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The Feedback Loop!

January 15, 2016 / D2 / Feedback Loop

Welcome to the MTH Feedback Loop

MTHFBL Art_150The More Than Hearing Feedback Loop is a segment where Molly and David talk about some of the multiple intelligence illustrations and special effects from previous More Than Hearing episodes that we have actually used in worship and how they turned out. We included a Feedback Loop in our third episode and expected that it would be a regular part of the show.  This Feedback Loop (FBL) was originally intended to be included in the most recent episode, but the other parts ran to just about exactly our half-hour cut-off. So we cut the extra FBL segment. But it has a really cool idea that we wanted you all to hear about, so we decided to add it as a bonus episode all on its own.

Two Items for Your Consideration

In this FBL  Molly and I discuss Baptism by Fire and Chia Pets.

Baptism by Fire:

The Gospel reading from the Baptism of the Lord Sunday included John the Baptist talking about his baptism with water and Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Now we had discussed this in our Advent 3 episode and wondered what baptism with fire could be and how to show it. The idea came to me while I was in sanctuary. Set the baptismal font on fire! Well, not exactly. But here’s what I wrote about it:

Had a wild idea! You must BE VERY CAREFUL with this one, as it involves fire and so is inherently dangerous. TRY THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. Please consider all the safety cautions and precautions below.

But any way, as an Eye Smart SFX for the Luke passage (or the Isaiah passage) you could pour rubbing alcohol visibly into your baptismal font as if it were water (“I baptize you with water”) and then light it on fire (“He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”). The idea is to give people a strong visual they are familiar with – water in the font – and transform it. Theologically, the baptism of fire may be seen both as a refining fire to purge out spiritual dross or chaff and also as a preformation of the tongues of fire at Pentecost.

The surface of the alcohol will burn when lit by a match or lighter. Yellow flames will rise several inches above the surface and will burn continuously until the alcohol is consumed. This will produce a good bit of heat, a fairly strong smell, but relatively little smoke.


• DO NOT go into this unprepared! DO try this in a controlled way before you get to worship so you know what you are doing and know what to expect.
• DO be sure that your baptismal font won’t catch on fire, obviously. Steel, stone, cast iron – NOT wood or aluminum (gets too hot). Any metal will get HOT, so be mindful if it is in a wooden pedestal like mine is.
• DO make sure your baptismal font is stable and won’t tip over easily. If not, don’t do this.
• DON’T use too much rubbing alcohol and DO use a lower concentration, like 70% rather than 91%, to contain the burn.
• DON’T let it burn too long. Keep the temperature and people’s anxiety under control by making this a short demonstration.
• DO have a non-flammable, tight-fitting lid or cover with which to extinguish the flame.
• DO NOT try to extinguish the flames with water!!
• DO have a fire extinguisher at hand and someone who knows how to use it present, informed, and ready.
• DO be careful of your polyester robe sleeves! and any other loose clothing, long hair, etc.
• DO NOT try to move the font while it is on fire to show it off.
• DO have an usher/greeter or two ready near by to keep anyone (kids, for example) from coming up to see the flames.
• DO NOT do this demonstration if you are in any way anxious, nervous, or afraid about it or about people’s reactions.

Remember, this is just an idea. Those who try it take any risks involved upon themselves, no matter how cool it might be. But it is pretty cool!

So listen to the show to hear us talk about it. We both did it and it worked well. Very memorable.

Return of the Chia Pet

We wrapped up our discussion reporting on one of our first SFX projects, the Chia Pet from the first Sunday in Advent. The idea here was to have a growing thing during Advent to remind us of the passage from the prophet about God causing a Righteous Branch to spring up for David. Molly and I had mixed success with this project. Mine turned out pretty well, and the kids in worship were particularly interested from week to week to see how it had changed. Molly doesn’t keep an office at her church, so no one is there during the week to attend to a terra cotta planters and such. Consequently, hers didn’t grow very well and got a little putrid even. Just a reminder that some of these ideas take more work and shepherding than others.


Join the Loop!

Let us know how these multiple intelligence ideas are working for you! Leave us a comment below or send us an email at telling us what went well, what missed, and what you came up with on your own. We’ll try to include it in the next FBL episode!



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