'God was a hard act to follow': Catholics outraged as church billboard shows Joseph and Mary in bed

For some people Christmas remains a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but the virgin birth is one part of the Christmas story that can cause controversy, even within the church.

A billboard at a New Zealand church has become the talk of the town for depicting a downcast Joseph lying beside Mary in bed with the heading ‘Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow’.

Church vicar Archdeacon Glynn Cardy said the sign was intended to challenge stereotypes about the way Jesus was conceived and get people talking about the Christmas story, but not everyone has taken it that way.

One paint-wielding vandal defaced the billboard just hours after it was erected on Thursday outside the St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church in Auckland.

Read more: dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1236575/Semi-nude-Mary-Joseph-spark-outrage-challenging-stereotypes-virgin-birth.html#ixzz0ZxXpgZUd

Here’s an approving article from Ekklesia which I gather is a radical-Anglican journal:

Glynn Cardy, priest at the progressive church, told Ekklesia that the advert has already sparked considerable conversation around the meaning of the incarnation.

“Progressive Christianity is distinctive in that not only does it articulate a clear view, it is also interested in engaging with those who differ. Its vision is one of robust engagement,” he said.
“At Bethlehem, low-life shepherds and heathen travellers are welcome while the powerful and the priests aren’t. The stories introduce the topsy-turvy way of God, where the outsiders are invited in and the insiders ushered out.

“No doubt on Christmas Eve when papers print the messages of Church leaders most of them will serve up ‘middle mush’. Jesus will be born in a palatial sanitised barn and every king and crook, religious and irreligious, will be surrounding him saying ‘Merry Christmas my friends!’ No reader will be asked to do or think anything risky, no reader will be offended, and no reader will write a critical response. They’ll just yawn and turn the page.”

Ah, yes, the progressive church, so much more enlightened than we poor benighted slobs who settle for the ‘middle mush’ served up by orthodox Church leaders.

It sounds like they are all about argumentativeness. I don’t get their point.

Anglicans would do well to avoid their churches.

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