FLORIDAYS #5: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO TOUCHDOWN JESUS?
When the Grumpy family travels south each year they have become accustomed to watching for the landmarks along the way. Each of these noticeable features act as waypoints; almost becoming a checklist indicating the distance travelled.
Some of these landmarks are: the round tank painted as a basketball in Detroit, the flag high on a crane in Toledo, Dale Jarret’s car dealership, various Tim Horton’s, the many Outlet Malls/Flea Markets, the new Casino, Bill Hardin’s Guitar store, the Dayton News, the place in Florida where the fire trucks are manufactured and those frequent signs that declare, “We Bare All”.Interstate I-75 has so many of these landmarks it makes our trip interesting and less boring. Really, after about 45 trips to Florida, Grumpy feels that his vehicle could find its own way to our destination.
In the past two years; however, we’ve discovered that one of our favorite landmarks has been noticeably missing.
Each time we passed through Ohio we have asked ourselves, “Where in the heck is “TOUCHDOWN JESUS”?”
Now, Grumpy means no offense if you are church going person of faith. What I’m talking about here is a giant statue of the Messiah with hands raised much as a referee does to indicate a touchdown. Residents of Ohio also referred to this statue as the Big J, Quicksand Jesus, Super Jesus, Drowning Jesus, Big Butter Jesus and MC 62-Foot Jesus.
Incredibly, we’re talking about a 62-foot (19 m)-tall statue on the east side of Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church, a 4000+ member Christian mega-church near Monroe, Ohio. The sculpted statue was completed in September 2004 at a cost of approximately $250,000. The completed statue weighed 16,000 pounds (7,000 kg).
Although the statue appeared as if it was carved from stone it was actually sculpted using a thin skin of fiberglass over a flammable Styrofoam interior – stabilized by a metal frame. Please Note: FLAMMABLE “is” the word of the day.
Grumpy would question why a church would spend that amount of coin on such an edifice, given all the good deeds that could be done with that cash. But with 4000 members filling the collection plates perhaps anything is possible. Each time we passed that effigy Grumpy asked himself, “I wonder what the Big Guy in the Sky really thinks about such an obvious extravagance.”
Well, I suspect he/she was a little miffed. During a storm on June 14, 2010, the giant “King of Kings” Styrofoam and fiberglass Jesus statue was struck by lightning and burst into flames.
A few bible verses support this notion. I think the Big Guy was pissed!
He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.
The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning.
WIKIPEDIA DESCRIBED THE EVENT THIS WAY:
On June 15, 2010, the statue was struck by lightning and consumed in the resulting blaze. The statue was sculpted using a thin skin of fiberglass over a flammable (word of the day) Styrofoam interior stabilized by a metal frame, and the fire left only its internal metal structure standing.
Comedian Heywood Banks wrote a funny song about all of this action and reaction to it, called- Big Butter Jesus (is Toast!).
For a good laugh, click this link to see video of the fire and hear Bank’s great song.
Or, if your into conspiracies, here’s something from that other big religion that makes a lot of news. They too, are a little miffed with this Idolatry.
Soon after the fire, the pastor of the church stated that the church planned to have the statue rebuilt using fireproof material. In the days after the destruction, the church’s digital sign displayed this message “He’ll be back” displayed.
PASTOR BOB: “No matter what Satan puts asunder – the Solid Rock Church will knuckle under and start a funder to rebuild after this blasphemous blunder ! I’m asking my flock to fill those plates to overflowing. PTL”
And guess what, even though the statue cost about $250,000 to construct, it was insured for $500,000 because the artist, Brad Coriell, had donated his time to create this figure. The damage to the statue and amphitheater was estimated at $700,000 with $300,000 being for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater.
We’re talking nearly a million bucks spent for no other purpose than edification.
As William Wordsworth opined, “Rapine, avarice, expense, this is idolatry; and these we adore; Plain living and high thinking are no more.”
Unbelievably, PETA has offered funding through an “anonymous Christian donor” to help rebuild the statue if they are allowed to promote veganism at the church.
I can just hear the Sunday service.
PASTOR BOB: “The Devil struck down our Lord to perish in the fires of Hell. I ask you, good people of Monroe, increase your tithes such that He might rise from the ashes, fireproofed and ready to raise the profile of the Solid Rock Church’s good work and, of course, our new mega-construction projects. Please, join me after the service in the narthex for soya milkshakes, veggies and dip and tofu sandwiches.”
Well, the fundraising must have been successful because, on this particular journey we saw the results of this rebuild. “Touch Down” Jesus has returned in another form, somewhat smaller but just as impressive.
Indeed, a new 51-foot statue has been erected at the Solid Rock Church near Monroe. It is visible to drivers along busy Interstate 75. Nicknamed “Hug Me Jesus,” the statue depicts a full-bodied Jesus who stands with open arms. Others, because of the statues reduced size, have started to call Him, “The 5 Dollar Foot Long Jesus”.
Grumpy knows that he has gone into a lot of detail about this event even though the statue is only one landmark on the way to fun and sun in the sunny south. But, you see, he has a lot of time on his hands and, not unlike Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code), he feels that he must unravel these mysteries for you, his devoted readers.
Like for instance his next project is, “Where does all of his American Cash disappear to when he is in Florida?” I suspect that he’s going to ask the woman who carries that “bad-ass ginormous humongous handbag of generous proportions” first.She is the one who holds the key to te Shopping Code.