Flannel Boards!

Did you have Flannel Boards in your Sunday School class as a child? We all have a memory of the flannel board whether it was at church or in school.  This was the tool of use when you couldn’t put on a puppet show.

The flannel board consists of a board that sits on an easel and is covered in a flannel material that may have been a solid color or a scenic background.  Flannel cutout characters could be placed on the board and it would stick. Sunday school teachers used this amazing technology to illustrate bible stories every week.  It was simple, but it was visual and interactive.  If your class had a flannel board, you can easily recall Peter being placed on the board looking confused as Jesus said something brilliant. You might remember the teach adding a flannel tomb and a second piece of flannel that look like a stone.  Sometimes the teacher would let the student roll the stone away from the tomb.

This was children’s ministry before the church could afford screens in every classroom. Today a flannel board costs about twelve bucks. You can purchase characters and scenic bits cheaply too. This simple ministry tool went a long way and was customizable for the student curriculum. Compare this to what we have today: We purchased a video series with handouts and powerpoint templates. Our ministries have been moved to the big screen!

I think we are losing something here. In a culture addicted to screens, we simply offer them another screen.  Long live the flannel board!


The DACA Conversation

Listen as we try to figure out what DACA is all about.  It would be nice if we could have a law instead of an executive action for the people involved.  As it stands, a person who was brought in as a child must register every two years to have protections to stay in the country.  There is no pathway to citizenship through DACA. This is the program set up through an executive action by President Barrack Obama.

Now President Donald Trump says he’s going to end DACA in six months. He wants congress to put a bill in place that he can sign into law.  The problem is no one actually trusts his political party and administration to get this done after they could not pass laws that his own party wanted like healthcare reform.

Essentially the president is going to Trump Shame his political party into doing something, but why? His rhetoric throughout his campaign would not lead anyone to believe that he wants to help these people as much as he would like to deport them, but he said a lot of things during the campaign. He will probably try to tie this in with his plans for the wall. In essence, he will let 800,000 people under DACA stay if he can get his border wall.

So can the President get it done with an ineffective Congress?  Probably not, and in six months he’ll have to decide to whether or not to end the program and make these people who are currently protected illegal again.

The Nashville Statement


The Nashville Statement was released and people are angry.  The statement itself includes a preamble and fifteen articles about homosexuality and transgenderism. Each article includes a statement about what this document affirms and what it denies.

Article X states that it is sinful for any of us to show a little bit of grace to the LGBTQ+ community.  The Nashville Statement draws a line in the sand for christians that disagree with the ideas of the document, essentially saying that if you are against the writers, you are not a christian.

It is this kind of rhetoric that is destroying the Christian church. This document goes too far into our bedrooms, a sin that Christian leaders have been committing for far too long.  By drawing this line in the sand, the writers are telling the church to kick out anyone they find distasteful. While they use a graceful tone, no one can deny this outcome.

Can a statement like this help the failing church? Church attendance statistics are trending downwards. This statement will galvanize more christian leaders toward this disgraceful path.

We do not expect anyone to change their theology.  They will believe what they believe. That is not being demanded.  However, we must show love and kindness to people. Period.  This document thinks it is showing love and kindness, but instead it makes an entire group of people feel like they are less than human.

This statement will no doubt cause more reactions. There have already been several reactionary documents. What are we doing?  We are picking a side and writing our name on it.  All of these documents have a place where you can sign and show your approval.  The cynic in me wonders what they are doing with this list of names.