Article below written by: Tetaun Moffet over at  Exministries
Pantomime

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 states,  “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…”

this article is written to provide additional information and insight on the origin of pantomime.  This information is not foreign, Pastor Lewis covered some this in TBHH5 . The term pantomime is describe as the art of acting without words (facial expressions, gestures, body language) In pantomime the actor conveys only action, often work with imaginary objects, no sounds and based on reality involving a specific action.

Mime conveys a theme, the body can become part or all of an imaginary object, non-verbal sounds are allowed, can go beyond reality as the actor expresses an idea. [Hoover Theatre Drama One-Study Guide Chp 1] by definition pantomime or “pantomimus” is literally translates to “imitating all.” In ancient Greece it was accompanied by sung narrative and instrumental music which was often played on the flute. However, they both(pantomime & mime) are one in the same. The pantomime was a popular form of entertainment in ancient Greece and Rome. Like theatre, 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 theatres  erected stone theatres were taken over by pantomime as the level of public taste and moral code steadily fell.

mimes

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 theatre. “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.

 

Pantomime is an age old art that has been around since Apostle Paul was preaching. During 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.”

Since, pantomime has transcended throughout Europe to the United States and today American (mime) combines acting, play-writing and dancing courtesy of Paul J. Curtis founder of the art form known as American Mime in 1952. Never was this practice a part of our worship services until now:

Pantomime

 

“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 choice to play then according today’s standards we are in trouble. Especially from an industry that is own and operated by godless people. It’s all about the music! If you take away the music, you are left with evil white clown faces, and effeminate dancers swing and kicking in the air. (A kung-fu flick) 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; it’s about the flesh and how you feel. Besides folks are more focus on the song and being entertained than anything else. They’re clapping, crying and getting emotion over music that’s often unscriptural and without doctrine. Most gospel music today is just sensual. My question is who inspired this idea of bring all this stuff into the church? Especially the African American Church community, we are like that 70’s “Mikey like it” Life Cereal commercial. The taste test dummy.

We’ll just eat anything, whatever the big Bishops do at their conferences we are going to do in our services. “Bring in the mime, the man on the flying trapeze, the hip-hopper, the stripper poles, we just want to have fun too…” Come on church it’s so dangerous when ministry follows popular culture!! after  In Ezekiel Chapter 40 God judged the Levites for taking musical talent from the Canaanites.

 

They took what belong to the heathens and recruited their  practices, talents, and they even welcomed individuals to come into the Temple and worship with them. (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. But is it acceptable worship unto the one and true and living God? Arts and entertainment manipulate and engineer a counterfeit worship, a soulish emotional response. We often worship music more than the creator. Pleasure and entertainment has more value than discipleship, sound doctrine and biblical teaching. Since when was following popular culture and all forms of entertainment  a prerequisite for ministry.  Have you ever wondered if anyone ever checks with the Holy Spirit anymore about what He wants?

Sonia Kong “I don’t think most people really understand it; that’s why it’s interesting,” Kong said. “Back then in the Roman times they used to do things homosexually with miming and it wasn’t a good thing for the church.

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