Source: EX Times
by Tetaun Moffett
It is described as the art of using movement, music and mimicking. Recently this ancient entertainment phenomenon has subtly found a place in our worship services as an expression of worship or as a tool used to portray the gospel. One self-proclaimed pantomime ministry website stated: “Ministering mime is interpreting gospel music, using illustrations and non-verbal methods to all the congregation to understand what you are doing just like Ezekiel demonstrated in the Old Testament. But what is really interesting according to the pastors ministry bio,“While listening to a gospel tape by Larnell Harris and praying, she saw a vision of a person doing
creative movements to a gospel song with a white painted face, flowing black clothing loosely fitting and white gloves. She also saw a spotlight shining upon the person. This was the vision for the mime ministry…” said, Donna Darwin IIochi of Covenanted Praise Mime Ministry. EX Times readers this article is written to provide additional information and insight on the origin of pantomime. If you saw TBHH5 Pastor Lewis spoke about this. The term pantomime is describe as the art of acting without words (facial expressions, gestures, body language) Pantomime: the actor conveys no sound only action; often work with imaginary objects and its based on reality involving a specific action.
Mime: conveys a theme for the body to become an imaginary object; they use non-verbal sounds and can go beyond reality as the actor expresses an idea. [Hoover Theater Drama One-Study Guide Chp 1] By definition pantomime or “pantomimus” is literally translates to “imitating all.” In ancient Greece it was accompanied by narratives and instrumental music often played on the flute. However, both pantomime and mime are one in the same. The pantomime was a popular form of entertainment in ancient Greece and Rome. Like theater, it encompassed the genres of comedy, tragedy and sex. They both struggled to survive partly because the genre was looked down upon and shunned by the literary elite. In a speech during the late 1st century AD the orator Aelius Aristides (117 AD-189 AD) a Greek rhetorician and a priest of Zeus condemned pantomime for its erotic content and the effeminacy of its dancing. After the death of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (a Roman philosopher, play writer and advisor of Nero) serious dramatic (literature or art) in Rome ceased, and the newly erected stone theaters were taken over by pantomime as the level of public taste and moral code steadily fell. This genre was very diverse but full of controversy. Most often they were indecent burlesques unto the god Dionysus in which female performers also took part in sexual performances. They featured dialogue, acrobatics, songs, and slapstick routines. During the persecution of the Christian under Nero and Domitian, mimes were used to ridicule the Christian faith on stage. They mock the Christian faith and their God.
[Sidenote]: It is recorded in Acts 17:22-31 Dionysus was the god who inspired joyful worship, ecstasy and festivals. At these festivals and celebrations mimes, actors and a myriad of entertainment filled the theaters. On the north side of the hill is where Apostle Paul preached the gospel on Mars Hill. Paul was vexed at the sight of false idols and pagan worship that went on in the temple theater. “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [ Could this have been the early signs of today's Hollywood?]
Pantomime is an age old art that’s been on the scene before and after Apostle Paul preached to the gentiles. In the middle age era pantomimes manage to resurface as jesters, jongleurs, bands, and acrobats. In the year 791, an English priest Alcuin (Alcuin of York) wrote a warning to a friend stating, “The man who brings actors and mimes and dancers to his house knows not what a bevy of unclean spirits follow them.”
Pantomime has transcended all throughout Europe and United States. Today American (mime) combines acting, play-writing and dancing all courtesy of Paul J. Curtis the founder of American Mime in 1952. Never was this practice a part of our worship services until now:
“Ministering mime is interpreting gospel music, using illustrations and non-verbal methods to all the congregation to understand what you are doing just like Ezekiel demonstrated in the Old Testament.”
In response to the above statement: If pantomime ministry is based on the kind of gospel song you choose to play then according today’s standards we are in trouble. The gospel industry is own and operated by godless people. The hard truth is “it’s all about the music!” If you take away the music then you are left with white clown faced effeminate dancing with bodies swing and kicking in the air. (like a bad Kung-fu movie) Listen people pantomime is not worship or ministry. Besides you can’t just take what you want and stand before a holy God and worship as you please. Art is entertainment! Performing arts express emotions and feelings. The audience is more focus on the song and being entertained. They’re clapping, crying and getting emotion over music that’s not scriptural or without doctrine. Most of gospel music today is sensual and self serving. Who’s idea was it to bring all this mess into the church? I personally blame the African American community. Churches that have endorsed this behavior should be held accountable for this mess. Too many of us act like that 70’s Life Cereal commercial. “Mickey like it.” We have become test dummies.
Some churches will just eat anything! ( Mickey like it) Whatever the so called celebrity Bishops do in their conferences we’ll duplicate it and make it a ministry. “Bring in the mime and give us hip-hop. Better yet a stripper pole or comedian would be nice. Don’t judge we just want to have fun.” Come on people it’s very dangerous when ministry is led by popular culture!! In Ezekiel God judged the Levites for taking musical talent from the Canaanites. They took what belong to the heathens. The Levites recruited them to teach them their talents. The Canaanites were even invited in the Temples to worship with them.
Side note: Please go and study Ezekiel Chapters 40- 48
(Ezekiel 44:12-13 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity (perversion) therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, said the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.) In summary, pantomime is just simply entertainment. It is not acceptable worship unto God. Arts and entertainment manipulate and engineer a counterfeit worship and a soulish emotional response. Too often we worship music more than the creator. When pleasure and entertainment have more value than discipleship, sound doctrine, and biblical teaching we are in trouble. Why is it that popular culture and all forms of entertainment are prerequisite for ministry? Have you ever wondered if any of these pastors every thought to inquire of the Lord?
In Christ, with love,
(Quotes of the day): “This is the FIRST TIME I’ve seen ANYONE denounce the mime dancers. This has been going on in some pentecostal churches for many years. I gotta testify this to you – when I saw it, I thought it was weird, and i JUST DID NOT GET IT. Now i know why!!! But the other people were clapping and crying and hallelujahing and it just left me confused. I didn’t know why, but it just didn’t do anything for me. And i thought it was creepy and weird. And furthermore, I am caucasian and this was ALWAYS in the black church, and WHY WOULD someone wear what they called “blackface” in the early 20th century where it was to MAKE FUN of black people??? yes,, this was a shame to the black people back in that day during vaudeville or something back then. Why then does the black community embrace something that WAS A SHAME one time??? I am so glad this came out because Now i know why that miming offended me.”
“People who dress themselves up as mimes and clowns are literally representing certain types of demonic entities from the fourth dimension. How come occultists know about this and Christians don’t? Those who are so called the body of Christ, should not be using demons to minister the gospel ( or is it the gospel of the Word?) . This is confusion, deception, and just plain evil. God help us in this hour of delusion to discern what is of Him, and what is of the deceiver the Devil. There is no power and no Holy Ghost in most of the people who call themselves the body of Jesus Christ, and the enemy is seeking whom he may devour. Very few have some of the power flowing through them.
What happened to seeking the Holy Ghost, reading and studying the word of God and allowing Him to give you revelation and understanding? Where is the discernment? This would not be happening if people where sincere in the Lord. If this does not disturb a person who calls themselves a child of God, they are not born of the Spirit of God and are programmed by the evil forces at work in the world, and is presently operating in houses of worship. Review Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 7:13, 23; 2 Timothy 2:19.”
“If you send e-mails to argue why you pantomine, then you’ve missed the whole point behind this article. Bottom line pantomime; ‘It’s churchy entertainment!’ God has not commissioned you to mime folks to Christ. Come on seriously? Cut it out people. Entertainment is not a calling from God nor is a spiritual gift ~ Tetaun