Faith column: Blown into a land stranger than Iowa

Our culture is becoming windier than southwest Minnesota.

Chad Werkhoven
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WORTHINGTON — I saw it zooming overhead, moving faster than I’d ever seen a living creature go on its own: a bird being carried along by the seemingly ever present north wind that defines southwest Minnesota’s weather.

It must have been an exhilarating feeling for that bird, seeing the houses and trees disappear underneath it at breakneck speeds, a feeling often only experienced by fighter jet pilots. The bird flew out of sight as quickly as it had appeared, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it just kept going south until the wind finally petered out over a strange and mysterious land called Iowa.

I wonder what happens to birds in this situation. Do they try and make their way back home, or do they just take up with a new flock wherever it is that they end up?

Wind isn’t a problem until you try to stand against it. It’s always easy to just go with the flow; in fact it can even feel invigorating and energizing. The problem is, of course, that you’re likely going to end up a long way from where you began.

It takes massive effort and energy to keep from being blown away around here. In order for our local birds to remain local, they need to keep a death grip on a branch, assuming the tree they’re in isn’t splintered by straight line winds. Sometimes even the structures we build to house our animals and belongings are ripped apart by storms.


Our culture is becoming windier than southwest Minnesota. Just like that bird I saw that had freed itself from its mooring, it’s way easier to go with the flow and just let the currents take you where they will. In doing so, you’ll be warmly accepted by society as your pride and popularity soar.

But sooner or later, just like the no longer local bird I saw for an instant, you’ll find yourself in a land even stranger than Iowa, separated from the flock, and far from the designs given by the God of peace. Even some of our oldest institutions are being ripped apart by the hurricane force winds of change blasting through our culture like mobile homes in a tornado.

One of the biblical lessons we might learn from our blown-away-bird analogy is to keep a firm grip on that which is solidly rooted. A verse our congregation is reading in Philippians 4 today as part of our daily Bible reading plan teaches us that the strength of our Spiritual grip isn’t regulated by eating healthy food, but rather by thinking healthy thoughts.

Philippians 4:8-9 says that we should think about that which is true, noble, right, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. In other words, stay rooted by setting your mind upon godly things.

One of the best ways to do this is by reading and digging into the Bible each day. We’d love to have you join us. You can read or listen to each day’s chapter and a short devotional that helps you dig deeper at

Philippians 4 promises that if we think about these things and put them into practice, then “the God of peace will be with you.”

That’s way better than ending up blown into a land stranger than Iowa.

Chad Werkhoven is pastor of Worthington’s Christian Reformed Church.

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