Are You a Cheetah?

September 23

I love Cheetahs – I always have. They’re clearly a beautiful animal and most people know that they are fast, but they are even more wonderfully made than you may realize. Yes, I’m a cheetah groupie.

As you probably know, cheetahs can accelerate up to more than 70 mph over short distances, but did you know that it only takes them three seconds to get up to that speed? That makes them without a doubt the fastest land animal. In fact, they only touch the ground every 20 feet during a full sprint, and during a sprint, they are the only animal that can turn in mid-air (think Michael Jordan of animals).

Did you know that cheetahs do not have sharp claws like other animals in the cat family, but have paws like a dog to grip into the dirt better for running? However, with those claws they can’t climb trees. While that may not seem like much, it means cheetahs can’t hide their “kills” away from predators like hyenas and other animals who might steal them.

Cheetahs have a large, highly flexible and muscular tail that gives them incredible balance and allows them to maneuver quickly when running. They also have the unique ability to keep their head in a constant horizontal plane when running. It allows them to focus on their prey and not have to adjust their gaze to body movements at their high speeds. Pretty cool, right?

You can’t help but be amazed and respect the marvelous way in which God designed the cheetah. It is a very focused animal – it’s all about speed – and it does its job amazingly well. Unfortunately, that also contributes to them having more trouble defending themselves, a high cub mortality rate, and being endangered. That extreme specialization turns out to be a two-edged sword.

Now consider us – humans. While we were created distinct from animals, we are the most adaptable lifeform on the planet. Nevertheless, we can often make the most progress if we focus intently on a task with 100% attention, not unlike the cheetah. A bit ironic if you think about it.

So, the question remains, “Are You a Cheetah?” As Christians in this world, we need to have a fixed and unwavering gaze on Christ and fulfilling his calling for our lives. We need to hold to biblical truths no matter the cost, and boldly proclaim our faith in all walks of life. We are like a cheetah in this regard. However, we also need to engage at many different levels and in many different ways with those around us, and more generally the world at large, so we can’t afford to act like a cheetah all the time.

This mixture of perspectives is never more evident than in the political arena. Those of us engaged in public policy need to always hold fast to our values and the values of those we represent. To have that cheetah-like fixation. At the same time, we need to work with others on both sides of issues to make progress defending and advocating for those values.

I would maintain that as a Christian organization, we are, and rightly should be, a cheetah at heart. We will defend your biblical values to the end, but still do so in a way that is effective and winsome. By taking this approach, those of us who profess to be Christians will have the greatest impact and truly show God’s marvelous handiwork in creating us. Even if we can’t be a cheetah.

Mark Jorritsma
Executive Director

P.S. Our new website for North Dakota Family Alliance is up and running! You can check it out here: On the site you can read more about us, contact us, donate and more.  It’s just the start of what will be a growing, full-service website, so let us know what you think. We look forward to continuing to represent you and your values as we move into this new phase of our organization.