Dear Reverend Cardy:I can't tell you that the Lord isn't present in "progressive Christian" churches such as this St. Matthew's Church in Auckland, New Zealand. I don't pressume to tell the Lord where and where not to go. No one is ever far from His grace. But I also say that, judging from this disgusting display, the demonic infestation afflicting St. Matthew's makes for a very crowded congregation. Matthew himself must be pretty busy interceding for the shepperds and so many people who have so mangled the Gospel he once wrote to preserve the soft, gentle memory of faith of God's transcendent intervention in human history, through the humble vessel of a poor, Spirit-filled Nazarene virgin.
I've just read a news report published in the BBC website about your billboard distorting the meaning of Christ's virginal conception and mangling the marriage and family life of Joseph and Mary.
From half a hemisphere away I wish to register my hurt and my disgust at this blatant publicity stunt. I can't begin to fathom what you wanted to achieve with it.
Your stated justification to the effect that the billboard was meant to "challenge stereotypes of Christianity" is lame and disingenous, and an insult to the intelligence of millions of devoted, and yes, intellectually aware believers worldwide, not to speak of those of simple, childlike faith who will precede you and me in the Kingdom of Heaven whom have scandalized.
There are other ways to communicate messages challenging what Christmas has become in this materialist,secularized age. Yet, you have chosen to do so by means of a lurid portrait, a distortion of the biblical record, and a cheap shot at a love you have no business intruding, much less defacing in such a public fashion.
You have taken the low road. You have brought great shame and dishonor to yourself, your congregation and your denomination. May God, who we both agree is slow to anger and rich in mercy, forgive you.
Yours in Christ,
Well done, Churchmouse. Requiescat in pace. - Over the fall and winter months, I participated in a Bible Study program at our parish. Fellow blog contributor Harry and his wife Ann were familiar faces ...