Tuesday, June 15, 2010

King of Kings

In 2004, a church near where we live built this sculpture of Jesus.

Its official title was King of Kings, but most often I heard it referred to as “Touchdown Jesus” or “Big Butter Jesus.” It was 62 feet tall.

Last night during a rather spectacular thunder storm it was hit by lightning.

I’m fairly speechless about the whole thing. So much potential symbolism! I’m not sure where to go with it.

What do you think?

For the record – I personally thought that the sculpture was beautiful and creepy – and a little too LOT over the top.


  1. Oh. MY. GOSH!! I know this statue well and have driven past it many times. I was always creeped out a little by it, too...so huge and dramatic. I can't believe it's gone in one fell poof...and by an act of nature, at that!

  2. Oh yes, there are certainly many thoughts going through my head with this. I might have to change my Poetry Bus angle this week. Wow!


    P.S. You have a Portuguese Water Dog! Wonderful!

  3. Ha! Touchdown Jesus gets smited! Smoted?

    Either way, that's fantastic!

  4. Wow...that is some sculpture. And I agree, it's a very powerful piece but overly extravagant (if not slightly haunting).

    I'm not a Christian or a theist, but being an ardent lover of theology, I'm aware (as is everyone) that Christ was not a lover of the rich and opposed to wealth gathering. I imagine the sculpture was rather expensive, perhaps it is symbolic of Jesus' disdain for overspending. Then again, you could argue that in costing so much, the sculpture is an expression of how devoted the community is to God, and that the Big Jesus signifies God's power.

    Mmm...it could mean so many (hypothetical) things. Great post! :D

  5. Honestly no matter how greatly done or how much meaning it has I somehow feel such sculptures are more a showing off. That is not what religion teaches people about.
    Maybe there is some hidden sense in it being gone.


  6. Maybe God's an art critic, or maybe he just didn't think it looked like Jesus.

    (Metal sculpture + Lightning = ZAP!!!)

    P.S. - I found your Blog thanks to Poetikat.

  7. I heard about that too... & thought, UH OH... we ticked God off. Also thought that we live in a world that doesnt have much Jesus in it anymore, it seems, so why not just get rid of the symbol of Him... but WOW - what a symbol of Him!!! Geez... who designed that thing!

    Have you ever heard that song someone wrote about that statue? Called something like Big-Butter Jesus.

  8. that would be way over the top....

  9. wow, i read about this on the news.

    i think the statue was very giant....but kind-of creepy how it met its demise...

  10. Saw your link on WW roll call & had to ck it out - oh my word, that is soooo odd. Both pics, by the way. My boys are cracking up; I'm like you - I'm sure there's a message there somewhere, but I don't want to try to figure it out...

  11. I think definitely, God is an art critic.

  12. Holy moly, that is/was quite the statue. The word gaudy comes to mind, and I do have to say that being struck by lightning strikes me as rather amusing (yes, pun intended). Perhaps more amusing is what's left of him. The pre-lightning version might also have been called "half-Christ over pond."

  13. Oh Bug, what are we to do?! For your readers who are interested, the lyrics and a little background info on the statue are on an old blog post of mine:


  14. Oh for...what the...is it really...I just don't know why they...who did...how can they...

    Um. Wow!

  15. @KimQuiltz: "what she said!"

    @Sam Liu: Dr. M here. You are so right about the theology. In both the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, it is abundantly clear that one is to give away wealth in service to God, not hoard it, and one is to practice social justice (no matter what the idiotic Glen Beck says), not build gaudy monuments. And yet the history of the Christian church is filled with monument-building at the expense of the poor, most often justified by the very argument you present: this effort represents our devotion to God/God's power. Granted, we have magnificent cathedrals as a result of this, but we also have (had) a giant styrofoam Jesus, which likely will be rebuilt, and all too often a church out of touch with the basic teachings of the very scripture it claims is the one true revelation of God.

  16. Dear The Bug,
    Oh my gosh.
    All I can think of is rude limericks. That is/was one of the worst statues ever.

    I'll have to come back to this post and look at it again.

    Ann T.

    P.S. I think present tense is smite, and past tense is smote.

  17. Dust to dust:Ashes to ashes ......

  18. I think this is proof that God is anti 62' tchotskies.

  19. Ah well, what I wouldn't give to hear the spin-sermon on this. After all, there are factions of Christianity that believe all is by God's hand. I suppose they'll go with "Sign that we should build a bigger one!" "Act of the Devil!" or the ever popular, "Test of Faith." but I have to admit, I couldn't help but laugh just a little bit that the Looming Jesus had been taken out by a lightning bolt.

    It was rather ostentatious and creepy.

    Perhaps the powers that be up there misinterpreted the statue and thought it was the "Beam Me Up" Jesus, and complied ;-)

    Forgive my irreverence, Bug. It's really hard to treat anything made out of spray styrofoam as holy. I think it was a big, tacky mistake, and that the skies decided to speak on that subject.

  20. i wish you could have seen my reaction when i saw the last photo. priceless... it was a big intake of breath and aaahhhh nooooo!

    Wow! It must mean something but I don't want to speculate. ha!

  21. Our church has a 20-ft tall stained glass window of Jesus. Everything is fine except for the rather unsettling eyes which don't quite fit the face. I call him "Creepy Jesus." I think that word might also apply to the statue.

  22. He has over 28,000 followers on FaceBook--R.I.P. Touchdown Jesus :>)

  23. It's no laughing matter; it could be an ominous sign. The proper thing to do is for the Ohio clergymen to convoke a mass gathering of believers , have a ceremony during which they ask God for Forgiveness and also for evil to be chased away from Ohio.

  24. I have also read about the destruction of this sculpture from other sources and I must admit, I am not at all sorry to see it go. Jesus was never pretentious, so why must we be in His name?

  25. You could have called it "Fish Story Jesus"

    as in: "...I once caught a fish; it was THIS BIG..."

    obviously, like all fish stories, he would have been lying.

  26. @DUTA -- I don't know if you're joking or not, but what that made me think of is, "Hmmm, where would the evil go?"

    Look out Indiana! Heads up West Virginia! INCOMING!



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