Thursday, December 17, 2009

Lucia Only the sex-obsessed could do this


The above is plastered to the outside of St Matthews in the City in Auckland.

The implication that Joseph just had sex with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that Joseph didn't measure up is offensive in the extreme.

Apparently the image is supposed to provoke discussion over where Jesus came from.

I thought everyone knew where Jesus came from and I suspect that those at St Matthews also know, so then, one has to wonder why do this if they are Christian.

Related Link: Anger at biblical bed scene ~ NZ Herald

48 comment(s):

Andrei said...

They are Progressive Christians, Lucia, and sex is a sacrament I guess.

Another example of why the Anglican Church is in decline

Melva said...

Lucia, that last line is a big assumption that doesn't play out in the very liberal end of Christianity.

The discussion about the virgin birth is debatable in such circles. There is one line of thought that believes that the idea of Mary's pregnancy by way of the Holy Spirit whilst remaining a virgin was a story used to cover either a rape, or Mary and Joseph having sexual relations outside of marriage.

I would guess that it is this line of thought that is adhered to amongst the clergy of St Matthews and any provocation of discussion would be to move people towards this thinking.

Melva said...

Oh... and it's Frank by the way. I show up as my wife's name because she has a Blogger blog in my Google account, so it defaults to the user name for her blog.

It's the only reason I haven't commented on your blog in ages, though I read it every day :)

On other Blogger blogs I use the option to give a name and url.

Since I'm home sick, I might see if I can find a solution.

-Frank (servant)

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Frank!

If you don't comment, it's like you're not here! I hope you feel better soon.

Anyway, onto the point.

It seems to me that the liberal end of Christianity wants to redefine God into their own image. Having done that myself in my forays outside of the Church, I really wonder why?

Even the comment from the Vicar on God sending sperm into Mary is presumptuous. We don't know how God made Mary pregnant.

Family Life said...

Good post Lucia, I posted on it myself this morning.

I have just posted some alternative billboard designs of my own too, here:
http://wp.me/pgZg2-1oi

Melva said...

The answer is that at the very liberal end of Christianity there is no real concept of God - at best, they are agnostic, so yes, they are free to create God, Jesus, Christianity, the Bible in whatever image they want.

I am convinced that such clergy only stay where they are and keep their 'jobs' because it feels safe to do so.

-Frank

MrTips said...

Glynn Cardy is an attention seeking idiot. St Matthews is reknown for being anything but Christian and he has got what he wanted - attention.

Melva said...

St Matthews is generally where the NZ Herald heads for comment around Christmas and Easter because they know they'll get a rise by publishing whatever they're doing.

Mainstream media is all about the fight - if they can play people off against each other, they will.

-Frank

Psycho Milt said...

Our Christian tradition of 2000 years is that Mary remains a virgin...

Actually, that's the Roman Catholic Church's tradition, not the Christian tradition. As far as I remember, the Protestant churches officially make no assumptions about Mary's sex life after Jesus' birth and the idea that Mary and Joseph were husband and wife is neither offensive nor controversial.

Melva said...

Psycho, that's true.

My comments are based around the idea that the image is supposed to provoke discussion about where Jesus came from and where St Matthew's comes from in that regard. That's a whole other discussion from the one about Mary and Joseph's relationship after Jesus was born.

But, you're right, on the latter, the Roman Catholic Church and majority of Protestant's hold a differing opinion.

-Frank

Andrei said...

Actually, that's the Roman Catholic Church's tradition, not the Christian tradition.

No Milt it is Church tradition, held by the Church since the beginning. Protestants didn't even appear until 1500 years after Christ and some selectively have abandoned Church Tradition as it suits I guess.

Whether or not you accept Church Tradition on this matter or anything else is up to you but Church Tradition remains whatever you or I think about it or its validity.

MrTips said...

Milt, that may be the case in this modern, superstitious age, but the reformers (Luther, Calvin etc.) would turn in their grave with the concept that Joseph and Mary were betrothed (the betrothal is not an issue) and acted upon it (that IS an issue). Only that recent creature, the uneducated "Christian" is unaware of the uniform belief in Mary's perpetual virginity

eg. http://www.davidmacd.com/catholic/martin_luther_on_mary.htm

Melva said...

Only that recent creature, the uneducated "Christian" is unaware of the uniform belief in Mary's perpetual virginity

I hope you're not assuming that all Christians who hold to the idea that they could have acted on the betrothal and have no problem with that (either way) are uneducated and unaware. I would place myself in that camp and am neither uneducated or unaware.

...and for what it's worth, I'm not a big fan of Luther or Calvin either. I think both created many many problems, but that goes well beyond this topic. :)

-Frank

Melva said...

... and Andrei, the last 500 years makes up a quarter of that time, thus the Protestant arm of Christianity has become well and truly part of the Christian story and tradition (little 't') whatever you or I think about it.

-Frank

Andrei said...

But surely Frank what was true in 500AD has not become false today.

So unless you think the Fathers of the Church were mistaken their teachings must remain.

And quite clearly the Fathers taught that Mary remained a perpetual Virgin indeed it was proclaimed at the 5th Ecumenical council.

Do you think the Church was mistaken? And if so why would the Holy Spirit allow this mistake to persist for so long?

scrubone said...

Quoting Calvin from Mr Tip's link above " What took place afterwards the historian does not inform us . . . No man will obstinately keep up the argument, except from an extreme fondness for disputation. "

Why even discuss it? There are far more important matters in the church. It's ridiculous.

What we *should* be discussing is gnostics who still haven't gotten the message that the church kicked them out in 325AD. This so-called church is staffed by people who oppose the Council of Nicaea's decisions, putting them outside the body of christ.

http://www.stmatthews.org.nz/nav.php?sid=447&id=898.
"There is a very sober quote from Eusebius describing the assembling of the bishops for the Council of Nicaea in 325. This Council would produce a creed that ignored the ministry, vision, and challenge of Jesus. "

Ozy Mandias said...

It is a sad way for a church to try and get people discussing Christianity.

Melva said...

Andrei, was a large portion of the church wrong when it declared the primacy of the bishop of Rome? It's the same question.

On the perpetual virginity of Mary, it doesn't bother me either way. Do I think the early church fathers got it wrong? Not necessarily. It makes no difference to my faith whether she was a perpetual virgin or not - I don't have a problem with married people having sex and I don't have a problem with them choosing to abstain - I don't lose any regard for Mary either way. It's not essential for me. I still hold her in high esteem.

My problem rises when some start using such things as definers of a person's proximity to Christ when none of the early church creeds define it as essential. Neither the Apostles Creed or either of the major versions of the Nicene Creed (the two great statements of faith) hold Mary's perpetual virginity to be of great enough significance to be included.

I have no problem with there being some disagreement within Christianity about some things when the faith neither rises nor falls on those things.

When Church tradition becomes so important that we keep adding non-essentials to the faith and define a person's faith by those measures then we have a problem.

To refer to Christians who don't necessarily agree with Mary's perpetual virginity as unaware and uneducated as if they are somehow second-class is to add something to the faith that is not central and ultimately does not matter.

I can think of some parallel examples in scripture of people who added more to the faith than was necessary, but there's no need to go there :)

The physical bodily assumption of Mary into heaven is another example of the same thing. It is present in church tradition but has been made dogma in some circles... therefore to disagree is to dissent from the church. Once again a non-essential becomes a definer of someone's faith.

Governments do the same - over time adding laws and taxes etc - overburdening people with stuff that is not central to life and in turn, giving birth to division.

On the question of the Holy Spirit, it allowed the East/West split did it not? It allows you and I to remain brothers around the essentials while possibly disagreeing around other issues.

Welcome to human community. It is us who keeps adding to the burden of union with Christ.

-Frank

Andrei said...

Frank;
You are mistaken on some things

Firstly the issue of the Primacy of the Pope was not an issue that caused the East/West Schizm. It was the issue of the Pope's authority over the Eastern Bishops, the Pope was considered to be "the first amongst equals" by all the Bishops. Neither the Eastern nor Western Church considers the other heretical in any way - the division is purely political and a sign of mankind's fallen nature.

And indeed the Symbol of Faith - the Nicene Creed does encapsulate the Christian Faith.

I totally agree that worrying about whether or not Mary remained a Virgin is trivial when it comes down to it, it is something I believe to be true, if you don't that's your belief, although why you would feel the need to reject the Churches teaching on this without a scerrit of evidence to support that position is a mystery to me.

From where I sit though Mary has a special status as Theotokos, and to me this discussion is designed to deny that place for her and by implication Christ as God.

And as you no doubt know the degradation of the Virgin Mary by the modern cultural elite is a common enough phenomena for it to be barely remarked upon.

This particular case gets attention because it is a Church that is doing it, while just down the road is a play called "Christ Almighty!" to amuse the secular with its trite offensiveness.

Melva said...

Fair comments Andrei.

let me be clear though, at this point in my life, I don't reject the perpetual virginity of Mary - I believe her and her husband COULD have had sex, but I have no firm opinion either way - it is, as you have stated, trivial.

The problem I have (as stated) is when these things are held so firmly that we push others away because of them and I have a problem with the authority of the bishop of Rome that enables non-essentials to become dogma, thus making them essential. It is this ongoing addition of dogma, enshrining things that were held widely but loosely that is my biggest issue with the Roman Catholic Church... the addition of non-essentials, making them essential to truly be considered "within" the church.

It is my understanding (correct me if I am wrong) that there are things that are considered dogma in the RCC, that while widely believed in the eastern church are not held as dogma or essential to the faith.

All that discussion aside (and it is an ongoing large discussion), we share a grievance with the likes of St Matthews.

-Frank

Psycho Milt said...

No Milt it is Church tradition, held by the Church since the beginning.

Unless you want to make a case that Protestants are not Christians, I'm pretty confident in saying that Mary being a married virgin is not "Christian" tradition. There are Christians with 500 years of tradition of not holding a strong opinion on it.

Andrei said...

Frank;
I'm sure I've said this before but I'll say it again - on the Day of Judgement we will not be subject to a Theological Exam.

I think the legalism I detect in your questions are a legacy of the Western Church.

The Church is here to light the path we are on. Her teachings are meant to help us find our way - we can accept or reject them as we see fit.

It is my opinion that both Scripture and Holy Tradition have come down to us have done so because the Church has been guided by the Holy Spirit to keep them and promulgate them down through the ages and they serve as guides for us but each of us must make the journey for ourselves.

Melva said...

Great comment Andrei.

As always, you have my utmost respect :)

-Frank

I.M Fletcher said...

On tonight's news - a guy has painted over the billboard with brown paint!!

Good for him!!!

The Anglican churches say they may also censure the 'minister'.

Psycho Milt said...

Good for him!!!

What would Jesus vandalise?

Andrei said...

What would Jesus vandalise?

John 2:13-22

13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:

15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;

16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.

17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said

Psycho Milt said...

18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

19 Jesus answered and said unto them,
"If you see something you don't like, vandalise it."

KG said...

I'm not sure whether it's amusing or simply pathetic to watch a leftist commenting on something he simply doesn't understand.
In his usual smart-ass shallow fashion..

Psycho Milt said...

You mean it's only right-wingers who have the wisdom and understanding to be enthusiastic about vandalising a church billboard? If you say so.

ZenTiger said...

If I was a Christian hating stirrer, and I asked Richard Dawkins to come up with an offensive billboard, then surely the great Dawkins could do no better than this effort?

Which leads me to wonder why a Christian feels the need to shoot themselves in the foot in such a spectacular manner.

Why did this person simply donate whatever money this cost to the Atheist Bus Advertisement Campaign?

ZenTiger said...

Milt, if you start a fire and then pour petrol on it, and then stand there with a match in your hand, why would you possibly imagine for one moment you are not an arsonist?

Or are you simply planning on pleading guilty and expecting a light sentence?

I.M Fletcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
I.M Fletcher said...

Milt, if you saw a billboard with your mother on it and a bad joke about her and your dad's wedding night sex, would you not do something about it? Or would you leave it up?

Some of the same people who protest against this 'vandalism' are probably the same who see nothing wrong with some of Greenpeace activists' antics.

Psycho Milt said...

...if you saw a billboard with your mother on it and a bad joke about her and your dad's wedding night sex, would you not do something about it?

So it's OK because you feel strongly about it? I recall working as a student on an ex-Catholic orphanage that was being turned into an American-style private Christian school. The new owner had us drag the various statues out of the chapel and destroy them with sledgehammers. He couldn't bear the offence of these "graven images" in a place of worship so he had us indulge his iconoclasm. I can't say I felt good about putting a sledgehammer through Mary's head, or pulverising Jesus, but I guess it was OK because the guy paying us to do it certainly felt very strongly about it.

Psycho Milt said...

Zen: my views are no less significant to me for the lack of a God behind them.

MrTips said...

Milt:

good on you for having the views, but they need to be informed.

It IS Xtian traditon that Mary was betrothed (thats betrothed NOT married by the way) and remained a virgin after the birth of Christ. Its all there in early writings from the Patristics and the early martyrs.

The random link that I pulled off the net in a previous post ( and when I say random I mean just that, the proof of what the reformers thought about the perpetual virginity of Mary is so abundant any link sufficed) shows just what Luther/Calvin thought about it. You can argue all you like on that, but you'll be in a room on your own, for its not worth debating: its a done deal.

Now with regards to the vandalism, is that a good thing? I don't think so, because it wasn't smart. The smarter thing to do is to complain to the Auckland diocesan Bishp and try and get Glynn Cardy fired. Thats what I've done and so have others :-) The billboard is not about Xmas, its about Glynn Cardy getting attention for Glynn Cardy. He is not fit to minister, he needs help and the Auckland Diocese should do something about it. Perhaps they could send him to rehab with Mons. Burns (the monument desecrator) from the Wellington Catholic diocese, who is both unorthodox AND vandalistic.

Psycho Milt said...

You can argue all you like on that, but you'll be in a room on your own, for its not worth debating: its a done deal.

It's a done deal for Catholics. To Anglicans, Mary and Joseph were married and Jesus had half-brothers and -sisters by the time he was an adult. Expecting an Anglican diocese to back your version is pointless.

ZenTiger said...

Sorry Milt, I meant "if one lights a fire" more than "you".

This guy's approach to "provoking discussion" was to light a fire and burn the house down. Arguing that it was merely to warm our hands on a cold night becomes so minor to the significance of burning down the house, it becomes ludicrous.

As for the resulting vandalism - I don't condone it, but I'm not surprised.

I also think your opinions or points are off the mark. What Anglicans may or may not believe it secondary to the manner this person chose to portray it.

Is it so hard to expect a little respect from people that believe freedom of speech is nothing more than freedom to offend?

Melva said...

I'm not sure whether it's amusing or simply pathetic to watch a leftist commenting on something he simply doesn't understand.
In his usual smart-ass shallow fashion..


KG, that was a poor comment.

First, this has nothing to do with "left" or "right" - in this discussion, those are poor terms. A libertarian ("right") would have no issue with the billboard and a liberal socialist (on the "left")would have no issue with this billboard. It has nothing to do with politics.

Secondly, Milt knows very well what he's talking about. He has a good grasp on the Protestant position regarding the status of Mary following the birth of Jesus and is linking that position to the billboard St Matthews has chosen to put up.

The disagreement is about whether or not the billboard is in poor taste and for me, the problem with the billboard is a couple of the assumptions it makes that are born out of St Matthews (Glyn Cardy's) view of Christians who hold a more traditional position than they do (such as me).

St Matthews is guilty of often creating a straw-man picture of more traditional forms of Christianity than what it adheres to and then attacking that straw-man.

In the article about this billboard they are quoted as expressing disagreement with the idea that God sent sperm to get Mary pregnant, that then carries through to the idea that God had some sort of sexual relationship with Mary. That's the underlying assumption of the billboard and it's that idea that I have a strong problem with.

The beginning characterization they have spoken of is wrong - there is not a belief that God sent sperm to get Mary pregnant... if there is, it would be a minority position within Christianity. The implication that God had sex with Mary is misleading and paints a wrong picture of the traditional perspective that St Matthews is well known for mocking.

I have a problem with people who paint wrong pictures of those at the more liberal end of the Christian spectrum to bolster their own position and I also have a problem with those who paint wrong pictures of more traditional positions in order to bolster their own. When this is done out of naivety, it's one thing, when it's done in a mocking fashion, it's another. St Matthews is continually guilty of the latter.

The grey area for me is in censorship - I don't necessarily agree that the billboard should be taken down though I take issue with it. I would hope that St Matthews would remove it as I believe it does not help any discussions about Christmas at all, I think it simply creates a wrong perspective of the traditional position, but I do not believe they should be legally forced to do so.

Milt is expressing his understanding of the Protestant position and he is correct in his understanding.

-Frank

Psycho Milt said...

Milt is expressing his understanding of the Protestant position and he is correct in his understanding.

Thanks Frank. That's the sum total of my dispute with the original post. That the billboard is in bad taste and maliciously mocks more conservative Christians isn't in dispute as far as I'm concerned.

Lucia Maria said...

I feel like I did a little posting and running yesterday - this thread has just exploded since yesterday morning!

The thing I need to comment on the most at the moment is Psycho Milt's smashing of chapel statues. It just makes me really sad, on multiple levels. That the statues were left to be smashed, rather than taken away by the sellers. That the new owner wanted them smashed, rather than giving them away. That the new owner made others do the smashing, thus making them complicit in his hatred of statuary. That the new owner actually wanted them smashed. And that they were smashed. It's just really, really sad.

PM, I'm not getting at you for what you did - I'm just sad, for you, that you were put in that position.

Yes, they were just inanimate objects, so no real harm was done. Except, it's like ripping up photos. No person is harmed in the ripping of photos, but it shows a hatred for the people represented. It's just disturbing.

Family Life said...

Two questions for Glyn Cardy…
http://familylifenz.wordpress.com/2009/12/18/two-questions-for-glyn-cardy/

Psycho Milt said...

That experience is one reason I'm always twitchy when people think being offended by something excuses bad behaviour. There's no doubt that this guy really was grossly offended by these statues - as far as he was concerned their very existence was an affront to God - but that genuine offence he was feeling certainly didn't make it alright to smash them.

Lucia Maria said...

Psycho,

Twitchy, huh?

I think experiences like that one you had are important, as awful as it was. They're what I call anchors, where given that it's hard to know what is true and what isn't, an experience like that is significant enough, where there is some truth inherent in what happened, so that other things can be measured by it. Questions can be asked to get to the greater truth.

I'll have to limit my comment to just that, because I have only 2-3 more hours before my children are delivered by their grandparents (they stayed overnight, while hubbie and I went to a Christmas party) ... so, must. go. shopping.

Canterbury Atheists said...

Hey, who needs to go to the expense of Atheist bus campaigns when all this bickering and law-breaking between the vary sects of Christianity over the biblical interpreation in one poster goes & does a far better job – and for free.

If you want to adhere to ‘truths’ (as your church interprets them) then have a modicum of consistency by giving the 25th December back to the pagans to have their celebrations.

All the best over the season of so-called good-will.

Paul.

Melva said...

Paul,

I reckon the atheist bus campaign will do a whole lot more to promote good discussion than the St Matthews billboard. There's nothing offensive about them - they simply promote a point of view - not mocking anyone or trying to lampoon anything. They simply offer a perspective. I'm looking forward to it.

-Frank

Lucia Maria said...

Paul,

Maybe when you stop using the Gregorian Calendar.

ZenTiger said...

Paul, most Godless Heathens such as yourself and growing numbers of pagans already have supplanted Christmas with a coca-cola friendly Santa, a public holiday aimed at getting a couple of days off work, and an opportunity to spend up large at the department store in a frenzy of materialism.

And boxing day is certainly a holy day of shopping.

Our priest last Sunday noted that when he asked a young women serving in Paper Plus if the shop stocked religious themed Christmas cards she replied "Why would people want a religious card for Christmas?"

You guys are almost there mate, keep it up. Go shopping or something, it all helps.

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