I’m pretty sure I’m glad this billboard didn’t go up in Sumner County…somebody would be in deep doo doo.
Thankfully (or not) this was put up by a church in New Zealand, and the Deacon wrote a sermon to accompany it. Its clear it did provoke conversation, which was the intent all along, according to the Deacon. I was struck by more than a few of the comments on the Church’s website, among my favorites:
This smacks of a publicity stunt whose only purpose is self-promotion at the expense of truth. It is plain that your ‘church’ has an agenda, and it is not a Christian one. “Differences downplayed and community extolled” – the words of a radical who seeks not to set people free with the truth, but rather divide and conquer. You may have the building, and the parishioners, but I would suggest that the holy spirit has long since departed from your ‘church.’
If Jesus is the product of divine insemination (in whatever format) and not the seed of Joseph, then he is not human, his crucifixion means nothing because he has no connections to humanity, it’s just God killing himself to prove he can.
If however (as must be true) Jesus is an enlightened being birthed from the union of a man and a woman, then his life and his death can be seen as a statement of the possibilities of humanity, not some freak show that simply excites Mel Gibson fans.
I don’t think Mary’s first experience of sex was any more a disappointment to her than most other women experience. It certainly wouldn’t have occurred to her to compare Joseph’s performance with God’s, because the entire act would have been brand new. It would not have in any way resembled the moment of her conception of Jesus, which occurred while she was sleeping.
You’re ignorance embarasses you buddy.
There is much more in the comments section. I found Matthew’s style a little over the top, but I applaud the effort to make Christians think and talk about their Faith in unorthodox ways. I happen to believe that Jesus was a human being, conceived just like the rest of us, who reached the highest levels of enlightenment through a combination of contemplation and reflection. Go ahead and call it prayer, if you like. I’ve often wondered why we are usually presented with an extremely condensed version of this special man’s life…so much emphasis placed on the circumstances surrounding his death at the hands of those in power, and rather little on his life prior to…
This “experiment” by St. Matthews church allowed me to read dozens of perspectives on what Christianity means to people from all over the world, and how can that be a bad thing? Lastly, I’ll admit to being concerned how the old model of teaching about Christ will resonate amongst our youth…particularly if the message is coupled to so many supernatural occurrences that it requires the student to suspend his/her logic so early on. Clearly, “IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I SAY IT’S TRUE” has the effect of driving so many younger people away.
I’ll be watching what happens on the other side of the world.