Big Butter Jesus is Burning

Want another reason to totally freak out about oncoming apocalypse? A 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus was struck by lightning and burned to the ground last night. I’m not saying run to your nearest church and seek cover. I’m just saying, are we getting nervous yet?

I’m a born and raised Christian chick. I read the Bible every morning with my coffee and energy bar. I pray long, eloquent prayers, as well as total freak out prayers (aka Ignite PHX 7 last weekend: “Please don’t let me throw up in front of 600 people”). I am also an Ohio native, born and raised, which is/was the location of “Touchdown Jesus” / “Big Butter Jesus” / “King of Kings Jesus,” depending on which nickname you prefer.

I was just home in Ohio two weeks ago. I attended a wedding in Cincinnati, and on my drive, I had my first run-in with Big Butter Jesus. He’s been there since 2004, but two weeks ago, I saw him for the first time. Coincidence? I think not, considering he burned to the ground last night. I think I was given one last chance to see Big Butter Jesus as a reminder: “Sara, you are not the only one who thinks the world is going to hell in a hatbox. Jesus thinks so, too.” Because that’s what Big Butter Jesus looked like to me. He looked like a big dude, made of butter, holding his hands to the sky as if to say, “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON DOWN HERE?”

The evidence is mounting:

1) Before I left Charleston, SC, to move to Phoenix, it snowed. It hadn’t snowed in Charleston in ten years. I was nervous at the time; now, I feel a need to constantly look over my shoulder.

2) The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is destroying the coast and the happy pelicans. Revelations clearly states that before the second coming, we will destroy our oceans (and, in the Sara Dobie translation, our pelicans).

3) Twitter has taken the place of social interaction. As recent as last weekend, I caught myself saying things like, “Oh, yeah, I follow you on Twitter,” as if this equates to, “Oh, yeah, we’re obviously the best of friends.”

4) An Australian director is auctioning off virgins on reality TV.  He was in Sydney last year holding “auditions” with posters calling for “Virgins Wanted” over an image of the Virgin Mary. When I saw this news story, I was running on the treadmill at the gym. I made sure there was an employee nearby, in case I had a sudden embolism and had to be taken to the hospital. It was like that Lewis Black sketch: “If it wasn’t for my horse …”

5) Earthquakes. Lots of them. Earthquakes.

6) Oprah is going into retirement. What she’s really doing is planning her world dominance, as she continues to frighten me. I’m watching you, Oprah. I know what you’re up to.

There are plenty of other signs of the apocalypse (the reemergence of 80s fashion, Justin Bieber, and don’t get me started on politics), and I’m only half kidding, people. I mean, seriously, a statue of Jesus burned to the ground last night! That has to mean something, doesn’t it? I’m not a priest. I’m definitely not a nun. I even occasionally skip church, so I’m not the most informed of sources. I do know that sometimes, I just get really sad about the state of things. Sometimes, I look around, and I wonder what kind of awful place we’re creating for our kids.

When I get into these hopeless moods, I have to remind myself of the positives:

1) Jacob Anthony Bauer. One of the best men on the planet is my boyfriend.

2) My family. Sometimes, they drive me nuts. But I actually love it when they drive me nuts, because it reminds me that I have people out there—all the way across the US—who love me enough to call and drive me nuts.

3) Chopin. Debussy. Puccini. Ryan Adams. (How’d that last one get there?) Anyway, music.

4) Cheez-its and beer. The simplicity of knowing, at 5 PM, that I can have a Tupperware cup full of reduced fat Cheez-its and a hefty IPA. And that no one can stop me.

5) Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A modern author who gives me hope.

6) The Colbert Report. At least there’s someone out there who still loves stickin’ it to the man.

I could continue, because there are plenty of signs that make me think we deserve to be saved. But is my little list of pleasantries enough? I guess, most of the time, I’m with Big Butter Jesus. Sometimes, I, too, am reaching for the heavens with open hands, asking “WHAT THE HECK?”  Sometimes, I’m wondering if He is even paying attention. But since I’m a Christian, I know He is. I know there’s a purpose to all the evil—the Twitter, tapered jeans, and virginity auctions. I just don’t know what it is yet, but I’m trying. In the words of Jules in Pulp Fiction, “I’m tryin, Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd.”

So I tip my head to Big Butter Jesus. I’m glad I got to see him two weeks ago. I’m glad he stood as a reminder of a savior who is often overlooked in this crazy world. I hope they rebuild him, because I know I need a reminder. We all do.

4 thoughts on “Big Butter Jesus is Burning

  1. I love this post. I’ve seen Big Butter Jesus (I’m a Hoosier) and that’s craziness! I can’t believe he’s gone.

    I’m with you on your great list of both good and bad things too. Oil spill/freak snow storm = disturbing, but Zafon/good beer/Colbert = hope.

    And agreed, He is paying attention.

    1. He most certainly is.

      But if it snows in Phoenix, you will find me cowering in my closet with Jake and my Cheez-its.

  2. Great post Sara. I’m in agreement with pretty much everything you said but I’m still a huge optimist and look at each day as “a day to rejoice and be glad in” and be thankful for those I love.

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