Touchdown Jesus and the Curious Fate of Giant Statues

Touchdown Jesus and the Curious Fate of Giant Statues June 15, 2010

This morning the news was full of the tragic demise by lightning induced fire of Touchdown Jesus, aka Big Butter Jeebus. A highly flammable plastic foam and fiberglass statue rising 62 feet high, “King of Kings” was built in 2004 for a cost of 250k.

The jokes and theories have been non-stop. Obviously Zeus was pissed. (But he gets pissed on a regular basis nowadays.) Maybe the man who turned the tables on the moneychangers and preached charity didn’t care for a quarter million dollar statue of himself. Along with the ashcloud and gulf spill it’s a sign of the approaching end times.

Although I suppose their insurance company could claim it was an Act of God, Solid Rock Church plans to rebuild Big Butter Jeebus, hopefully out of non-flammable material.

Isn’t it funny how few truly ginormous statues survive? The statue of Athena Parthenos, the Colossus of Rhodes, and Zeus at Olympia all fell eventually. Perhaps the Sphinx and a some statues of Buddha have survived, but overall, the life span of giant statues tends to not last very long. We don’t really seem to expect them to. Remember Planet of the Apes?

Pagans tend to view the creation of images of the Gods as a sacred and holy act. We don’t have any edicts against graven images. However, I wonder if truly gigantic images are an affront to the Gods? Like Jehovah’s anger at the hubris of the tower of Babylon, maybe ginormous statues are a bit presumptuous?

Our private altars carry images that reflect our personal relationships with the Gods and our temples house images sacred to the work of that temple, but when you create something that can be seen for miles it could seem as though you are compensating for something.

Do our Gods need advertising? Are we creating gigantic statues because we can’t feel the presence of our Gods? What real purpose do they serve? Is it unhealthy boasting on our parts?

The Charge of the Goddess reminds us that the true mystery lies within:

if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, then thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, She has been with thee from the beginning; and She is that which is attained at the end of desire.

We are a pragmatic people. Our temples serve a purpose. Our stone circles, our groves, our hearths, our altars all have a sacred purpose and meaning, and are outward reflections of our inner spiritual lives. Our Gods are big, strong, present and impressive. If you seek Them and experience Them you should know this so surely that you have no need to create a statue big as a skyscraper to to convince yourself or anyone else of that fact.

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  • And as a Wiccan I find it hilarious that the Jesus statue was in the Goddess pose. You’d think he’d want to stike a manly stance.

  • spiritedcrone

    I like your comment that all of the symbols are outward reflections of our inner, spiritual lives. I suspect that all of our human machinations, buildings, corporations and striving for greatness are exactly the same. Perhaps we are ever changing actors in a mythological drama. Maybe life would be so much more understandable and manageable if we got used to that idea?

  • Thanks for posting this. I was fascinated by the news this morning since I frequently travel on I75 between Atlanta and Detroit. I will actually miss this Jesus.

  • Kerry W.

    This reminds me of Shelley’s “Ozymandias.”

    It seems to me that, with ginormous statues, a certain pride in production or association is at work, which undercuts the devotion.

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