Jesus has been having a hard time lately. Just last month he was hit by a car, and on Monday night lightning struck a second time. Literal lightning. A touchdown-style Jesus in Monroe, Ohio, formerly six stories tall, received the paragon of divine punishments in a Midwest thunderstorm. Struck by lightning, the fiberglass and plastic foam savior melted leaving only an eerie, Lovecraftian idol of a steel frame behind. The statue had adorned the Solid Rock Church in Monroe since 2004. According to MSNBC many motorists said that America needs more symbols like this; God apparently disagrees.
Obtrusive religious symbols dot many high hills and adorn many quotidian highways as signs of the donors’ faith. Lawrence Bishop, horse-trader-cum-pastor, and his wife Darlene made a substantial investment in this eviscerated Touchdown Jesus sculpture. As a camp counselor in my youth, I slept in the shadow of the great steel cross of Jumonville in southwestern Pennsylvania. The 60-foot tall cross is lit at night and is visible in three states. The monolithic cross always seemed incongruous with the blackened roasted weenies and gooey banana-boats we managed to choke down. Staring at its gleaming whiteness by night was an epiphany to many.
When my wife and I lived in Scotland some years ago, a terrific wind-storm blew through. In itself that was nothing uncommon, as any Scot will tell you. Wind gusts in this storm reached about 140 knots (160 mph), causing widespread damage. In an interview on the BBC, the sexton at one of Scotland’s cathedrals (time has robbed me of the details) recorded seeing the wind topple a statue of Jesus atop the building. He quipped, “I looked up, saw Jesus coming down, and ran for my life!” Although the exact location escapes me, the words have taken on an unexpected significance as icons crash down all around me. The demise of “Quicksand Jesus” is simply one further reason to avoid trusting in anything less than solid rock.