Christian Themes

(Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Andrew’s struggle to follow his own conscience provides a framework for the narrative of The Wind in the Wheat. In the beginning, Andrew is captured by his vision from God and motivated by his desire to serve others, but he soon sees the talents he wants to be used by God being used by others to bring gain to themselves and to Andrew. The resulting power, fame, and wealth are all benefits he does not seek but that he decides to accept when John and others convince him they will enable his ministry to reach more people. In the end, Andrew finds this path to service unacceptable, and he abandons it to pursue a simpler life.

The author uses the image of a larger-than-life promotional poster of Andrew to comment on humility and self-image. As the unassuming young man from Kansas begins his climb to fame, John and Dove Records hold a large party to introduce Andrew and his album to members of the media and music business insiders. One of the items revealed at the party is a nine-foot-square poster featuring a retouched photograph of Andrew, in clothes and with a facial expression not of his own choosing. Several times later, the author contrasts the poster version of Andrew, seemingly perfect and full of power in his self-confidence, to the genuine Andrew, confident but humble in his calling from God.

In one of his confrontations with John, Andrew speaks of the handful of people in his hometown church who faithfully stack chairs after each service, important work, but mundane and thankless. Andrew relates the work of these chair stackers to his own former playing at the church and at the local nursing home, often for those who did not understand his talents. He envies the simplicity of the chair stackers and speculates whether it is they, and not he, who are truly serving God and already rule the world in God’s eyes.