Thursday, March 29, 2007


I've written before about "Jesus Rising from the Swamp," an oversized and kitschy representation of Jesus that amuses or embarrasses motorists driving north on I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton.

A member of my parish has sent a picture of what may be the best use to which I've seen the statue yet put: as the H gesture that's part of spelling O-H-I-O when Ohio State fans accompany our band in singing the official rock song of the state, Hang on Sloopy. (See and hear more here.)

As The Ohio State University men's basketball team prepares to play Georgetown in the Final Four, it's good to know that the Swamp Statue is rooting for the Buckeyes!

[Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Go, Buckeyes!

[THANKS TO: Althouse, Ironing Maiden, Holy Coast, Mondok Blog, Nasty, Brutish, & Short, and Buzz Tracker for linking to this post.]

[THANKS ALSO TO: Michael Meckler for linking to this post.]


Charlie said...

Oh, man! What chance does UCLA have if the Son of Man is cheering for Ohio!!! The Pac-10 might as well throw in the towel and start training for next year.

Wish I'd seen this photo before I gave all that cash to my bookie. Thanks a lot, Mark.

Mark Daniels said...

Hmmm. I don't know if having the blessings of an overgrown plastic Jesus...actually half of an overgrown plastic Jesus...constitutes a big blessing.

God bless!


RyanGarcia said...

Moses, of course, cheers for Michigan.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

And the good Jewish mother, Our Lady, is always cheering for her namesake. [Notre Dame for the underinformed]. But I heard she has a lot of sway with her Son. Maybe a quick novena to the Georgetown folks?

Rick Moore said...

Swamp Jesus is clearly making the "U" in UCLA. Misguided Ohio fans should not get their hopes up.

P_J said...

The kick is up and ...

It's good!!!

Either that, or Disco Jesus is trying to encourage people to spell out Y-M-C-A.

P_J said...

This also gives me the mental image of Rodan or Gigantor rising slowly up out of the sea to trample Tokyo. "Jesus vs. Mecha-Jesus" would be a great film.

Seriously, I'm sure the people who commissioned and made that thing were well-intentioned. But I think the statue itself borders on sacrilegeous because it invites mockery.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you have the same opinion of "Christ the Redeemer" in Brazil?

P_J said...

Ruth Anne,

No. I'm not against Christian art, but the "Swamp Jesus" thing just strikes me as tacky and kitschy. This seems less like art and more like gigantic outdoor decoration.

The statue in Rio is posed more traditionally, and is placed so that Christ is looking down with pastoral care over the city. The scale fits the placement. It complents the beautful setting. I think the people of Rio love and respect it as a work of art.

Does it do justice to the Jesus revealed in the New Testament? Does it commend Christ in some way to people? Is it good art?

I think even a non-Christian can respect the Cristo Redentor for the warmth, compassion, and love it conveys, as well as its artistic merit. I don't think I could say that about this statue.

Mark Daniels said...

I'm with Jeff on this. Having seen the statue a number of times, I simply find it embarrassing. Scale has something to do with it. But it's the kitschiness more than anything which I find so off-putting. I discuss that, as well as confessing that I am perhaps snobbish in my reaction, in the 2004 post to which I link here.

Interestingly, the people who react to this piece, which I cross-posted at ShoutLife, a sort-of Christian MySpace, almost uniformly find the thing offensive.

The Christ statue in Rio is altogether different, a true work of art. The distinction may be this: Non-Christians can appreciate the Rio statue, even if they don't believe. It's clearly art. But this fiberglass object evokes thoughts of velvet Elvises or, for those of us who grew up going to the Ohio State Fair, cow sculptures made of butter and housed in a refrigerated glass case in the Dairy Pavilion.


Icepick said...

Clearly, the SWAMP Jesus was cheering on those other Swamp Dwellers, the UF Gators. Fear the Swamp Jesus!