God made it clear on Monday that he is not too pleased with tacky lawn ornaments, especially big ones associated with churches:
MONROE, Ohio – A six-story statue of Jesus Christ was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, leaving only a blackened steel skeleton and pieces of foam that were scooped up by curious onlookers Tuesday.
The “King of Kings” statue, one of southwest Ohio’s most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.
The lightning strike set the statue ablaze around 11:15 p.m. Monday, Monroe police dispatchers said.
The sculpture, about 62 feet tall and 40 feet wide at the base, showed Jesus from the torso up and was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus because of the way the arms were raised, similar to a referee signaling a touchdown. It was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame, which is all that remained Tuesday. (Associated Press)
Kind of looks like the last few scenes of the “Terminator”. I’ve got to say that I prefer the finished product. It’s so minimalist. To me, the original statue looked like Jesus was tired of playing with his little rubber toy cross and wanted Abba to lift him out of the tub. Anyway, the story gets even better:
Some people were scooping up pieces of the statue’s foam from the nearby pond to take home with them, said church co-pastor Darlene Bishop.
“This meant a lot to a lot of people,” she said.
Keith Lewis, of nearby Middletown, arrived at the church around 7 a.m. Tuesday to photograph the remains for his wife. Lewis said he had viewed the statue as both an oddity and an inspiration.
Cassie Browning, a church member from Dayton, said she was driving home when she saw smoke and noticed the statue was missing.
Travelers on I-75 often were startled to come upon the huge statue by the roadside, but many said America needs more symbols like it. So many people stopped at the church campus that church officials had to build a walkway to accommodate them.
Bishop said the statue will be rebuilt.
“It will be back, but this time we are going to try for something fireproof,” she said.
The 4,000-member, nondenominational church was founded by Bishop and her husband, former horse trader Lawrence Bishop.
Lawrence Bishop said in 2004 he was trying to help people, not impress them, with the statue. He said his wife proposed the Jesus figure as a beacon of hope and salvation.
Anyway, I hope this church has learned it’s lesson. And I hope other churches get the idea that great big “Roadside America” statues of Jesus (you never do see any of Moses, Mohammed or Buddha do you?) are not the kind of thing that God is too crazy about. I mean, when was the last time you heard of Paul Bunyan or the Meineke Man going up in flames?
Unless you think that this was just a coincidence and God didn’t have a hand in it. Well, OK. But I’ll bet this church makes the claim with their insurance company that this was an “act of God”.