On the night of June 14, 2010, lightning struck a 60-foot statue of Jesus, igniting the wood and Styrofoam construction and causing Jesus to burn to the ground. Only days later, the pastors of this Ohio mega-church are vowing to rebuild the statue. By diverting funds to this sort of shameful display, the pastors Lawrence and Darlene Bishop and the people of Solid Rock Church are showing themselves to be as far from true Christians as one can get.
The large statue, officially called “King of Kings,” sat in front of the large church, seeming to rise out of a pond while facing Interstate 75 north of Cincinnati. Because the long, outstretched hands mimicked a football signal, the statue quickly gained the nickname “Touchdown Jesus,” though Notre Dame fans might protest this moniker. A song by Heywood Banks also gave this statue the nickname “Big Butter Jesus.”
Shortly after the news of the destruction of Touchdown Jesus spread through the community, the pastors of Solid Rock Church made statements that were very reassuring. They reminded people of the community and those watching the events unfold in the news that the destruction of this statue, while unfortunate for the church, was nothing in comparison to the widespread damage currently being done in the Gulf of Mexico or to other disasters around the country and the world. These words carried with them a great message: It is alright to feel saddened by the loss of the statue, but there are more important wrongs to make right in this world.
Sadly, this message was dropped a day later when the Bishops declared that they would be rebuilding Touchdown Jesus. It seems almost unconscionable that the pastors and congregation of Solid Rock Church think it wise to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars this way. Even if one discounts the good that money could do in the broader world or elsewhere in the country, Ohio itself is in need of much help. Unemployment in Ohio is still in the double digits, and the rate of homelessness in Ohio has grown 12.7% in the last two years. There are so many in this state that need help, yet these so-called Christians think that it is better to spend money on creating a graven image of Jesus.
These actions and the mindset that allows people to think that they are the correct path could hardly be further from the path set out by the man these people claim to follow. It is hard to imagine Jesus being okay with a large, and do not forget gaudy, statue being created of himself while hundreds nearby went to bed hungry. Of course, the people of Solid Rock Church are in good company. They are about as Christ-like as those who would refuse to show remorse for the victims of sexual abuse they covered up or those who would lie and defame others to prove a point. And, lest we forget, this church is not that far, geographically or intellectually, from the stunning monument to stupidity known as the Creation Museum.