Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

‘Touchdown Jesus’ Burns after Lightning Strike

The ‘Touchdown Jesus’ statue in Ohio was engulfed in flames after a lightning strike late last night.  The six-story-tall depiction of Jesus Christ with his arms raised stood in front of Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati. It burned to the ground during a thunderstorm. The “King of Kings” statue which had stood since 2004 was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame. The frame is all that remains.

Touchdown Jesus.jpg


What’s amazing about this is not that it happened – lightning hits and burns things every day in summer thunderstorm season. What baffles me is our constant human urge to “make something” of these events, to reach and grope and assign some “higher” meaning to acts of nature. That was my first reaction, honestly. I saw this story this morning and I thought, “What does it mean?” I want to say, “accidental” of course. But something in me grapples for more. A few million people must be saying the same because this story is the hottest link on Google this morning. Amazing, isn’t it. After all the efforts to debunk Jesus and faith and the Bible and the entire Christian faith, we’re still drawn to stories that touch the topic, even ones that might signal its demise. If there’s a meaning behind “Touchdown Jesus” burning down I guess it’s this: The fact that the story matters is a sign itself!


“Jesus, you matter. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are truly Lord of Lords! The fact that we notice a lightning strike on an image depicting this truth – and in some corners chuckle about the irony of it – shows that deep down we know, we know it is true! You are King of Kings!”


  • nillawafer

    i will miss this statue so much, but only because i have a special appreciation for kitschy roadside attractions, although i’m sure that is not what the artist had in mind.
    truthfully, it was always a sad statue, because the expression on his face was not one of joy of resurrection rising out of the ground, but the stress of someone who is sinking into quicksand or something. i can’t believe i was the only person who ever noticed this about him. his expression was more of one on the cross than one who is risen.
    still, i will miss it terribly when driving down the interstate.

  • Holly

    If there is a higher meaning to it, it certainly isn’t a bad one ams it doesn’t mean the fall of God. The Bible says not to have images like this one “thou shalt have no graven images”, one of the ten commandments. Maybe God was sick of looking at it too.

  • Jean

    Although there was a lot criticism regarding this sculpture, I want to say that I loved it. To me, it was inspirational- a wonderful reminder of God’s great love for me. Why shouldn’t a sculpture representing God’s love be huge? Over the centuries, enormous temples were built to worship God and there were huge statues incorporated into the designs. If the sculpture would have been of a sports “hero” or other non-Christian figure, it would not have been nearly as criticized or ridiculed. I have never heard people deride the Statue of Liberty,Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse monument or even Stone Mountain like people did this statue. The Jesus statue got attention, and made people think and talk about Jesus. I hope they rebuild it and soon.

  • Karen

    I for one hope they do not rebuild it. I grew up in the Dayton,Ohio area and the statue was a joke to most everyone who passed by. Many would stop to take a token photo posing so Christ would be the “H” in the traditional OHIO 4 person pose. Christ should be revered and His holiness should never be made light of – ever.

  • DaJuan Hayes

    Not that I necessarily believe in such mumbo-jumbo … but isn’t there something in the Bible forbidding “graven images?” Maybe it’s true, God DOES work in mysterious ways!

  • Streetsdisciple

    Maybe it is the real living spirit of the Earth…you know….thats green and blue thing we are all destroying….maybe it’s the living earth trying to tell us something.

  • AnonymousPoster

    If it had been a 63-foot tall statue of – say, Krishna or Ganesh, and that had been struck and burned by lightning, would y’all be saying “well, it’s a sign that one day all knees will bow to Lord Krishna?”
    Come on. Hypocrisy. You’d be saying, “seeeeee??? It’s a SIIIIIGN! Them Hindu pagans are goin’ to HELLLLL!”

  • Kylie

    This is AMAZING! Signs and wonders are occuring! Don’t get me wrong I wish it wouldn’t have burned down, but MAN! What a way for the Lord to get peoples’ attentions! Get ready people because a battle is occuring on both heaven and earth…and this is proof!

  • Dan

    Certain Well-Known Christians make a big deal over ‘natural’ events, calling them God’s Judgment on the sins of America (typically homosexuality or legalized abortion). Why isn’t this natural event also a judgment? Ask Pat Robertson.

  • Spambucket

    Holy Flaming Jesus!

  • Phil

    I am a Christian. I was horribly offended by the Touchdown Jesus. I feel that it is not only bordering on idolatry, but that the insane amount of money that was spent to construct it should have been used, instead, to do as Jesus did – feed the hungry, heal the sick, spread God’s love etc. I got a good laugh out of the news this morning…

  • Larry Jacobo

    Well, despite your faith in the Lord, one
    has to admit that this was a really tacky expression of
    faith. It was a gosh and poorly designed statue that could only inspire the simple
    minded of the flock. Maybe Jesus does not
    have poor taste. He might have been embarrassed by that atrocity…

  • Rae

    I also live near Dayton, and I agree with Karen that the statue seemed to serve more as a source of derision than a source of religious inspiration or evangelism. If its destruction can be in any way attributed as “a message from God,” perhaps it is God’s reminder to us that Jesus stood with the poor and praised the widow and her mite rather than the rich with their overflowing coffers and ostentatious displays of religiosity.
    I am saying this as a church-going Christian well aware of how often I myself fall short of what God expects of me.

  • Cristy

    All that happened was the statue acted as a lightning arrestor and was the highest point in the area. There was no “Jesus died again for your sins” thing going on. If it was a giant bunny and the ear caught fire and burned it down what would that mean? Nothing….

  • Zeus

    Who’s better now?

  • Michael Leger

    Oh please, that tired argument that because we still “remember” the fictional cult that was formed around a historical figure about whom we know next to nothing historical that that “proves” him to be divine. by that logic, anything that endures beyond a couple hundred years is divine or god’s will or whatever–war, for example. Faith is precisely about the unprovable; and faith whose only fruit is spurious logic, exclusivism, and judgmentalism, is one I’ll pass on….

  • Tony P

    i will stand upon your truth
    all my days i’ll live for you
    this is the day you have made
    either way you look at it – as idolitry or as saving the chuch – only GOD can take out something with that kind of pin point accuracy! look out – the ground could open up beneath you

  • Emily

    I think this is a sign from God that the church should be giving more money to starving children then spending thousands of dollars on a statue.


    Whither or not you want to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, does NOT change that one day we will ALL answer to Him. Have you ever watched a Christian vs a non Christian die? They may be both in the worst of pain but when the Christian goes he/she looks peaceful with the non Christian that isn’t the case.
    I’d rather believe that there is a God and find out I’m wrong after I die than to not believe and find I that I’m wrong. There IS a peace that God gives to a Christian that isn’t given to the non Christian!

  • Dave The Happy

    Let’s see if the whole thing comes back in three days!!!!

  • Your Name

    Does this mean the ligthning was jewish? damn you jews! thats twice you killed jesus!

  • Michael Leger

    right on, Dave!
    wow, momof3, do you pay any attention to what you say? you’ve watched every death that has ever occurred, and so you offer your scientific evidence that only christians die looking peaceful?
    Your illogical and strident insistence on the superiority of the christian experience doesn’t sound very peaceful to me; Jesus’ assurance of god’s love for all of “creation” and even his angry rebuke of judgmental pharisees, sounds a lot more like the peace I’m interested in.
    by the way, the original touchdown jesus is an awful 10-story mosaic on the satdium side of the library at the noodle dome, more popularly known as that catholic place in indiana.

  • Your Name

    Definitely a sign- if you erect a 6 story steel frame object then surround it with water, it WILL attract lightning.

  • http://really???!!! Darren

    as a former Sunday school teacher, children’s church teacher, youth council member…..I can honestly say that stuff just happens….get over this god crap and just live until you die….there is no such thing as god….think about it..the bible was written by man for man….god is like UFO’S……I have never seen one…Have you?

  • Santos A Halper

    HMMMMM, how do we know this isn’t God punishing those sinners who erect false idols? I mean, between the oil spill and the horrible nature of the Bible belt (50% of children in Tenn. receive government assistance) isn’t God sending a clear message that hatred and bigotry are not the Christian way?
    These so-called Christians better wake up and realize Jesus didn’t invade countries, put criminals to death, say ANYTHING about gay people, waste his followers’ funds on lawyers, insist the Ten Commandments be on every govt building and then not follow them, and so on.

  • Sayeed

    ALLAH AKBAR!!!!!!!!
    G-d has sent a clear and present message to the infidels about idolatry and flaunting the 1st commandment!

  • Jesus Freak

    Well, it’s only fair retribution – instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to objectify a diety, these jesus-loving morons should have spent the money on those who needed the help – ministries of help and faith, not a monument to their own silly self-worth. Burn, baby, burn.

  • Your Name

    “only GOD can take out something with that kind of pin point accuracy!”
    Blarneystones, Tony. “Good” “Chritians” used to tell gays that AIDS was “God’s punishment” (TM) for homosexuality – until gay people pointed out that babies get AIDS too. Some “pin point accuracy” – NOT!

  • Paul

    With Reverend Pat Robertson, many good Christian people will be looking for a message in this event. Some will ask, “What would Jesus say about the leadership of a church that would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to erect an image of him, using (of all things) styrofoam and plastic, when there are so many unmet human needs.
    Undeterred by what some might say is a clear message from God, the church leadership has vowed to resurrect Touchdown Jesus, as a monument to their lack of wisdom more than to the gloory of Christ.
    I would suggest, with love, that the leadership first purchase a copy of the following book for each member of the church to read and then have an open church meeting about the wisdom of “resurrecting Touchdown Jesus.”
    Touchdown Jesus: The Mixing of Sacred and Secular in American History
    by R. Laurence Moore
    A review of this book can be found at:

  • Tony P

    Your Name – aids and all the poor people it affects is only a symptom of a larger problem – SIN. BTW what does aids or ignorance have to do with lightning and a foam statue?

  • Tony P

    “AS A FORMER Sunday school teacher, children’s church teacher, youth council member…..I can honestly say that stuff just happens….get over this god crap and just live until you die….there is no such thing as god….think about it..the bible was written by man for man….god is like UFO’S……I have never seen one…Have you?”
    Thank GOD you said “AS A FORMER”
    I’m not saying the event has any significant meaning but I am saying I’m glad you no longer have access to children.

  • Whatever

    If this was a statue of a gay man burning down, or a hero of abortion rights, then all the Pat Robertsons of the world would be claiming this was a sign of god. Instead, it’s a statue of Jesus so now it’s just a coincidence. Must be nice to be able to pick and choose which acts of nature you want to claim are ‘signs.’ And yet, the next time an earthquake hits San Francisco, all these zealots will believe it’s another ‘sign,’ forgetting when the jesus statue burned down.

  • BMacPhee

    To broadly paraphrase one of Christoper Hitchens themes: Notice that when the image of Jesus appears on a clothes iron,its a miracle. When a sixty foot statue of Jesus burns to the ground,its a freak of nature. I’d say its Nature:1, God:0 this time around. (But when you really think about it, thats always the score)

  • Rev. Matt Neace, Jr.

    Maybe God wanted it burnt down because it is idolatry to have such a thing in front of the church. The Ten Commandments clearly states, “Do not make for yourself any graven image.” Isn’t that a graven image?
    Cast down every idol.
    Rev. Matt Neace, Jr.

  • john

    “in the name of the father, son, oops, damn that’s twice now…” HILARIOUS!!!!!

  • john

    by the way, does that church look ANYTHING like what jesus would have lived in? what a scam–tax free at that

  • AnonymousPoster

    Good one, Zeus!

  • MichiganMan

    Maybe it just means that a very tall, very well grounded steel frame was the tallest thing around, so the lightning did what lightning does, and the styrofoam did what styrofoam does.
    And Jesus did what Jesus does – suffers the death of His body so we can live forever by the grace of God.

  • Proberbial

    Great warm up to the burning of Babylon!

  • delia

    ah touchdown jesus is a sinner so god strike his ass down to the ground.. lmmfao.. ohio is going to hell. god said he dont like ugly and that was a ugly image of his son, so let there be light… lol

  • Tilk

    Who cares?

  • tmh

    I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I will never forget driving by this monsterasity on my way to Dayton, Ohio for the first time. I almost drove off the road in shock. Needless to say, I am not sorry to see this thing burn to the ground. Although, now the church vows to rebuild and make it flame retardant and the local conservative talk show host claims it is a sign from God so I am sure my joy at it burning will be short lived.

  • Bill

    I don’t understand, who would give their son to fix a mess that they created on earth; a perfect god? Apparently god didn’t really “give’ Jesus considering he’s residing happily back in heaven anyway. What a myth, and . . . . what a bunch of saps who believe that crap.
    Mother nature seems to have the upper hand folks!

  • Bill

    I agree with Bill. Oops, I am Bill!
    I was wondering if this means that god gave his son again?

  • Marshall

    Much Christianity in america is false,shopping mall mentality.Paul says in Romans 11:21 “For if GOD spared not the natural branches,take heed least he spare not thee.”Look to messianic jews to restore CHRISTIANITY to true holiness.The american gentilies have really messed it up.

  • nicole

    Couln’t we spend money on something else that would benefit instead of a statue. If they have so much money to rebuild, why can’t they help others instead of replace something that that doesn’t do anything. That statue doesn’t feed the hungry, it doesn’t help clothe the poor, and it doesn’t shelter the homeless. Rebuilding is the most selfish thing they could do.

  • john

    I guess we’ll have to wait for easter to see if he rises again after THIS ONE! at least it was quick this time…absolutely hilarious!!!!

  • http://england james edward gerard fox

    please pray to dear jesus for me to get back all i lost and a lot lot more – also to please heal my mind and body and to please take out the tormenting unclean spirit inside me for good – amen


    The bible predicted that the the Christians covenant with death would be annulled in this timeline. It also tells the Muslims to drink and be exposed. When the Paraclete flew into the USA in 2008 the Prince of Peace Church in Philadelphia also burnt to the ground.

    The Son of God said ‘The USA is the house that Jack built’ and the heavenly Father promised you all that the old heaven and earth will pass away’. However, the Son told you his words would never pass away.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Russ VandenToorn

    Thou shalt not make unto 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 water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to 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; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6)

    Just a thought !!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment wondergirl

    didnt God say not to make any image of anything in heaven or earth?

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