Editorial: Church out on a limb
Today's topic, church billboards.
One particular church's billboards.
St Matthew's in the City is at it again, getting people to talk about religion. The cheek of it.
At Christmas time too.
Other churches wouldn't be so bold, which, actually, is the point.
The more traditional churches are in decline. St Matthew's is attracting attention. All the time.
St Matthew's describes itself as a progressive Anglican church. It's in Auckland. Perhaps that's why it can afford to be progressive. There are always more people out there.
Last year's poster featured a shocked Mary looking at a pregnancy test. No, not everyone thought it was funny.
Its Facebook page had 21 million hits though, and its website 30,000 visits in a week.
Yes, a church with a Facebook page.
This year's poster shows a questioning baby Jesus in a crib surrounded by a rainbow halo. The words say: It's Christmas. Time for Jesus to come out.
This is obviously a reference to it being Christmas time, and that we should be thinking more about Jesus.
Actually, it's not.
The church's Reverend Glynn Cardy says it's designed to lift the humanity of Jesus, for people to wonder if Jesus might have been gay, and then, actually, to question whether that would make any difference for those of faith.
Did I mention the church describes itself as progressive.
For instance, it supports gay marriage.
In August its poster was of two model brides kissing atop a wedding cake, with the text "We don't care who's on top".
What does the church think it's doing?
Being talked about, is what.
And if people are talking about it, some of them just might turn up for mass. Or be more inclined to. Especially young people.
There's no such thing as bad news.
And if I recall correctly, Jesus wasn't that popular with everyone all the time.
The Timaru Herald