John Bjerklie and the Homeless

I’ve been reading through Taking it to the Streets this year. It’s a great book about how to live out faith as an artist, and gives some awesome examples of artists being incarnational on the streets of their city.

One story I found very cool is that of John Bjerklie, who started attending a Bible study targeting the homeless of New York City. He was invited to lead the Bible study through art, which he had done for five years at the time the book was written.

One of the things that I always did that helped me in my growth as an artist was I would read the Bible and I’d try to draw. So with the homeless people, we read the Bible and try to draw, I mean it’s about as basic as it gets. We would say, “What’s the picture that comes to your mind?” And then we’d sit down and we’d try to draw it, and it was just mind-blowing what would come out. (Corbitt & Nix-Early, 133)

That is amazing on so many levels, and profound in its simplicity. He also put together a Christmas calendar yearly featuring drawings from the Bible study members. All profits went to meet the needs of the homless group members.

Corbitt, J. Nathan & Nix-Early, Vivian. Taking it to the Streets. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2003.