Billboard vicar invited to address church progressives

The billboard of Joseph and Mary caused an outcry. Photo / Sarah Ivey
The billboard of Joseph and Mary caused an outcry. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The Auckland priest whose church's cheeky Christmas billboard provoked vandal attacks has been invited to speak to a Melbourne progressive religion conference.

Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City, caused outrage among conservative Christians after putting up the billboard last week.

The billboard depicted Mary and Joseph in bed with the caption "Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow".

Archdeacon Cardy said his church was firmly on the progressive side of the Christian continuum and the billboard was about getting people to question what the Christmas conception story was all about.

"Is it about a spiritual male God sending down sperm so a child would be born, or is it about the power of love in our midst as seen in Jesus?" he said.

Richard Carter, president of the Common Dreams progressive religion conference, said delegates would want to hear more from Archdeacon Cardy when they convened in Melbourne in April.

"Whether you agree with the approach or not, this issue goes to the heart of progressive Christianity," Mr Carter said.

"It's about the shift in thinking from a set of supernatural beliefs, to how Jesus lived and encouraged others to live."

The billboard was attacked four times, including with paint and with a knife.

Archdeacon Cardy said he had no regrets about the billboard and the debate that it provoked.

"We are glad that discussion about Santa, food, and present-buying was momentarily usurped by a discussion about Jesus."


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