tension. At one festival, a Catholic group performed and I think the adult directors felt the need to be very defensive about their place at the event; plenty of well loaded "it's good to be here all praising the same Lord" statements. Of course, there probably was an underlying "oh. those sorry sons of bitches... at least they're doing some kind of good," feeling in the crowd. But, the real issues are even more bizarre... Can puppets be sinners? Can puppets be saved? Is a puppet Jesus an okay thing to incorporate? I think the official tendency to answer was "no, no, no", but as you can see from "Hands of God", that stuff certainly slips through. Our group used to have a very muffled joke about crappy groups pulling out a picture of Jesus at the end of a performance to win evangelism points. And, listening to a doll talk about its rift from the Creator is quite literally painful for me. Again, the effort to convert is so overwhelming sometimes that it chokes out everything else: maybe you pull out a painting of the Christ and have your stiched together dopplegangers bow down on bended elbows, maybe you mount a 12 foot tall Jesus with twice the wingspan on some kid and have him sweep his arms across the room, maybe you have -worst of all- altar calls.

I still cannot get over the altar calls. My apologies to any evangelical mefites, but it's not for me.

I've never met anybody in the scene that is hostile or overly aggressive about conversion; not to say they don't exist, but I don't want to give the wrong impression that everyone's some kind of heaven-sent, hell-bent missionary of death.

Almost all the people involved are amateurs (both at theology and puppetry) and a huge chunk of those are kids figuring out their faith and their place in the world. Take any collective of amateurs in any medium and I think you'll find a lot of silliness and you haven't even mixed teenagers in yet... Hell, I deal with creative professionals on a daily basis and the silliness can be mind-boggling.

Alright, I've written too much.
posted by pokermonk at 6:39 PM on February 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Praise be to the great puppet master in the sky"? WTF? That doesn't sound like any take on Xtianity I've experienced or read about....
posted by pax digita at 8:24 PM on February 19, 2007


Need a script for next Sunday's puppet show? Some tips from the masters of Christian Puppeteering? Puppet2Puppet to the rescue!
posted by Strawman at 8:54 PM on February 19, 2007


The whole "we are God's puppets" bit makes me uncomfortable, but encouraging kids to use their imagination and be creative is good. They'll probably sort out religion for themselves later anyway.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:08 PM on February 19, 2007


I can't believe no one's mentioned the only true hand of God.
posted by languagehat at 6:56 AM on February 20, 2007


What kind of god would allow this?
posted by hatchetjack at 9:07 AM on February 20, 2007


Jim Henson is God. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 7:14 PM on February 20, 2007


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