Middle America a superhero? Buckle in, I’ll explain. An alien from a planet called Krypton crash-lands on Earth. He has superpowers beyond your wildest imagination. In the wrong hands, he could destroy all of humanity. The fate of the planet depends on you keeping him grounded. What are you going to do? Send him to Middle America!
If you’re not a superhero nerd like me, you may not realize it, but I’m talking about Superman. Superman may have been from Krypton, but he grew up as Clark Kent in Kansas. And without the American Midwest, Superman never would’ve been the hero we love today.
I experienced the power of the Midwest firsthand when I left home to go to college in Springfield, MO. Since then, my wife and I have moved around a bit with different Life.Church locations and now we’re back in beautiful Springfield, Mo., again! What I never expected was that I would find a new home that helped shape who I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say the American Midwest is better than anywhere else in the world. It’s just where I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life and I think it can teach us a few things. Okay, if Middle America is a superhero, what can it do?
10 Superpowers of Middle America
- Friendliness is a way of life. It’s more than just a smile and a hello. If you’ve never lived in the Midwest, you’ll be refreshingly surprised by the genuine kindness of people you’ve never met.
- Midwesterners love their teams. Packers vs. Bears! Hoosier basketball! Cardinals Nation! Need I say more? If you’re looking for instant community (and who isn’t) you’ve got it—as long as you’re rooting for the right team!
- You experience all four seasons. I’ll never forget my first fall in the Midwest. My mind was blown by vibrant colors I’d never seen before. When you fully experience all four seasons—not just a mild or extreme version of the seasons—it makes you appreciate each one for what it is. It shapes a more tangible understanding of the Bible’s metaphor for the changing seasons of life.
- Outdoor adventures are around every corner. It’s the land of 10,000 lakes—and that’s just one midwestern state! God’s creative genius is on display throughout the Midwest. Living here helped me appreciate God’s creation with fresh perspective by getting out and experiencing it firsthand.
- They work the land. When God created this world, he placed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. God gave Adam and Eve the gift of hard work, and they used it to worship Him. Living in the Midwest around farms, ranches, and agriculture helped me understand the value of hard work and to see it as a gift. But it’s not all work and no rest, which brings me to my next point.
- You have the freedom to slow down. For many people in the Midwest, there is a slower pace to life. They practice God’s commandment to balance hard work with real, weekly rest. With more margin comes more time to invest in the important things in life, like relationships. What if ‘the good life’ has less to do with our income and more to do with the margin we live with?
- They have some really fun cities. You may think of small-town living when you think of the Midwest, but don’t be fooled! You don’t need to travel far for a cultural experience. Just check out the likes of Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Wichita, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Detroit, and Indianapolis.
- They’ve got finger-licking good food. Everything from cheese curds to Kansas City BBQ. What more could you want?
- You know your neighbor. There is a strong sense of community across many midwest towns. You know your neighbors, and your neighbors know you. This kind of community creates healthy environments to raise families and fosters a sense of identity tied to local neighborhoods. Jesus made a big deal about this superpower, too, when he basically said loving your neighbor was second only to loving God.
- You’ll love the modesty and humility, midwestern America’s core values. Why did Superman disguise his power by living as Clark Kent? Because true power doesn’t need to show itself powerful. James 3:13 NIV reads: Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Modesty and humility are the values that create quiet strength in a person. And they also happen to be the greatest superpower of Middle America.
If you don’t live in Middle America, that doesn’t mean you can’t relocate some of these qualities to your hometown. Which superpower from the list is already a part of your city? Which will you take home with you?