Drawing Parables

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Some Bible stories capture our interest and imagination. We can actually picture David’s stone hitting Goliath, Isaiah’s valley of dry bones, or Jesus feeding the 5,000. We can take pen and paper and draw these stories.

That’s actually happening at an adult Sunday school class led by Naomi Friend and David Schweingruber at Trinity CRC in Ames, Iowa. It all started when Naomi, an artist, brought drawing supplies for the class. David suggested that Naomi bring her art supplies and easel to the next class.

Most Sundays, David leads the discussion of a particular Bible story while Naomi depicts what is being discussed. Sometimes the class stops to look at Naomi’s work and offer comments and ideas about what could be added. When asked how Naomi’s artwork helps him better understand the parable or Bible passage they are studying, John Verkade said, “Naomi’s artwork gives me a different perspective of the parables, which broadens my understanding of them.” Matt Sandbulte said, “The vivid images in Naomi’s artwork stimulate my imagination. . . . Seeing the drawings take shape gives a sense of freshness to each parable because the artistic ideas are partly planned and partly spontaneous.”

These are the types of responses that Naomi appreciates hearing when she paints. She said, “I hope the art helps to refocus people’s interpretations so that they have another way to understand the written story. For me, it is helpful to reimagine the story in context and even more helpful to think of parallels in today’s world. My drawings are inspired by both of those things. I hope that it helps other people connect the work to their lives.”

About the Author

Kyle Hoogendoorn is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Rock Valley, Iowa.