We're in the middle of a really great series at Artisan Church. It's called "Flannelgraph: The Old Testament Story, Less Fuzzy," and we're making a new gigantic 4'x8' flannelgraph board each week. (Details here.) Now if you don't know what a flannelgraph is, well, God bless you. But if you grew up in the church as I did, this fuzzy didactic tool needs no introduction; you have plenty of memories—fond or otherwise—of your Sunday School teacher using it to imprint the stories and characters of the Bible into your brain. And it probably worked!
To an extent.
Because if you are anything like me, you may have ended up with a fairly strong knowledge of the stories, but not much understanding of the narrative. I often joke that when I was a kid, I just assumed that Abraham lived down the street from Peter and James, and sometimes they'd get together with Noah and Jesus, who brought Zaccheus to dinner once in a while. Like some biblical Sesame Street.
So it's somewhat ironic that one of the purposes of this Flannelgraph series is to give our people a better knowledge of the entire Old Testament story. In four weeks, we are telling the whole story, from creation through the divided kingdom and exile of Israel—all in preparation for the season of Advent, which begins on the final Sunday of the Flannelgraph series.
Because it's not okay for people of faith to be ignorant of their own story.
Meanwhile, Abel has really been into it, and we've made it a school project to make his own flannelgraph. Not one with biblical characters, at least not yet. Just little felt people playing baseball under a sky that is alternately sunny and cloudy. We've even talked about making flannelgraphs for his cousins for Christmas, which would be awesome low-cost "relational gifts."
So if you're in Rochester, it's not too late to get in on the story: come and join us for the final two weeks of the series. And if you're not, maybe consider building your own flannelgraph. It's easy and affordable; all you need is felt and some glue. It's a great way to help kids and grown-ups alike get creative and immerse themselves in the stories that matter.
Just don't forget about the narrative.
Edited to add: Those wavy lines in the ground on the right? They're totally quicksand.