I could write about something much more serious than this,but my mind is currently distracted by the recent destruction of the “Touchdown Jesus” statue in Ohio (google it for images..). Last night during a pretty rockin thunder storm,lightning struck the 60ish foot tall structure and burned it to the ground. It’s probably the greatest thing that’s happened in the tri-state area this summer (other than the Reds going in 1st place momentarily). The church plans to rebuild, the obvious question is why?
The statue brings up an old issue that’s been debated for awhile (though not as passionately today). When it first perculated to boiling point, it was called the “Iconoclastic Controversy.” Basically the two sides argued over the use of images within the church. Images, one side argued, can be turned into idols and are therefore sinful to be placed in a building of worship dedicated to the One true God who is spirit and has no image (nor can one be made of Him). The other side didn’t care as much. Most “evangelical Christians” would probably fit in that latter category (just note all the images we use in churches–crosses, various other pictures,including some of Jesus,etc).
I bring this issue up because it would be healthy to debate it. Personally I see a proper use of images, but we can get carried away. But this can be argued over at some other time. Here I mainly want to give my thoughts on why the church that lost “Touchdown Jesus” should just tear the remaining metal frame down and let it go…
First,it was a symbol of mockery to most people (both Christian and non) in the Tri-state and around the country. Cynics of all sorts pointed at the Jesus figure and sneered about how it represented “American Christianity” or some other accusation like that. I don’t think its nicknames of “Touchdown Jesus,” “Drowning Jesus,” or “Soap Jesus” were affectionate pet names. People have been laughing at and making fun of this statue since it was first erected.
Second, while watching news reports on this, the people they interviewed (all 2 or 3 of em) noted how “inspirational” the statue was. I think the only “inspiration” this image evoked was creativity. Whether it was photo-shopping, or ridiculous poses on the side of the road (the “YMCA” one was pretty funny) or the different sarcastic, satirical rhetoric that flew on blogs. And if they build it again, the fire will only gain more fuel.
To top it off,it was just a stupid idea to begin with. I mean, it’s a picture of Jesus blasting out of an Ohio pond with a disproportionate cross that he clearly couldn’t have hung on floating in front of his tummy. And they want to waste all the money–all that money that could be going towards the homeless,needy,missionaries, etc.–to build another one? The damage from the fire was roughly $500,000! That could pay for my college fees and then-some! And they’re wasting it on something that only adds to the public mindset that Christianity can’t be taken seriously because it’s just too darn corny. I hope God sends lightning to strike down the next image they put up.