Ash Wednesday, Ash Every Day

From the Toledo Blade:

Pam Kest was leaving Way Public Library in Perrysburg [Ohio] Tuesday when she saw a flash of lightning and heard a loud boom, drove around a corner, and saw the cross atop the St. Rose Catholic Church steeple go up in flames. “Then five minutes later, I saw the cross fall,” Ms. Kest, 48, of Maumee, said.


Authorities said lightning struck a rod on the cross about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, setting the cross ablaze.

That news story got me wondering about other churches that the all-powerful Creator decided to set on fire.

There are no reliable numbers that I’m aware of, but here’s a tantalizing fact:

• Google “church fire lightning” and you get 13.7 million hits.
• “Accidental church fire,” which would include references to mostly non-arson, non-weather-related church fires, yields 5.6 million hits.
• “Church fire arson” (which, in addition to arson stories, also brings up links to church-fire reports where arson was suspected but later ruled out) delivers almost 5 million hits.

God above, with his bolt-hurling prowess, seems to be firmly in the lead here. In 2010, he even smote a 62-foot-tall statue of his Son (below, center), again in Ohio, making the toppling of the Toledo cross at the top of this post an act of divine recidivism that should probably concern believers in the Buckeye State.

Why the Lord Almighty would destroy, incessantly and with such dedication, the very structures erected to honor him, is a question for theologians to answer.

I’m just fascinated to gaze at the results of all that celestial pyromania. Here’s a small sampling I put together.

churchfires_lowres[top photo by Dan Moses via The Blade]