In its ongoing effort to provoke conversation about spiritual matters, St Matthew-in-the-City will be putting up a Christmas billboard on Thursday that lampoons literalism and invites people to think again about what amiracle is. Is the Christmas miracle a male God sending forth his divine sperm, or is the miracle that God is and always has been among the poor?
It will feature an illustration that may disturb some. 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.”
It is intended to challenge stereotypes about the way that Jesus wasconceived and get people talking about the Christmas story.
Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, vicar of St Matthew’s, is pleased at the amount of conversation it has already generated in just the conception phase 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 travelers 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.
He argues that “the true importance of Christmas is in the radical hospitality Jesus offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick, and says: ‘this is the essence of God’. His death was a consequence of the offensive nature of that hospitality and his resurrection a symbolic vindication.”
What do you think?