Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow.

Traditionally Christians tend to get into the whole Christmas spirit thing with a fair amount of gusto every year about this time. The St Matthew-in-the-City Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand has decided to kick it up a notch this year by putting up a billboard showing what looks like a naked virgin (?) Mary and Joseph in bed together with the caption, "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow".

St Matthew's preacher, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy says of the billboard, "It is intended to challenge stereotypes about the way that Jesus was conceived and get people talking about the Christmas story."

Well New Zealand's conservative Christians are talking alright. Auckland Catholic Diocese spokesperson, Lyndsay Freer said, "Such a poster is inappropriate and disrespectful. Our Christian tradition of 2,000 years is that Mary remains a virgin and that Jesus is the son of God, not Joseph."

It is an interesting take, of course, but if you actually read the poster it does say, "God was a hard act to follow", which would indicate to me that (to be delicate) God knocked up Mary. Now the "Mary remains a virgin" thing is, to me, right out of left field. If I'm understanding this, the conservative Christians, and the Catholic church, believe believe that Mary remained a virgin even after taking one for the team and pounding out a Messiah? That is one messed up chunk of theological thinking going on there. I would have thought that after the Nativity was done and the wise-men had all gone home that Mary would have kicked back and maybe made the windows rattle with her husband a little bit. She had already done her bit and I would guess that all that riding a donkey around and casting her eyes heavenward all the time probably got a little old and so it would have been time to relax and have some fun. That's what I think anyway.

And looking at the poster itself one wonders what is supposed to be going through Joseph's mind here. To me he appears to be pouting a bit, perhaps with a little embarrassment mixed in, while the woman formerly known as the virgin Mary has her eyes cast heavenward (!), maybe thinking of, well, whatever. Then Joseph says, "Like, was it good for you?" and Mary goes, "You know, it was, like, ok," and Joseph is all, "Yeah, like, ok? Or do you mean OK?" and Mary says, "Sure, like, you know, ok." So Joseph says (to himself), "Crap!" and Mary says (to herself), "The last guy was way better." Now I have to admit to the possibility that I am reading way too much into this picture, just like that guy in Auckland who took it upon himself to spread brown paint all over the poster. However the only real point that he managed to make that I can see was, "Hey look at me! I'm a vandal!" What a dork.

Anyway... Humouroceros


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