Symbols Make Connections

Confession: Sometimes I watch/listen to a movie while I'm working! Oh, I know....that is so bad (ha,ha). Gee Jenny, you're really going off the deep end! But really, the fact of the matter is that despite being an introvert and REALLY loving the art studio business that I am able to have, well--sometimes it's just too quiet. In those moments I pop in a movie that I've reserved from the library or like yesterday I turn to the documentary category on Hulu.com Yesterday's choice was The Paperclips Project. The former teacher in me was drawn to the fact that this was started by a teacher in a school district when it became overwhelmingly apparent as to how homogeneous the student's world was. The paperclip project struck a chord and lasted for years as the entire community (and beyond) became involved. 

Without giving away the entire plot of the documentary I can share that a simple paperclip became the symbol that united the people to reinforce the message that then energized the participants to think about how they were treating each other and what they were doing for each other. Wow! That little symbol was powerful. The paperclip as a symbol has a history dating back to World War II. The story is told that patriots wore paper clips as a symbol of resistance to the German occupiers when other signs of resistance were forbidden. The clips were meant to denote solidarity and unity (i.e. we are bound together).

This is not different from reading the Bible and discovering that God used tangible signs and symbols throughout scripture as a way of communicating to His people. Often people were instructed to make use of such signs and symbols to help understand or to remember what God is teaching. So many Christian symbols come to mind! Of course there is the rainbow, unleavened bread, blood, oil, the dove, a lamb, and of course bread and wine. And the list goes on and on. Because we, at Carrot Top Studio, are in the business of using symbols we take this seriously. But after watching this movie yesterday I was struck to think about worship spaces and worship experiences I had recently been in. I wonder if we are using symbols visually and in our story telling to their fullest extent? Are we remember God's example of the powerful teaching tool that they can be? It's something to ponder....and now with this train of thought I can justify having that movie playing in the background while woring on a new Ordination stole design yesterday (grin!)

Here's the Paper Clips Project movie trailer if you are not familiar with it...