Reading Project: interlude

A friend asked on Facebook: “Granting the obvious value of reading these “classics”, are there any contemporary theologians who followed their track with respect to play?”   I asked myself a variation of that question: why read four books that are 50 years old, and a fifth that is almost 80?   Short answer: these …

Huizinga, Homo Ludens: terms

Huizinga, Johan. Homo Ludens: A study of the play-element in culture. (Boston: Beacon Paperback, 1955 edition, text copyright 1950 by Roy Publishers by arrangement with Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. (1949). Personal Introduction As I embarked on this reading project, I discovered notes on the blank end pages reminding me when I first read this …

starting project

I decided to read five books on play and theology. Four of them are a sort of “academic correspondence” between two theologians.   When I was in college I read Theology of Play by Jurgen Moltmann, then I read Feast of Fools by Harvey Cox. Both were hugely influential shaping my thinking about clowning as …

Valentine’s and April Fools

I was asked on facebook “With Ash Wednesday on Valentines Day and Easter on April Fools, what creative ideas do you have for connecting these events?” Since just this week I concluded an interim, I don’t have worship responsibilities for either feast! That means I haven’t developed anything connecting Valentine’s to April Fool’s … but …

Learning to be a clown

I recently commented on Richard Swanson’s provokingthegospel (provokingthegospel.wordpress.com/) that “circus took me to seminary.” The response was wanting to know how that happened. Since I have no posted here in a while, I thought it would be a good thing to share! I grew up in Venice FL when Ringling still claimed it as their …

always emergent roles

I have been reflecting on the role of the clown and by extension to purpose and function of clown ministry. Floyd Shaffer used to teach that in the circus clowns are different than performers. Performers are the skilled acts: animal trainers, aerialists, acrobats. Clowns are … clowns. Performers stay in or above the ring; clowns …

Creating Material

I confess: for me one of the most difficult aspects of clowning, especially as a solo performer, is developing new material. For a long while, I have envied musicians. There seems to be endless catalogues of songs to sing or play. It seems easier to adapt a song to one’s style – range, mood, tempo …

Foolish Wisdom

I have read a lot of books. This is one that changed my life and continues to challenge me deeply. I received this book in lieu of pay. Floyd Shaffer had invited me to assist him at a weekend workshop he was leading. I forget what he offered to pay me, but whatever it was …

Relationship with Props

When I was in college, I remember reading a description of the Swiss clown Grock living in a world where objects refused to cooperate. I don’t play a musical instrument, but I could see myself in a world where objects obstruct my progress. Surrounded by ordinary objects, the clown struggles with the simplest of tasks, …