January 17, 2021

Waste and Void: Tornadoes in S. Indiana

Some of you may have seen images on the news of the devastating damage and destruction wrought by storms and tornadoes in southern Indiana. One town, Marysville, IN, was completely leveled.

I reprint some of the photos today (source: Indianapolis Star) to remind us to pray for those who lost family members and neighbors, homes, property, and possessions, and who are now in their own personal wildernesses of trauma, grief, and confusion.

Damage on the ground in Marysville

A Marysville resident


Further damage in Marysville

A homeowner in Marysville








Damage to Henryville High School

The town of Henryville














Devastation to trees in Clark County

Stripped trees and a leveled church










• • •

My spirit is poured out in agony
as I see the desperate plight of my people.

• Lamentations 2:11, NLT

• • •

If you are interested in sending monetary donations to assist storm victims in Indiana, here is one way you can do that, as per the instructions of one of our local Indianapolis television stations:

WTHR Cares has a community-wide effort to aid our fellow Hoosiers who were impacted by Friday’s deadly tornadoes in Southern Indiana. We’ve set up three convenient ways to donate. All proceeds will go directly to the Indiana Red Cross.

  • By Phone: Beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday, WTHR will host a phone bank at the station for Hoosiers to call in donations. You can make your donation by calling 1-877-987-1313 between 6-11:30 pm Sunday. VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover credit cards will be accepted for donations. The phone bank will re-open at 4:30 am Monday and stay open until 11:30 pm Monday.
  • If you live in Indiana: Kroger is a WTHR Cares community partner. You can make a cash or credit card donation at any Kroger location across Central Indiana. Donations can be made at Kroger for two weeks, starting Sunday, March 4. In Indianapolis, you can stop by the WTHR studios at 1000 North Meridian Street Monday, from 4:30 am-8 pm to make a cash donation in person. Also, donations can also be made at Forum Credit Union branches starting at 9 am Monday.
  • Checks can be sent to:

WTHR – Attn.:  Hoosier Tornado Relief
1000 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

  • Donate to the Red Cross relief fund: People can help those affected by disasters like the Midwest tornadoes and storms, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. The Red Cross is only accepting monetary donations at this time.


  1. You know….whenever I hear of a disaster like this, or see the pictures on TV it breaks me. And yet…I think of what John Piper has taught about torandoes being God’s punishment. (Or his take on other disasters..) And as always I feel sick at the idea of someone getting sexually excited at the suffering of others. Thanks John…

    That’s my John Piper diatribe for the month of March…

    • Eagle, you chose this dissaster to damn John Piper? That is crude.

      • And why is that Vern? John Piper has taught that in the past about tornadoes in coming down in the Minneapolis- St. Paul area. He’s taught that natural disasters are God’s punishment/warning. Yes it is sick….and so is John Piper’s theology. My point is that having consumed John Piper for a while…now while out of the faith, when a tornado hits I think about it becuase of what Piper has taught. Just a natural reaction…

        Greg Boyd has rebuked John Piper…you can read him here:


    • cermak_rd says

      In the history of humanity, it’s probably been a normal notion that tornadoes and other extreme weather were signs of a divine being’s displeasure. This belief brought some means of comfort to the people because they could take actions to appease the deities.

      In modernity ,there is no control of natural forces like weather. We don’t have the weather disruption array of ST:TNG so all we can do is act in a mutually supportive way by donating aid to the victims after the event.

  2. Danielle says

    Are all the internet monk posters from Indiana OK? I know there are several of you …

    • Not all, Danielle, but many. Chaplain Mike, Damaris, Lisa, Daniel Jepsen, and Craig Bubeck.

      • CM… Who from the IMonk community is affected?

        • No one directly involved with the site. The damage was in southern and southeastern Indiana; we’re a few hours north of there.

        • The problem with Tornados is they are so terrible and so very localized. I’ve been hiding from them most of my life. In storm cellars and such due to where I lived all but 10 of my 57 years. Most recently in an underground Target. But I’ve always been missed. While nearby at times it looks like a giant just wiped his hand across the earth.

          So you prepare all the time for something that will likely never happen to you personally.

  3. I read that at least one of these tornadoes contained winds of up to 200 mph. That’s so hard to imagine until you see these photos of the devastation. My heart goes out to the victims.

  4. Rick Dykema says

    I’m a youth pastor in Michigan and am exploring the logistics of bringing 20-30 people for a week in June to help. Does anyone have a connection or info on how to be most helpful?

    • Rick, I would suggest starting with the Red Cross. Go to their website and get local phone numbers. If you are part of a denomination or have connections with churches in southern Indiana, Louisville, or Cincinnati, you might want to contact them too. Here are contacts our IN-KY synod sent out:

      Sherry Buresh, Christian Appalachian Project Disaster Relief
      4192 North Wilderness Road
      Mt. Vernon, KY 40456
      Tel: 606-256-0017, Cell: 606-308-9234, sburesh@chrisapp.org


      Steve Cain, EDEN Homeland Security Project Director Purdue University
      615 West State Street
      Room 211
      West Lafayette, IN 47907
      Tel: 765-494-8410
      Cell: 765-427-8881

      • You might also check with God’s Pit Crew; Gleaning for the World; and the Catholic Charities office nearest the communities hit [ NOT a religion push….they just have a very extensive network to coordinate help].

        Bless you…some of us are too old and physically incapable to go, so we can send checks. Your “kids” are likely broke, but they have energy and strong young backs!

    • Alison Zajicek says

      You might also contact the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) at http://www.umcor.org They will coordinate through local churches for volunteers to help, including providing training so that the work can be done safely. My church in north Alabama has been host site for lots of volunteer groups they have provided, to the benefit of all concerned.

  5. Indeed, so heartbreaking! I grew up in central IN, and still have family there and in OH. Fortunately, they were well north of the tornadic storms.

    As, I said before on here, my colleagues and I always watch with a sense of dread when we are monitoring these outbreaks. I had the same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was watching this outbreak unfold as I did for the April 27th Southeast outbreak last year. Please pray for the people affected and help out financially if you can!

    Also, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone here who lives in the U.S., especially in areas prone to severe weather, to get a NOAA weather radio. I’m not kidding when I say it is the single most effective thing you can do to warn yourself of impending severe weather!

  6. Thanks for the information. Almsgiving is one of the traditional Lenten disciplines, so let’s be generous, iMonks.

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