St Matthew-in-the-City pushes the envelope again
Wed, 14 Dec 2011 6:23p.m.
By Amanda Gillies
A billboard put up outside an Auckland church has been labelled "weird" and "inappropriate".
It shows the Virgin Mary clearly shocked as she looks at a positive pregnancy test - but it's not the first time the church has courted controversy.
It's supposed to be the Virgin Mary's moment of epiphany.
"I think it's really weird," one person told 3 News. "I don't think it's that appropriate to have outside a church."
"It's weird, but not really offensive," said another.
"Well, I obviously don't agree with it being weird and creepy," says Glynn Cardy, vicar at of St Matthew-in-the-City, who came up with the idea for the billboard.
"It's trying to make people think about Christmas and to then think compassionately and kindly about people in a similar situation."
He means young, pregnant and struggling.
Now more than 2000 years after she gave birth, this billboard has made the Virgin Mary a talking point on Facebook.
"There's a competition going about what sort of caption we should have underneath it," says Mr Cardy. "Oeople got all sorts of weird ideas on that one, from the blasphemous to the witty as you can imagine."
Two years ago, the church put up another controversial billboard – this one had Joseph and Mary in bed. It was labelled "offensive", "perverse" and "the work of the devil".
It was vandalised three times before it was taken down, and the Advertising Standards Authority received a number of complaints.
But the authority declined to uphold the complaints, saying the billboard was controversial, but it wasn't obscene.
A lot like this one.
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20/12/2011 8:06:36 a.m.
This carries a sense of the disturbing but how in God's strength a devastating situation can be redeemed. If you read the Christmas story carefully, there were some desperate people. However being reassured they are told to embrace the reality. So instead of the possibly an unwanted baby it is taken in by a Joseph and an unprepared Mary. In the past unwittingly I have had real unmarried mother's babies for the Christchild and only last Sunday I baptised a child from an unwed situation. The touching moment for me was as the grandfather knelt beside his daughter and gave her an supportive smile.
19/12/2011 4:02:24 a.m.
The same people who are outraged by this billboard would have been outraged by Jesus, a outspoken critic of the orthodoxy of his day. He made enough people angry with his critiques that he died.
16/12/2011 5:14:18 p.m.
What's blasphemous to you is not necessarily blasphemous to members of this congregation. Different sects have entirely different interpretations of scripture. Many freethinking Christians do not accept the literal interpretation or historicity of the virgin birth.
If you think about this rationally, non-artificial parthenogenic human reproduction seems highly implausible, and contravenes everything that our reason tells us about human biology. Surely God would prefer you to utilise all the faculties he provided you with, rather than just blindly accept other Christians interpretations of a text written nearly one hundred years after Jesus' death.
Don't be like the fundamentalist Muslims and try to censor things that offend your sensibilities.
15/12/2011 5:23:58 p.m.
Jesse Morton wrote:
I think the billboard is absolutely blasphemous. The Gospel of Luke makes it very clear that after the angel apeared to Mary and told her of God's plan to have the Christ born of her, Mary said something of the effect of "let it be as the Lord has spoken!" Therefore, when she became pregant with our Lord Jesus, she would have been joyful, not shocked as this billbaord suggests.
15/12/2011 4:23:29 p.m.
Kay Burghart wrote:
This church is forgetting a important fact Mary was not sexualy active she got pregnant by God (the holy spirit) and never had sex with Joseph. What are you people thinking it makes out to be making poor judements and God choose Mary because she was a woman after God own heart
15/12/2011 12:05:03 a.m.
I'm a Christian and I don't find this offensive. Sure it's slightly weird but people need to lighten up and get a sense of humour. It gets people talking about what Christmas means to them. All good in my opinion
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