Friday, November 2

Flannelgraphs & "Old" Testament Women

Sometimes I work out a problem in my head while in bed at three in the morning. Lately the problems have involved green screen effects while shooting and compositional challenges that will be missed until post-production reveals the surprises.

We're getting ready to shoot the latest Women of the Bible Story entitled "Rahab." I just finished my hard learning curve in post-production on "Ruth."But my learning curve has not been limited to camera angles, hard shadows on a chroma-keywall , tracking markers and unfamiliar software. I realized last Saturday morning after a long walk that my learning curve has included the Bible.

Remember the days of flannelgraphs? If you don't recognize that word, you missed out. Flannelgraphs were those felt characters that Sunday School teachers would place on a felt board, creating amazing scenes and settings to help tell the stories of the Bible. As time went on they became more elaborate. There were amazing prop sets for Noah and detailed sets of trumpets and such for Jericho. The characters seemed to become friendlier as time went on. The smiles were wider on Elijah and Gideon, the animals on the ark all had wide smiles, and you just wanted to poke them all in the tummies to make them giggle.

So yeah, I knew the stories of the Bible. I knew about the Ark and Gideon and even that lady Rahab in that exciting story about the walls falling in Jericho. But I have a lot to learn.

I never saw the flannelgraph of thousands upon thousands of people bloated and floating after the heaven sent tsunami covered the Earth. (Were the giraffes still smiling?) That sunny little Ark and pretty rainbow that followed represented an emotional upheaval in the Heart of our Creator.

I've seen the flannelgraph fairytale of the Walls of Jericho. The diligent priests (chef hats) marching and dancing a jig around the (castle?) walls, while behind followed a squad of bronze-age Buzz Lightyears. I did not see the next Sunday School scene after the walls actually fell... the butchering of the inhabitants on the points of those cartoon swords, and the flattening of a spiritually dark and wicked religious culture.

I began to see Ruth and Rahab from a new perspective. When I think of today's headlines out of the Middle-East and other war-torn regions of the world, there are words that ring true to the experiences of women in the Old Testament and women living right now. Cultural Oppression. Famine. Uncertainty. Refugee status. Genocide. Religious systems that demand submission. Kingdoms falling. These are women searching for something more secure than the daily burdens of a cruel existence. Where do you find hope in such a place?

There is a beauty to these Old Testament accounts. The beauty is that they are not fairytales. They are eyewitness accounts of women in the lineage of Christ who are caught up in a harsh reality, who keep holding their heads up high in a maelstrom of events we are still witnessing today.

Flannelgraphs are fun and creative. But if we look closer around us, we'll see even more gritty and redeeming stories happening to real people all around us. Pray that my flannelgraphs will communicate with urgency and practicality the love of a devoted Savior... using all the colors that He created.