We Will MissYou Big Butter Jesus
Update 2012: "Hug Me Jesus" Statue Replaces "Big Butter Jesus"
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?
CNNIreport.com Video - Greg Reese at Big Butter Jesus Statue The Morning of the Fire
- Big Jesus Statue Burned to Ground Near Cincinnati, Ohio - CNN iReport
Wow!!! Some people think the World is coming to an end. What do you think? Last night I captured tons of lightning bolts from the storm that passed through our Tri-State area, but it wasn't.....
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
"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.
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.
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.