Thursday, November 17, 2005

62-foot-tall Jesus

Okay, I've heard of this before, but until I saw this link on The Majority Report blog, I had no idea where the statue was, or what church had built it. Thanks to this article in the New York Times, I now know that this 62 foot statue of Jesus can be seen outside of Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio (about 40 miles from Cincinnati).

Drive another quarter-mile up Interstate 75, past the billboards for Bristol's Strip Club and Trader's World Flea Market, and suddenly the image appears in all its full dimensions. Jesus, depicted from the waist up, is six stories tall and seems to burst from the ground, as if he might gather a tractor-trailer in his Honda-size hands and lift it to heaven.

Actually, when I saw the image, it reminded me of a little kid doing the universally recognized gesture for "Pick me up!" And I can't help wonder what what giant pranster buried him up to his middle like that. Apparently, though, Great Big Jesus has an important highway patrol job...
Some congregants say the statue keeps watch over a section of freeway that was once among the most dangerous in Ohio. Twelve people died along that 15-mile stretch of I-75 in the two years before the image was erected, eight of them killed after cars jumped the median into oncoming traffic. Since the statue went up more than two years ago, there have been no such crossover deaths.

I guess this just seems weird to me because it goes against my image of Jesus as humble.

Though he was divine,
he did not cling to equality with God,
but made himself nothing.
Taking the form of a slave,
he was born in human likeness.
He humbled himself
and was obedient to death,
even the death of the cross.

Something about "62 feet tall" sort of flies in the face of that humble thing for me. And I wonder how many kids find the Godzilla-size Jesus just a little scary...