Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Zeus Gives Jesus What For

On May 20, 2007, a 22-foot statue of Jesus at the Mother Cabrini Shrine in Golden, Colorado, was struck by lightning, blowing off one hand and the other elbow, damaging the feet and pedestal in the process. The statue, which draws thousands of visitors yearly, is perched at the top of a 373-step path, near "a cool spring of miraculous water [that] still flows today after Mother Cabrini found it on the barren hilltop." Of course, lightning is formed by ionization of molecules and the resulting static electricity, but that's not good enough for theologians - they need an explanation to reflect God's intentions. Why would he do such a thing to a prominent religious monument glorifying his son?

There's no clear positive interpretation, so Sister Casciano states that, "I'm not about ready to second-guess God" on Denver's ABC affiliate news. Of course, she is ready to second-guess God, because she wants to raise funds to reconstruct what God clearly wanted blown off. She pointed out that, miraculously, no one was hurt, and the quartz heart created by Mother Cabrini remained intact. Yeah.

The helpful skeptics at the JREF forums (where I found this story), offered some profound theological explanations. Here are some great excerpts:

"I suppose [God's] decided to start enforcing that 'No Graven Images' commandment."
"They'll claim that it's a miracle that the entire statue wasn't destroyed by the lightning."
"The fragments could form the face of Mary. Man, that could get really confusing."
"I think Zeus is angry about losing so many followers and has decided to drop some not-so-friendly reminders of his powers."
"It's clear that Yaweh hates hands and feet. Why else would he have put nails through Jesus'?"

I find this story particularly interesting, because I went to Woodbury University, where we had a hall named after Mother Cabrini with a fairly creepy relief sculpture of her over the doorway. The campus used to be owned by a Convent and was purchased by the school circa 1984.

To see more pictures of the damaged statue, and see lightning misspelled as "lightening" (why do so many people do that?), visit the official Mother Cabrini Shrine site.


J. K. Jones said...

I like:
"I suppose [God's] decided to start enforcing that 'No Graven Images' commandment."

That one actually works from a Christian perspective.

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