Most fighter pilots’ careers are fairly predictable: after a spell in the military they move into commercial aviation, or perhaps swap piloting planes for piloting a desk. However, Larry Van Pelt has taken a different road: with years of flying experience (including a spell as a test pilot) under his belt, he decided to spend his time drawing pictures of Jesus. More specifically, pictures of Jesus hovering over people’s shoulders and having a good nosey.
It’s all God’s idea, as Van Pelt recalls. “I was awakened in the middle of the night with a clear, vivid impression that the Lord wanted me to do some special drawings — drawings depicting ordinary people in their everyday environment — with one important addition: the presence of Jesus Christ and His involvement in those routine activities.”
As Van Pelt explains, “I had never drawn anything before, had no training in drawing, and had never really been interested in drawing.” After a spell being taught by a missionary, he honed his new-found drawing skills by practicing “the drawing of wild animals and Christmas cards.”
Eventually he felt confident enough to start his project. “After completing nearly twenty drawings, the time arrived for the crucial task of including an image of Jesus in the drawings,” Van Pelt Recalls. “A search for a suitable model to represent Jesus resulted in the selection of a young man who happened to be 33 years old! (the supposed age of Jesus at the end of His earthly ministry); had the length of hair and other physical characteristics often associated with images of Jesus; was willing to grow a beard; and, most importantly, was a devoted Christian.”
Van Pelt can certainly draw, but we’re not convinced that his drawings depict what he intends them to depict. The Guitarist picture seems to show a deformed member of Status Quo being beamed at by Yasser Arafat; The Student depicts a Bee Gee reading over a scholar’s shoulder, and if we were shown The Forest Ranger and asked to predict what happened next, we’d suggest that the titular ranger was about to be goosed by Badly Drawn Boy. Meanwhile the Golfer image seems to show the Son of God buried up to his knees in a sandpit.
The objective of the drawings is to “help Christians everywhere visualize the reality of Jesus’ presence in their lives at all times, particularly during those everyday tasks where we spend most of our time,” explains Van Pelt. “My hope is you will find that inspiration as you view the enclosed prints.” They certainly inspired us, although we suspect that adding irreverent captions to the images wasn’t quite what Van Pelt had in mind.