Standing 62 feet high, with a 42-foot wing span between the hands, the Solid Rock Church's statue of Jesus rises out of the ground in Monroe, Ohio.
The statue, erected in 2003, was the inspiration of Lawrence and Darlene Bishop, evangelical Christian pastors of the 3,400-member Solid Rock Church here, which spent $250,000 on a project that did not go smoothly.( link )
The image's steel frame was built in nearby Lebanon, Ohio, and the body, made of Styrofoam and fiberglass, on the beach in Jacksonville, Fla. The body was then trucked north. But when workers started installing the statue on an island in a man-made reflecting pool behind the church, they found that the head and arms were too small for the chest.
The builder, James Lynch, then spent three months ripping the fiberglass apart and recasting the outstretched arms and upturned face. The completed figure weighs 16,000 pounds and, at 62 feet, stands 20 feet taller than originally planned, though its skin is so thin that it bends to the touch of a finger.
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 five years ago, there have been no such crossover deaths.
Officials at the Ohio Department of Transportation attribute the improved safety to a $1.1-million high-tension cable that the department built in the freeway's median about the time, coincidentally, that the statue was erected. Cars have hit the cable 183 times since then, and in three of those cases, crashes have occurred within three-tenths of a mile of the church.
There is also a running disagreement over the statue's name. Postcards for sale in the church's gift shop refer to it as the King of Kings. Many locals call it Touchdown Jesus, since, a bit like the famed mural at the University of Notre Dame, it resembles a robed and bearded referee signaling a score at the goal line. Others call it Super Jesus, MC 62ft Jesus (for the technomusician of a similar name) or simply Big J.
Personally, I prefer the name Big Butter Jesus, because it looks like one of the butter sculptures you'd see at a state fair. Comedian Heywood Banks created a HILARIOUS song for the Big Butter Man, and I guarantee it will be stuck in your head for days. The best line is "I can't believe it's not Jesus, Oleo lord . . ." The video also includes a bunch of photoshopped images of the Big Man, a few of which are chuckle-worthy.
From personal experience, I can tell you the creepiness factor of this thing is off the charts! It's worth a stop if you're ever in the area, just to see it for yourself. The creepiness is not only a result of the giant statue, but also the layout of the entire church "complex." I took a shot of this (awesome) statue there, too:
Finally, if your outing to see the Giant Jesus hasn't been sacrilegious enough, be sure to get a high five with Jesus, or try to see if that's a plane he's looking at: