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Anyone driving I-75 between Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio has seen it. Even if you haven’t, you may have heard about it in the news a couple of weeks back. I’m talking about the 6-story high King of King’s Jesus statue at the Solid Rock Church, within easy viewing distance of the interstate. You may better know it as “Big Butter Jesus” or “Touchdown Jesus” for it’s iconic butter-looking texture and arms raised, reminiscent of a football referee’s signal for a touchdown. However, on the morning of June 15, this iconic statue is no more.

Early in the morning a lightning passed through the area. Lightning struck the giant statue and burned it to the ground, leaving only a charred metal frame. The total damage, including damage to the theater (and audio equipment inside) located right next to it, are are around $700,000. Originally the statue itself cost around $250,000 to complete. It was also insured for $500,000 (figure that one out).

“Big Butter” or “Touchdown” Jesus
Touchdown Jesus

Stick Figure Jesus
Stick Figure Jesus

So what’s the plan? Rebuild the statue of course! At the tune of another $250,000 (or more, given minor inflation and sturdier construction materials), the King of Kings statue, part deux, will rise. Oh sure, you can start the cliches and analogies all you want, but just hold on to them for now. I’ll give you a couple reasons why rebuilding should stop. Now.

1.) The statue is nothing but a giant advertising tool. Given the fact this church can easily afford $250,000 shows this church has no problems with money. I’m all for churches being tax-exempt, as any place of worship should, however when a church is in the business of advertising and no longer non-profit, the IRS should really take a closer look. We make money, we pay taxes. Why should it be any different for them when they start spending their money on advertising? Which leads me to my next point…

2.) If they have the money, why not use it for something good? How about helping people out that need it, maybe sending groups down to the gulf to help out with various things (the oil spill has made us forget, but the place is still ravaged from Katrina in many places as well), setting up food kitchens, and possibly helping out the elderly in the church that may have troubles with medical bills. You know, things that churches used to (and are supposed to) do. And don’t give me that crap about “they earned it, it’s theirs to do whatever they want.” Churches don’t earn money, it’s given to them to do things like not build giant Jesus statues.

3.) Solid Rock Church’s pastor said the statue was a “beacon of hope” to others. Oh really? Flaunting your money instead of using it on something practical or meaningful is a beacon of hope? Sounds to me that the people they’re trying to reach are looking at the whole situation and laughing.

So there it is, like it or not, I don’t think this statue should be rebuilt. I even admit, I laughed a bit to myself when the whole situation happened. On a final note, anyone else find it funny and ironic that the insurance claim is going to include an “act of God” that destroyed the Jesus statue?

-Mike!

41 Responses to “Do You Smell Something Burning?”

  1. Dave Skinner says:

    Interesting take on what was built and what happened. I tend to agree with you on every point. However, before I can pass judgement I have to remember what Jesus said to Judas when he said the $$$ for the balm that Mary used to wash his feet with should have instead been used to feed the poor. Jesus’s response: “The poor will always be with us . . . “. This coming from arguably the single most compassionate man (God) the world has ever seen. Remember, I feel the same way you do. Don’t waste the money! But sometimes God does have a different take. It may have more to do with the heart of those creating the statue (or cathedral or any other icon of worship) than the actual act of building it (and spending the $$$).

    • Betty Craven says:

      Yes, Jesus did say that–John 12:8–but he wasn’t saying we shouldn’t help the poor. The whole import of that situation was that Mary was showing her faith in Jesus. 1 Sam. 15:22 tells that “to obey is better than a sacrifice”. When we show faith in God and His beloved Son, we are doing a good thing. If we really have that faith, we will always do what we can to help the poor or anyone who needs help.
      John, in his remarks below here refers to the fact that God does not want us to make images to Him or His Son. As most of these responsers are saying, the money is better spent on the things that are needed. There will always be,in this system, those who willl revere statues but that is not what God wants. He just wants us to revere Him and His Son and show that reverence by our works–faith without works is dead–James 2:26
      This remark really covers a lot of the remarks made, not just yours. As you said, sometimes God has a different take on a situation.

  2. Helen says:

    It was an ACT OF GOD!!!! that brought it down. It should stay down. Hello- someone up there just gave you a message- Listen- that is what you are supposed to do. Do not rebuild- it is only your vanity- a sin.

  3. John Lapitsky says:

    All I can say is: AMEN!!!

  4. Barry Finck says:

    I agree with everything you stated, There are too many churches trying to out do each other with more spectacular buildings and statues.
    That money would go a long long way helping flood, tornadoe, hurricane victims rather than erect something God apparently didn’t want there.
    People, open your eyes to the WILL of God. In the Bible it tells the exact deminsions of the temple. It tells directly the way God wants it built and
    I haven’t seen one built as he told us to do. Are we here to build nice beautiful statues to show off what we do in our churches or why can’t we help others in need.
    So you know if they rebuild it, who says God will take it down again. People should use there eye sight to see and not there pocket books.

  5. Danny Pruitt says:

    I can think of a lot of better uses for $250K than building another “religioius icon”. I will say that if it were my church, I’d have a bunch of people down on the Gulf of Mexico, working down there, helping folks there. Or else, send some of my folks up to the tornado sites to help re-build there. This statue really does a good job of glorifying….that church. Sounds like there’s a pride problem.

  6. John says:

    Hi gang!
    In reply to statue blog,
    This comes from my KJV Bible:
    Deuteronomy 4:12, And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude(Resemblance, Likeness); only ye heard a voice.
    13. And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
    16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
    19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
    23. Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, which the Lord thy God hath forbidden thee.
    24. For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.
    (2 Commandment)5: 8. Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
    9. Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,

  7. Jule Boatman says:

    Hello,
    If you start by limiting how anybody advertises every company that advertises in any manner will come under attack. There would also be more help for those who really need it if there were not people scamming the government with bogus claims.

  8. Arlyn says:

    I think they should have named it “Come Unto Me All You Who Are Heavy Laden And I Will Give You Rest! Last I heard, Ohio was still a part of the good old USA and who are you to say that they don’t have someone in poor Louisana helping others or in many other places helping. I think you do have a point that descretion is the better part of valor but like I heard earlier from the blogger, it is their money and they spend it the way they want to just like you do!…Sorry but that is my opinion…

  9. Adam Fontenot says:

    I FULLY AGREE TO WHAT YOU SAID. THIS MONEY COULD BE USED IN A BETTER
    MANNERISM.

    AMEN

  10. Kathy says:

    Completely agree with you. Anyone ever hear of a statute convincing someone to come to church? They should use the money for community out-reach.

  11. Rick Harding says:

    I’m not a religious man but I respect those who are. For some people churches and church related groups give a sence of belonging and personal satisfaction. However, I don’t think there should be a tax exemption for any oganization, religious or not. It’s because we exempt all these organizations that I am forced to pay higher taxes. I really don’t care what that church does with it’s money. If it wants to builf a giant statue or operate a brothel, I don’t care. Oh well, I will get off my soapbox now LOL.

  12. Jill says:

    VERY ironic!!!!!

  13. radioman says:

    Seriously, how can you consider this advertising? If so then every religious symbol could be considered that, equal opportunity on this one not
    to discriminate against any religion.

  14. Doral says:

    A couple of points that seem obvious to me. Worldstart.com and this blog are really just advertising to sell a lot of cheap stuff. Sure, I’ve bought a lot of that stuff over the years. But just because it’s advertising doesn’t mean that WorldStart.com shouldn’t exist, or should be done away with. Second point is that the only people who have a right to say how that, or any church spends its money are the people who contribute the money. I suspect that would eliminate anyone at WorldStart.com and all of the people who made comments. I didn’t give them one red cent myself, and I don’t give the south end of a north bound rat what they do with their own money. Frankly, your blog on the subject is another cheap shot at religion and Christians in particular. I’m fed up with gratuitous attacks on religion and people of faith. From now on I’ll buy my cheap computer junk from some other source. WorldStart is not the only game in town. By the way, I fully support your right to express your opinion on this or any other subject.

    • Michael says:

      Amen Doral! I agree with you 100%. You know what’s going on!! I believe that any big business should never become involved with any type of sensitive or moral views. I am surprised that Steve of WorldStart would take the chance of jeopardizing his companies monetary income by allowing this employee talk about a topic like this, after all, no matter where you work you the employee are an extension of the companies name & can easily tarnish it. I too am fed up with the attacks on religion & people of faith.

      Great post Doral!!!!

  15. Carol says:

    When news of the fire was told on TV; then noted article in paper; wondered how long before ‘the wind blew and the ….. flew’. Didn’t take long for all sides to get their collective undies in a bunch. Is this a great country, or what!? So great we can all having our own personal view of things with not danger of ending up dead for speaking of them.

    God Bless America

  16. Kitty says:

    All I can say is that I agree with John Lapitsky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen to everything you said! Its down leave it down!

  17. Nancy says:

    I personally think it was an act of God. Why after all this time the statue stood never being struck by lightening until now, I would say HE is sending them a message. I agree that the money that would be spent on rebuilding it should be given to the many families who are without jobs or food on the table. That would be the right thing for these people to do. Amen!

  18. Cherie Fruge says:

    I am Pagan myself, but my Dad was preacher, too. I can see both sides of this arguement… That said, I have to personally agree with Dave Skinner!

  19. Sam Pagano says:

    This blows my mind. I’ve gone through a few religions in my lifetime and in the 80′s I was a pastors assistant. He would come out and we’d talk about how the people were. If I knew they were going to put that kind of money into the church building and not the needs of the people I would have been long gone.
    In churches such as this one the money comes from tithing which the bible says is a tenth before taxes. What a total waste of the people’s money especially in these times when so many are out of work or just struggling.
    Thanks for the blog Dave!

  20. Anne says:

    Mike, I agree with every word you said…There are too many starving children and adults here in the US and around the world to even think of throwing that kind of funding into another ugly statue…”Beacons of Hope” is just a silly phrase and never fed anyone…

  21. Betty says says:

    I as a born again beliver, can agree with you all, with the exception of one. John above said it all we are not to make and graven images. And besides, how do man know what features Jesus had. So even if its alright the image would not resemble Jesus. We wear Jesus in our heats. There are so many needs in the world today it could be used on.

  22. Ron says:

    If you say it was an act of God, then you are saying that God struck down his own son. If that is true we now have Divine child abuse. I live very close to that thing. Think about the setup: 6 story steel frame structure of very flammable material placed in a man made lake? Lightning rod!

    • Thomas Fierro says:

      Come on Ron.
      The Bible says that Jesus layed down His own life willingly, so that
      you and I might have life. Freely!!!!!!!
      What’s the matter with you friend…???
      Besides, Jesus is God. always has been and always will be..

  23. Gale Jenness says:

    I do agree with you 100%, but with that being said I’m really surprised you’d make this comment so publically where it can obviously hurt your business sales in the future. I’m sure there’s a lot that will agree with you, but probably just as many that won’t and will be likely to avoid buying from Worldstart now solely based on this comment. As a fellow business owner I’d think twice before putting my comments out for the whole world to read. Especially when I have a business that has buyers all over the U.S. at least! Right or wrong this one could cost you!

  24. Shirley says:

    I am a born again believer & have mixed feelings. I do agree with several people. We have lost & are loosing too many rights already. We can’t display nativity scenes at Christmas because it might offend somebody etc. If they can afford to rebuild, AMEN !!!!!!!!

  25. Chuck says:

    What I don’t hear you complain about is all the money churches spend on Statues of Christ on the Cross, all the gold trimmings within a church, the many beautiful alters, the money spent on robes. the huge cathederals, the statues of The Virgin Mary etc. Where is your complaint about all those. There is an old Bible verse that goes “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged Also”. Of course I doubt you would even understand any Bible Verse let alone that one.

    • Thomas Fierro says:

      Chuck,

      It is quite clear that you err in not knowing the Scripture either,
      according to the tone of your reply.
      ” He who has no sin,,,,,,cast the first stone!”
      May God bless you according to His riches and Glory.

  26. Janis says:

    It could be the insurance was for a replacement of the statue only??? If so, why not? I agree that kind of money should go to help the poor and the needy and there are a lot of those now with the job market so low. I personally do not find the statue an attractive feature.

  27. James says:

    Too many Churches are preaching the Prosperity Gospel; God wants you to be rich. All you need is to give the Church a bunch of your money and God will see that you are worthy and all will be well.

    The First baptist Church in Dallas TX is a prime example of untaxed revenue. Many Church members have willed their property, some commercial, to the Church. The Church rents out the property but pay no taxes on that income.

    Supposedly, a Church is any place that two or more gather to worship God. It’s mans ego and sense of greed that causes much of the over the top ornaments and other wasteful spending.

    Years ago, Oral Roberts announced that his building fund wasn’t growing fast enough … and that “God would call me home, if it didn’t reach its goal on time”. CH8, the local station carrying his show, immediately canceled him, a very wise decision.

    We recently had a President who was super religious … despite his never attending Church save for a couple of photo-ops. Religion, beyond saying God Bless America needs to be banned from politics. Look at other Countries where religion controls the Government. Not a pretty picture.

  28. Alyssa says:

    Very interesting discussion here. I’m pretty sure the statue should stay down, whether it was destroyed as a sign from above or just nature’s fury – I agree that the money could be much better spent on social helps. However, I disagree that non-profits should not be allowed to advertise, and that by doing so they become “for-profit” – they don’t. When you speak of non-profits in this context, it appears you are singling out religious np’s. For example, I don’t hear you complaining that the Red Cross or Salvation Army, or United Way should not be allowed to advertise – non-profits are tax exempt because they fill a void that the government and the private sectors either cannot or will not fill (because it’s not economically profitable or feasible to provide services to those who cannot pay for them but need them most). If all non-profits did not exist (as somone said above), your taxes wouldn’t be lower – they would probably triple because np’s are much more efficient and effecctive at providing social welfare services as needed/where needed than the government can. Religious np’s are only a sector of total np’s, but singling them out is just as bad as a sweeping ban on np’s. Whether you hold religious beliefs or not, and whether you agree with how a specific np entity spends its money or not, you get to choose where you put your hard earned dollars. If you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t contribute to them. Apparently, plenty of other people are supporting them anyway – they don’t need your dollars.

    Also, if you’ll notice, the structure was insured for twice it’s original construction cost. Likely, the insurance company will pay for rebuilding, as long as it is not any bigger than the original structure and costs less than the policy limit ($500k) – you do get what you pay for, and someone in the church was obviously concerned about the structure’s safety enough to think ahead. This is no different than you or I carrying $500k worth of insurance on a house that originally only cost $100k to build. It’s about perceived value and replacement cost. I’d say from a business standpoint (and yes, np’s are “businesses”) carrying that much insurance was a good decision. Ethically I don’t know how you could put a price on Jesus (if you are a Christian, anyway), but that is a different topic altogether.

    As for profitability, this is a misconception regarding np’s. It’s not that they can’t “make a profit” – they certainly can, and some are extremely successful at it. They key here is that np’s cannot distribute profit to the stakeholders (those who are invested either through time or money into the organization), but have to either donate that profit to other np’s or reinvest it into the purposes and programs they are already providing. If the np’s leadership is effective, and there is community support for the programs, then indeed, they should be “profitable”.

    From a spiritual/religious standpoint, I think rebuilding would be in error, however, I’m not interested in getting into a philisophical/religious discussion here as it is a moot point. The church has decided to rebuild, and they are well within their rights (provided they can renew the building permits!) It wouldn’t be any different if some organization wanted to build a 6 story statue of Buddha or some Greek God. There will be critics and supporters in any case.

  29. maria says:

    I guess , The nature is really unstoppable and the damage is always a big amount of money for the church’s rebuild .
    Well, Logically . the statue should be rebuild ,its there and it should be always there , not for practical reason but for the historical reason, the church is known for.
    If they can rebuild it with less than 250K why not? People go there to pray and talk to God.. anyone who manage it should “resurrect the original theme, structure of the church “. Its only statue yes, but that’s maybe , one of the big reasons why the frequent visits and prayers of people who go there are made . if something is broken , fix it .

    We don’t need other ways or reasons to spend other peoples voluntary contribution for another purpose but for the beautifying and reviving the place where people go every Sunday ,,that house of GOD … They paid it ..then it has to be rebuild (do you still wonder why church can get that income easily? .. because it meant for emergency purposes .. its one of the reasons and its gods practical way of testing how do we give importance to faith and to his house )

  30. Les says:

    This blog was, as noted by one commenter, just another cheap shot at Christians/Christianity. So many criticized spending this money on a statue when it could have been spent helping people (Gulf coast, etc.). My bet is that this church has done a lot of that kind of help. I didn’t hear any of the commenters above saying they had done anything to help others, even though I suspect all of them are better off than many – at least, since they are followers of World Start, they must spend money on electronic “toys”. How much has World Start done to help the needy people of the country? And, don’t even suggest the church does not “earn” their money. They offer a service (of much greater value than anything commercially sold in this country!) but the church leaves the amount of payment up to those receiving the service – it is very much based on what each can afford. Marketers, such as World Start just set a price and, if the buyer can’t afford it, they have to do without. World Start should leave blogging to things about which they have real knowledge, and that apparently does not include Christianity.

  31. Colly says:

    How does one know it was an act of God when Satan is the prince and power of the air?

  32. Hattie says:

    Why all the complaints, just do what needs done.
    I don’t care for it being used as it is but if that church wants it, what can we do.
    Money could be better used but its their call.

  33. Sue says:

    If I object to what a church is doing, I will not support it financially. If I object to what Worlstart is doing/saying, I will no longer buy.

  34. Steve says:

    First I will say that I am a follower of Jesus or as many would say a Christian. That does not make me any better than any other respondent to this blog. however, I am surprised that WorldStart.com would even make such a comment which shows their bias against Christianity or maybe religion as a whole. I guess they did not consider their remarks would offend some of their customers. As for this church, I know nothing about this particular church, what they stand for or what they do. If this statue was insured and the insurance paid off on the claim, maybe it has to be used to rebuild the statue. As to a better use of the money? Well maybe they do use a lot of their money to help others. My congregation has a church building and property. The building has a a steeple with a cross on top. Oh, and we do have a sign out front with our church name and denomination on it. We maintain it so it is a credit to the neighborhood and the community we are in. But we help others in need in our community, state and around the world as we are able. It seems pretty obvious that by the responses to this blog, that most do not know anything about this church mentioned in the blog. As to WorldStart.com, I think you would serve yourselves better by sticking to what you know best, computer tips, and nifty inexpensive software and computer related items. As to the church and their statue, well some may like it, obviously some do not.

  35. jordan says:

    We should be more concerned about the misuse of our tax dollars,which belongs to us rather than being concerned about church funds which do not belong to us.

  36. Thomas Fierro says:

    I agree Mike! God calls us to be GOOD stewards with what He has supplied.
    I also agree with the chuckle and the insurance ” act of God “

  37. Ralph Tamm says:

    I’m an agnostic. I support any entity spending their money anyway they choose but first they all should pay taxes like the rest of us.

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