God a 'hard act to follow' - billboard
Wed, 16 Dec 2009 10:24p.m.
By Ali Ikram / NZPA
Churches around the country are getting ready for Christmas. For many this might mean a nativity scene with donkeys, wise men and of course, the baby Jesus.
But at Auckland's St Matthew in the City they like to do things differently.
In all the talk of Jesus and Mary and the wise men, everyone forgets poor old Joseph, Mary's husband. Even the donkey gets a bigger part.
But a billboard going up tomorrow will change all that.
On it, Mary and Joseph are in bed. Joseph looks down dejected. Mary looks sad. The caption reads: "Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow."
The sign was commissioned by St Matthews in the City, and is the work of ad agency Saatchis.
"It's playing on those who think of a, god being male and b, impregnating Mary in a very literal way," says Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, "whereas I, and most of the people at St Matthews, don't have that belief at all."
The church wanted to get people beyond the nativity story and think more about the Christian message. Some ideas were rejected because they were too out there – such as a giant glow-in-the-dark sperm cell coming down from the sky.
Others didn't make the cut because they weren't out there enough.
Edgy billboards have become a yuletide tradition at St Matthews in the City, but the Archdeacon says this is the most risqué so far.
Whether you think the placard is a bit of virgin mirth or an unholy disgrace, it gives new meaning to the phrase divine intervention.
"The true importance of Christmas" was in the radical hospitality Jesus offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick, says Archdeacon Cardy.
"His death was a consequence of the offensive nature of that hospitality and his resurrection a symbolic vindication."
Last week a campaign was started by New Zealand Atheist Bus Campaign, with the aim of raising $10,000 in public donations to fund bus ads which read "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life".
Those ads created a storm when they ran on the London Underground and British buses this year. Similar ads have run in the United States, Canada, Italy, Spain, Australia, Finland and Germany.
3 News / NZPA
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16/12/2011 7:16:45 a.m.
The problem I have with the above is that the Archbishop, in his push to show the "real" side of Christianity, falls right into the trap of portraying Jesus as the original "anti-Jew" by saying that Jesus introduced a radical hospitality to the poor, etc. That is not so. The Essenes had started the inns as hospitals; the Torah teaches kindness to enemies and animals, Rabbinical teachings from before Jesus' day are very much into kindness, hospitality, etc. Anyone with any training whatsoever in the Jewish faith (and Jewish documents that pre-date Jesus) knows that Jesus was not a "radical" Jew in that sense. In the sense that he believed in an apocolyptic future, maybe. In the sense that he believed he was going to save Israel from Rome, maybe. But his messages (which do not include his supposed deity, BTW) fit well into the known Jewish tradition of the time.
If we REALLY want to start paying attention to the "real" messages of a religion, the place to start is by becoming educated as to the actual history, teachings, traditions, and meanings of other religions... and quit elevating our own religion at the expense of others.
You can't preach "do unto others" and then do others in to get ahead. Unless, of course, that's how you want someone to treat YOUR religion.
15/12/2011 7:05:40 p.m.
Patrick Keyser wrote:
Is it possible for anyone to comment without either being rabidly anti-religion OR being sanctimoniously offended? I for one found nothing wrong with it, although I hope the Archdeacon anticipated any possible negative reaction. Please, fellow Christians, there are worse things to be done. By punishing those who find humor in our faith, you make the side of faith humorless and inhospitable while at the same time swelling the ranks of the nonbelievers.
In order to parody anything well, one needs to, in one's heart, truly love it. Anyone who makes fun of something they truly despise only comes off as spiteful and mean-spirited. Why do you force the only people who can poke fun at God and laugh about our own flaws with him to be silent, thus FORCING all humorists to the side of atheism? That's both counterproductive and narrow-minded. Only the truly faithful can make faith funny.
4/01/2010 7:02:57 p.m.
The amazing athiest wrote:
Its amazing that u christians are to blind to see the joke read the article then comment or are ur minds just to small for that?
3/01/2010 5:55:26 p.m.
@ Wendy: "This makes me so angry and in light of that just imagine how God feels about it." This is pretty much the way most Christians I know react. If something makes them angry, then it follows that God is angry, too. Because, you know, Christians know exactly everything there is to know about God. That's why they're never, ever wrong about anything.
24/12/2009 9:43:32 p.m.
I am appalled that this billboard has been allowed to see the light of day. That so called church should be ashamed, they are an abomination and a disgrace to all that is sacred and holy and at this time of the year as well. This makes me so angry and in light of that just imagine how God feels about it. I'm surprised the church is still standing and hasn't been struck down by lightening or the wrath of God. Here's hoping.
24/12/2009 9:23:48 p.m.
God, revealed to us in Jesus Christ, is holy, peaceable, covenanting, self-sacrificing, compassionate, generous and benign in His sovereign rule.
How does a childish billboard like this honour our gracious Lord, who was willing to die so that our relationships with Him and with one another could be restored?
I see the billboard has been destroyed. At least someone has the guts to act in the face of blasphemy. Good on you, whoever you are.
Archdeacon Glynn Cardy - you are supposed to be a shepherd of souls. You shouldn't be poking fun at the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. What sacrifices have you made for those less fortunate than yourself?
20/12/2009 7:25:30 p.m.
I believe that this kind of advertising is fulfilling this prophecy - But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, BLASPHEMERS, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; and from these turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 www.OneTruthOneFaith.com
18/12/2009 5:05:57 p.m.
You want the truth?
Read: 'The Mystical City of God' by the Venerable Mary Jesus of Agreda (Vol 1 - 4) ....Free for download at archive.org
May be the most important thing you will do your whole entire lives.
Just remember, you are going to die one day...and your going to realise that all this time on earth was a test of your love for God and your love for your fellow men.
18/12/2009 7:55:42 a.m.
New Zealanders are smart enough to be abandoning religion in droves. I think it's great that a church is able to be this humorous, but religion is irrelevant to educated people in a free society. It served the purpose of giving primitive people an answer to questions they couldn't answer, but we have real answers today, and no longer need the Middle Eastern monotheisms. Happy Solstice!
17/12/2009 7:24:34 p.m.
Its possible to have Christian values without being a "Christian" - and my logic tells me that God would never have sex with a human - male or female. It really does not make sense!
But whatever makes others happy, is their buisness!
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