November 30, 2020

Where’s John Piper When You Need Him?

By Chaplain Mike

MOD NOTE: I’ve gone back and weeded out some comment threads that got off track. BTW: this post is not about John Piper, egalitarianism, homosexuality, or who goes to heaven and hell. It’s tongue-in-cheek, humor, folks, about a “striking” incident (insert groan here). Oh yeah, and please do buy the book!

Last August, a tornado struck during the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s convention. At their meeting, the ELCA adopted a sexuality statement opening the door for homosexuals in ministry, and the timing and peculiarity of this tornado brought forth comment from Christians who thought they discerned divine messages in the whirlwind.

Most prominently, Pastor John Piper, whose Baptist church is just down the road from the convention center, thought the storm sent a clear message. “The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin. Turn from the promotion of behaviors that lead to destruction.”

Receiving special attention was the fact that the tornado broke the steeple at Central Lutheran Church, leaving an unforgettable image for the chastened to ponder.

(On the other hand, few reported that at the moment the motion passed and the sexuality statement was adopted, the sun broke through the clouds.)

Fast forward to last night and today. Here in the Midwest, we’ve had yet another week of powerful storms. Strange things have happened, and we need to hear from folks like John Piper again to discern what our current weather means. Or maybe, since Piper’s on sabbatical, Pat Robertson might want to chime in.

But, I’ll warn you: this time it’s a little trickier— one event in particular might be harder to interpret.

You see, last night in Cincinnati a well-known conservative Christian landmark, jokingly referred to as “Touchdown Jesus,” was burnt to the ground after a lightning strike. The 62-foot statue, “King of Kings,” appeared to rise up from the waters before Solid Rock Church along I-75 in Monroe, Ohio, north of Cincinnati. Comedian Heywood Banks wrote a song about the statue, called “Big Butter Jesus” because of the pale yellow appearance of the huge steel-framed structure, covered in plastic and fiberglass.


…what do you think?

Is this the devil’s doing, an attack on Jesus and his work?

Is God sending a message of judgment? On “graven images”? On conservative evangelical Christianity? On obnoxious kitsch?

Is this, as one church member suggested, just another example of how Jesus sacrifices himself to save his church? (The church building itself was spared, except for an adjacent amphitheater.)

Here’s my theory:

Since today marked the release of Michael Spencer’s book, this event is God’s way of preparing us to receive it. This is God saying to us:

“Thus saith the Lord, I myself will bring an end to ‘Mere Churchianity!’ My people shall not go on building megachurches to satisfy religious consumers. My people shall not continue their culture war ways. My people shall not build gigantic statues that cause the world to mock and put thousands of motorists at risk every day. I will not allow my people to continue in such bad taste.

“Instead, saith the Lord, I command my people to purchase Michael Spencer’s book, that they may learn to avoid this plague of ‘Mere Churchianity,” and learn how their lives may be shaped by Jesus. Yea, they shall buy multiple copies, and distribute them far and wide.”

Hey, it’s as clear as can be to me. Give me awhile, and I’ll find the verses to back it up. You’ll see.

Who says God doesn’t still speak?

Wait a minute… did you hear that thunder?


  1. I love the infantile maturity of some of these TR’s on here who are like, “I don’t like what you said, so I’m never ever ever ever ever gonna read you again for the rest of my whole life!”

    At two years old this type of comment would be appropriate. Why then do you have the burning desire to inform the whole community of your leave? Do you really think we believe you? You’ll be reading anyways, and you know it. If for nothing else, to see if repentance happens 😛

  2. “It rubs the lotion on it’s skin”…I’m just saying. Look, that statue was ugly and so is the church building. The sad fact is the statue will be re-built. In fact they have the funds right now. Ohio is in dire straits, real unemployment is what 20-30% and growing every hour. But hey let’s plunk down quarter mil for some art. I don’t like the whole anti-capitalist line of argument. But this isn’t that. This is bleep forking over unemployment dough to bleep that won’t even visit mom in the hospice. Bye-Bye