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LITTLE CLOWNING HELPS FAMILY SPREAD GOSPEL.



Byline: Camilla Cohee Visalia Times-Delta

John and Cindy Claussen are fools for the Lord, and they don't mind dressing the part.

Clad as clowns named Leviticus W. Doorknocker and Hannah Hosanna Hosanna (hōzăn`ə) [Heb.,=save now; Psalm 118], an intensified imperative, a cry, addressed to God, particularly used in the Feast of Tabernacles, when prayers for rain were offered. , the Claussens spread the gospel by exchanging their ``Sunday best'' for oversize o·ver·size  
n.
1. A size that is larger than usual.

2. An oversize article or object.

adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary.

Adj. 1.
 clothes, floppy shoes and bright-color wigs.

``It's a neat way to put the gospel out there,'' said John Claussen, pastor of First Christian Church First Christian Church can refer to:
  • First Christian Church, Winfield, Kansas Website
  • First Christian Church, Athens, Alabama
  • First Christian Church, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • First Christian Church, Lonoke, Arkansas
 in Visalia.

The Claussens have been Christian clowning for 11 years now, following the lead of Floyd Schaffer, a Lutheran pastor who revived the art in the 1960s. Christian clowning has been traced back to the Middle Ages.

``The beauty of the clown is universal,'' John Claussen said. ``With the oversized o·ver·size  
n.
1. A size that is larger than usual.

2. An oversize article or object.

adj. o·ver·size also o·ver·sized
Larger in size than usual or necessary.
 smile and oversized shoes, the clown takes everyday problems and magnifies them and then somehow stumbles through, and in the end, there's hope.''

Even a clown's makeup tells the story of the gospel, said Cindy Claussen.

``The white goes on first and represents the death of Jesus. Then the bright colors are added, which represent his resurrection,'' she said. ``You tell the whole Christian story in your face.''

Through skits and songs, this dynamic duo
''For the superheroes, see Batman and Robin.


Dynamic Duo (다이나믹 듀오) is a Korean hip hop duo, made up of members Choiza and Gaeko (former members of the trio, CBMass).
 provides entertainment and words from the gospel for nursing homes, schools, church organizations, banquets and hospitals.

The Claussens' four children, Jennifer, 11; Gabe, 9; Michael, 6; and Samuel, 5, have watched Leviticus W. Doorknocker and Hannah Hosanna touch hearts for years. Gabe Claussen said he was delighted when his parents finally agreed to let the kids join the act.

``I've been in a couple of their skits before,'' said Gabe, whose clown is called Doc Ology ol·o·gy  
n. pl. ol·o·gies Informal
A branch of learning.



[From -ology.]

Noun 1.
. ``This teaches people about God in a fun way. It's really fun to watch.''

But Gabe's sister, Jennifer, whose clown name Gloria Patri is taken from a Christian hymn, hopes people get more out of it than just fun.

``There's always a message,'' she said.

John Claussen agrees.

``Many times, Leviticus will try to answer a problem with a flat statement or try to bumble bum·ble 1  
v. bum·bled, bum·bling, bum·bles

v.intr.
1. To speak in a faltering manner.

2. To move, act, or proceed clumsily. See Synonyms at blunder.

v.tr.
 his way through it, and Hannah will help him and others in the church to see that there is a solution, and the solution is Christ,'' he said.

Christian clowning in no way makes fun of Christ.

``We become fools for Christ,'' he said. ``First Corinthians 4:10 tells us to be fools for Christ, so we take on that foolishness to lift Christ up.''

And certainly a sermon is never dull when it comes in the form of a clown skit.

``The message of the gospel has been out there for 2,000 years . . . We try to blend the traditional with the contemporary,'' John Claussen said.

The Claussens plan to offer workshops on Christian clowning.

``Christian clowning started for us as a way to teach high school vacation Bible study Bible study may refer to:
  • Biblical studies, the academic examination
  • Bible study (Christian), sometimes known as "Devotions" or "Quiet times"
Other terms related to the study of the bible:
  • Biblical criticism
  • Biblical hermeneutics
,'' he said. `It's amazing the effect it's had on people. We've had some people show an interest in learning to do this. It's something that adults and children can get something out of.''

Cindy Claussen said the art of Christian clowning shows that it's OK to have fun as a Christian.

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: John Claussen, pastor of the First Christian Churchin Visalia, performs a skit for the Awanas with his wife, Cindy, and children.

Associated Press Associated Press: see news agency.
Associated Press (AP)

Cooperative news agency, the oldest and largest in the U.S. and long the largest in the world.
 
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 13, 1996
Words:543
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