If you haven’t already heard about the six-story “Touchdown Jesus” statue that was struck by lightning and burned down outside Solid Rock Church near Cincinnati last week, there’s a good chance you don’t know about my relatively small beans blog either. If you’re interested, however, you can read about the flaming Jesus here. I wonder what a right-winger like Pat Robertson would’ve said if such an “act of God” had happened to a Harvey Milk or Barack Obama sculpture. “A message of disapproval from the heavens”?…
I read that the damned Jesus statue cost $300,000 to build in the first place — and will cost another $300,000 to rebuild, as some seem determined to do. But I wonder — even though this was a statue of Jesus, and not Harvey or Barack, what if we still decided to interpret the fire as a message of disapproval from God? If we did so, what might the message be? If you believe the Bible, you could be relatively certain God wasn’t demonstrating disapproval of Jesus, who at the scene of a famous baptism was called (by a voice from the heavens) “my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” [Luke 3:22]. So what might’ve pissed God off?
The same Bible quotes the same Jesus as telling a rich man he could not be a follower unless he was willing to “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor” [Mark 10:21]. Jesus is quoted elsewhere as saying: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” [Luke 12:33-34]. Coincidentally, this last passage appears in the same chapter where Jesus declared “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” [Luke 12:49]. Wish granted?…
A reasonable person would do well to doubt that the destruction of what’s been called “Touchdown Jesus” (or of any statue) is or was any literal act of God. But if we pretend it was — and we pretend that it was the result of a Christian God’s displeasure — I can easily imagine that what pissed God off most was that his so-called followers chose to spend $300,000 of their riches on a gaudy plastic foam Jesus statue instead of giving that money (nevermind everything they have) to the poor, as he’d advised someone else with riches to do two thousand years ago.
Now church leaders want to rebuild the statue. Giving them the benefit of a doubt, maybe they don’t know any homeless, sick, or poor people they can help with that $300,000. So I’m gonna send them a list. Maybe you’ll want to send one, too.
Solid Rock Church
903 North Union Road
Monroe, Ohio 45050