We Will MissYou Big Butter Jesus

Update 2012: "Hug Me Jesus" Statue Replaces "Big Butter Jesus"

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King of Kings (Big Butter Jesus) as it stood on the morning of June 15, 2010. Only the metal frame remains standing. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom & Son
King of Kings (Big Butter Jesus) as it stood on the morning of June 15, 2010. Only the metal frame remains standing. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom & Son
King of Kings (Big Butter Jesus) as it stood on the morning of June 15, 2010. Only the metal frame remains standing. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom & Son
"Touchdown Jesus" a 2007 photo of the "King of Kings" Giant Jesus statue at Solid Rock Church on I-75. Photo by Morhange copyright 2007 under GNU Free-Creative commons attribution share alike license.
"Touchdown Jesus" a 2007 photo of the "King of Kings" Giant Jesus statue at Solid Rock Church on I-75. Photo by Morhange copyright 2007 under GNU Free-Creative commons attribution share alike license.

It's been called everything from "Touchdown Jesus" to "That Big Scary Jesus on I 75;" whatever they called it, those familiar with the Big Butter Jesus statue will be disheartened to know it was struck by lightning and severely damaged by ensuing flames during last night's storms.

In just a few years, the Big Butter Jesus statue gained a national reputation as a must see for tourists traveling south on I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati. For many commuters passing by early in the morning, Big Butter Jesus sent chills up their spines. For devout Christians, the statue inspired new heights of faith. Even for those who hadn't a religious bone in their bodies, Big Butter Jesus was an I-75 traveling companion, an old friend always waiting at the side of the road. We will miss him.

It all sounds so biblical: One of the world's largest Jesus statues struck by lightning. A religious landmark consumed in flames in the midst of a driving rain? It certainly sounds like a sign from God. Who's to say?

Close up of remaining metal framework. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son
Close up of remaining metal framework. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son
Fused remains of Styrofoam and fiberglass statue covering. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom & Son
Fused remains of Styrofoam and fiberglass statue covering. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom & Son

Do You Know Giant Jesus?

If you're not familiar with the statue, simply type "Giant Jesus Statue" into a search engine. Ohio's Big Butter Jesus pops up along with Rio De Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer as two of the few statues worldwide that fit the Giant Jesus statue description. Created in 2004, it has stood in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati long enough to become a familiar part of the landscape.

Big Butter Jesus has inspired debates,spiritual ferver, and even a song; and if you haven't heard of Ohio's Big Butter Jesus statue by now, you will. It's fire and brimstone demise has hit the news in a big way.

Solid Rock Church

A marker3946 Hopper Hill Rd Cincinnati, OH 45255 -
3946 Hopper Hill Road, Cincinnati, OH 45255, USA
[get directions]

"Big Butter Jesus" was recently replaced by "Hug Me Jesus."

Big Butter Jesus The Song

Heywood Banks' 2007 Youtube video, "Big Butter Jesus" is no longer available for viewing, but when it was live on Youtube, it brought him a whole new audience. The original video was viewed over 95,000 times, and he gained many additional views with subsequent versions of the song.

Banks crooned with homespun humor and likened the statue to one of those state fair works of art where artists carve creations out of butter. His irreverent lyrics offered humorous alternative names for the statue, including "Oleo Lord" and "Touchdown Jesus." Banks' song helped spread (no pun intended) the word about the Big Butter Jesus statue in the middle of Ohio.

Solid Rock Church, Monroe, Ohio- Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son
Solid Rock Church, Monroe, Ohio- Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son

Big Butter Jesus Statue History

Formally titled "King of Kings," the Solid Rock Church's giant statue of Jesus was created in 2004 by sculptor James Lynch based on a design by Brad Coriel. The 6 story statue was constructed using Styrofoam over metal with a fiberglass coating. It was transported in several pieces and assembled by Mark Mitten at the site, with Solid Rock Church buildings at its rear and a pool at its front.

Once in place, the white statue, a torso of Jesus with arms reaching skyward, towered over the church buildings and became an imposing presence that dominated the landscape. No matter how often you see it, even for those who live in the area or travel that stretch of I-75 on a frequent basis, Big Butter Jesus distracts you when you pass by. It's hands reaching up to the sky, it's contorted facial expression, it's sheer size, evoke emotion, sadness or humor depending on your mood.

Solid Rock Church, In Monroe, Ohio, near Cincinnati
Solid Rock Church, In Monroe, Ohio, near Cincinnati
Curious onlookers arrive on the church grounds to examine the remains of "Big Butter Jesus." Photo: Greg Reese Mom&Son
Curious onlookers arrive on the church grounds to examine the remains of "Big Butter Jesus." Photo: Greg Reese Mom&Son

So is it's Destruction a Sign From God?

Wherever you live, if you've signed on to the internet, listened to the news or watched TV, you've heard how the Big Butter Jesus statue was struck by lightning in Ohio. You know it was severely burned in the ensuing flames and that its remains stand in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio. But few reports mention the dead fish found nearby.....near the pool's "No Fishing" sign, in fact. That little tidbit of knowledge was shared mostly by those on the Solid Rock Church grounds the morning after the incident.

So what does it mean when one of the largest Jesus statues in the entire world gets struck by lightning, goes up in flames and is destroyed in such a dramatic way? And what about the dead fish?

When the insurance claim is filed and statements are made confirming a lightning strike, it will be investigated and concluded as an "Act of God;" but what conclusion will biblical scholars reach. (Jesus, fisher of men goes up in flames - dead fish nearby...hmmmm) No doubt the circumstances will present hours of analysis and deconstruction. Perhaps someone may even be able to decide if it's mere coincidence or a sign from God.

"No Fishing" sign near pool on Solid Rock Church grounds. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son
"No Fishing" sign near pool on Solid Rock Church grounds. Photo: Greg Reese 2010 Mom&Son

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Please Add Your Thoughts 6 comments

msann1949 profile image

msann1949 6 years ago

Well,my first thoughts is that I would never call Jesus big butter. He is the Son of God. He was mocked one time before. His mercy endures for ever, till we draw our last breath. The word respect come to mind anywhere?

But thinking about the way it is built. Let me see. Both hands are made of metal, anybody put any lightning rods anywhere? And then there is the thing about metal draws lighting and then there is the pond of water.

Then it could be Jesus and His Father didn't like it. He said to make no graven images and then He said to worship Him only. How do we not know that people were worshiping it? Sign from God, I wouldn't put it back up. And I would have more respect for the Lord,He is no pad of butter.He would like it we took the time to raise our hands to Him in praise, than to have the rocks do it for us. I am sure there was good intentions all the way around when it was built.


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 6 years ago from Cincinnati Author

The butter thing wasn't meant to mock I'm certain; it was simply what came to mind when Heywood Banks saw the statue. Everyone in the area has had an opinion about it. Personally it was very scary to me the first time I saw it early one morning. It didn't make me feel comforted or loved, encouraged or reverent... none of the things one would expect of a religious figure. But I also believe folks of all religious persuasion could benefit from a little bit of humor... which is what Haywood Banks gave us with his song.


msann1949 profile image

msann1949 6 years ago

I must apologize. I have never heard of Heywood Banks. I do not know what the song has to say. Thank you for your answer to my comments. Have a blessed day. I still wonder if they had lighting rods to protect it.


Faith+1 6 years ago

After they rebuild him, would he then be "Born Again Jesus"?


CarolRucker profile image

CarolRucker 6 years ago from Cincinnati Author

Thank you. I appreciate your humor. I suppose that's exactly what it will be.

The problem is that the entire frame was metal, which probably acted as a lightning rod of sorts. The coating was fiberglass, but under that was styrofoam. I've seen that melt even with minimal heat. I'm thinking only the grace of God kept the statue from catching on fire a long time ago.


Muslim 3 years ago

This's a clear message from ALLAH, the almighty one god who deserves worship. Him alone, and He never and doesn't need to have a son. So I strongly advise you to go and read the Quran and know about the real GOD of the universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e_m3MQjDHc

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