Bruce Johnson

Charlie The Juggling Clown

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The Old Testament and

New Testament Boomerangs

By Bruce “Charlie” Johnson



(Hold up a boomerang shape that has the words Old Testament lettered on it.)  Say, “Here is an easy way to remember how many books are in the Bible.  As I point to the letters in the word “OLD,” count how many there are.  O-L-D.  How many letters is that?  That’s right, three.  Now how many letters are there in the word testament, t-e-s-t-a-m-e-n-t?  That’s right there are nine letters.  (Turn the boomerang around showing the numbers 3 and 9 on the back.)  That is how many books there are in the Old Testament.  There are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament. 

            (Hold up a boomerang shape that has the words Old Testament lettered on it.)  Now how many letters are there in the word new?  That’s right, there are three.  How many letters are there in word testament?  That’s right, nine.  What do you get if you multiply three times nine?  Twenty-seven.  That is right.  (Turn that boomerang around showing that 3 X 9 = 27 is on the back.)  And that is how many books there are in the New Testament.”

            (Turn both boomerangs around so the words Old Testament and New Testament are in front.  Hold one in each hand.  Hold the Old Testament Boomerang below the New Testament Boomerang so that the OT one looks the largest.)



            Now I am going to share with you a little Bible trivia.  Those are things that are fun to hear about but not important to remember.    Not only does the Old Testament have the most books, but the longest book in the Bible is in the Old Testament.  Can anybody guess which one that is?  Psalms.  That’s right.  Psalms has 150 chapters.  If I added them up right, Psalms has 2,457 verses.  Not only does the New Testament have the fewest books, but the shortest books in the Bible are in the New Testament.  Several of them have only one chapter.  Second Peter has only thirteen verses.  The longest verse in the Bible is in the Old Testament.  That is Esther 8:9 which in the King James translation has ninety words.  The shortest verse in the Bible is in the New Testament.  John 11:35 has only two words, “Jesus wept.”

            Here is what I want you to remember.  Even though it is shorter some people think the New Testament is the most important part of the Bible (Hold the NT Boomerang below the OT Boomerang so it looks larger.) because that is the part that tells about Jesus and what he did.  Other people say the Old Testament is most important (Move the OT Boomerang to below the NT one.) because that tells us God is the creator, explains how sin entered the earth, has the Ten Commandments, and teaches that there are consequences to sin.  Jesus and the writers of the New Testament thought the Old Testament was important.  (Move the OT Boomerang below the NT one.)  The Old Testament is quoted 283 times in the New Testament.     The book of Hebrews in the New Testament explains how the Old Testament sacrifices and work done by the High Priest are symbols helping us understand what Jesus did in the New Testament.  (When you say New Testament, move the NT Boomerang below the OT Boomerang.  When you say Old Testament, move that Boomerang to the bottom.)  There were many predictions made in the Old Testament that became true in the New Testament proving that Jesus was the promised Savior.  God made many promises in the Old Testament that were kept in the New Testament.  There are other promises made in both the Old and New Testaments that have not come true yet, but we know that God keeps His promises so we believe those promises will be kept as well. 

            (Put the Boomerangs on each other so the audience can see they are the same size.)  The Old Testament and the New Testament are equally important.  They were both inspired by God meaning he told the writers what to say.  They are both intended to teach us.  They are both valuable to read.


     The Boomerangs are a well known optical illusion that works automatically.  Their shapes fool the eyes into thinking the one held below the other is the largest. 

 Origin and Inspiration:

     The inspiration for this routine was an article by Duane in the March 2001 issue of Seeing Truth.  In his routine, Duane used the strings of a Pom Pom Stick to represent the Old Testament and New Testament.  (The Pom Pom Stick is a prop invented by Ali Bongo.)  In his original article Duane said his inspiration was seeing a member of the FCM performing a Pom Pom Stick routine in the 1980’s.  He didn’t remember who it was or any of the details of the routine.  He used the basic idea in creating his version.  I have since found out that earlier version was created by Doug Kornwolf and it was published in the May/June 1986 issue of Christian Conjurer.

            Using Duane’s routine as a starting place, I created my own Pom Pom Stick routine that was different from his.  He used the colors of the pom poms as symbols of relevant parts of his message that in both the Old and New Testament salvation is by faith.  In my version, I used the changing lengths of the strings to illustrate the size of the two sections of the Bible and the relative importance some people give to each.  When you read a routine you should use it as a starting point and rewrite it to fit your intended audience and your style of performance.  My version, which was created for a children’s sermon, was published in the October/November 2005 issue of The Christian Conjurer and the May/June 2007 issue of The Cross and the Clown.

            I have enjoyed using the Pom Pom Stick version, and it gets great audience response.  However, I did not want to take my Pom Pom Stick while flying to a lecture and performance tour.  So, I came up with this version using the Boomerang optical illusion.  The props pack flat and are indestructible.   Being inspected by the TSA would not damage them.  Most of the patter is similar to my earlier routine except for one brief section that had to be edited out because it relied on a move with the Pom Pom Stick that did not have a corresponding Boomerang move.

            Remember that there is usually more than one method for performing an effect.  No effect is ideal under all circumstances.  Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.  Each venue has its challenges.  You should choose the method that best meets the needs of the venues where you will be working.

Copyright 2009 by Bruce "Charlie" Johnson.  All rights reserved.

Originally published in Duane Laflin's Advance Newsletter 


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