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Signs of the (End) Times

Tom Mendelsohn

A couple of gloriously nutty Christ-related events for your Tuesday afternoon:

First off, Associated Press is reporting that a 52-year-old American man has been apprehended in the wilds of northern Pakistan, toting a pistol and a 40-inch sword. His mission? To assassinate Osama bin Laden.

Gary Brooks Faulkner, a construction worker, was detained by Pakistani police in the Chitral region of the country, armed with his sword, his pistol, night-vision equipment and kidney and blood-pressure medicine. Leaving nothing to chance, he’d also brought a book containing Christian teachings.

This story is exactly as crazy as it sounds: when he was asked why he thought he had a chance of tracing bin Laden, Faulkner replied, “God is with me, and I am confident I will be successful in killing him.”

Leaving aside for a second the implicit tensions between his stated aim and the whole ‘thou shalt not kill’ business, this is a wonderful story. I don’t want to speculate too libellously with so few details floating around at the moment, but the notion that the REAL American hero is an angry, wheezing, middle-aged God-botherer is a delicious one.

“We initially laughed when he told us that he wanted to kill Osama bin Laden,” said police officer Mumtaz Ahmad Khan. But he said when officers seized the pistol, the sword and night-vision equipment, “our suspicion grew.”

I bet it did.

The second story is, if anything, stranger, but more for its unbeatable dramatic irony. You see, a six-storey statue of Jesus attached to a super church in Ohio was struck by lightning last night and burned down to its steel skeleton.

ohiojesus2 300x105 Signs of the (End) Times

The Ohio Jesus: before and after

According to AP again, the ‘King of Kings’ statue, which belonged to the evangelical Solid Rock Church in Monroe, north of Cincinatti, had stood since 2004, and cost $250,000 to build. Designed as ‘a beacon of hope and salvation’, the statue was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus, because it looked like he was a referee signalling a score, and had, foolishly it turned out, been made of plastic foam and fibreglass. Its frame, pictured right, is all that remains.

One can only imagine the theological conundrums the congregation at Solid Rock must be experiencing: what does God stand to gain by thunderbolting his own son? I would imagine that there are some very confused evangelicals waking up this morning in the US…

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