Controversy in New Zealand


Glynn Cardy, the vicar of St Matthew-in-the-City Church in Auckland, New Zealand has not updated his blog in a long time. He has almost always had something interesting to say; he is a progressive Christian who rejects many of the dogmas of traditional orthodoxy. It seems that he has made the news internationally with a controversial billboard that I think is hilarious but which some Christians found offensive. According to the BBC, Cardy "said the aim of the billboard had been to lampoon the literal interpretation of the Christmas conception story."

He goes on to say,

What we're trying to do is to get people to think more about what Christmas is 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?
I think that for a lot of people, Christmas is about the former. I agree with Cardy; I think it should be about the latter.


CT said...

This has been news in Australia too. Usual response is a bit of a chuckle as we are basically a secular country.

Having said that I dont like religious jokes that offend. There are many people out there who hold their religious beliefs as sacred and this type of humour is upsetting to them. Where do we draw the line ? Remember the furore when that Danish artist started doing Mohammed cartoons ? All hell broke loose. The 'freethinkers' of this world thought it was great that the west supported freedom of the press - but it damaged relationships between West and the rest as it showed we have no respect for religious tradition.

Then there was the 'Piss Christ' painting. An artist who believed his role was to upset and offend - and that indicated a successful work of art. That's ridiculous and disrespectful.

So - yes it's sort of a funny idea. But out of respect for the 5-10% who will be offended (especially traditional Catholics who revere Mary) I'd say take the poster down.

Anonymous said...


Honesty said...

For me, the line is simple. With just a little common courtesy, self-education and common courtesy we can avoid unnecessary controversies. Although, I think it is necessary, at times, to be a little aggressive, but that doesn't mean we can't be tactful. After all, we are dealing with people in a world defined by diversity.
I enjoyed reading your posts very much. Are you a process theologian?

CT said...

I've given up trying to define myself. In fact reading Mysticals blog has brought me to that position. In the end we have no idea if a God exists, no idea if there is an afterlife and no proof that there is a supernatural. On top of that we exist in a Universe that is far beyond our ability to comprehend - so we cant rule out anything any of these things. But we can spend endless hours debating them.

I've decided to stick with teachings that resonate and provide meaning - no matter where they come from. Mostly from Jesus. But I firmly believe actions speak louder than words - and a lot louder than beliefs. So get out there and love your neighbour.

Process theologian ? I am not seeking to find a God to fit my experience of the world. So I suppose I'm not any sort of theologian any more. I think told me I should be a Quaker !! :-)

But many thanks to Mystical for providing a meeting point for people to intelligently discuss such matters.

Mystical Seeker said...

I agree with you, CT, that actions speak louder than words. I find that organized religion has not worked much for me, but I think that when we love other and when we try to make the world a better place that matters a million times more than what we think about God's nature or who Jesus was in relation to God. I think that Jesus mostly inspires me a lot, but I think that it is less important what inspires us than that we are inspired to act.

Honesty said...

I definitely don’t define myself in a box like CT. I appreciate your journey into the unknown and uncertainty. I find that very refreshing and rare around me.

On the other hand I do identify myself as a descendent of Christian history, namely the Christian tradition. History, theology, experience and ethics are important tools of dialogue for me. I think we can grow tremendously without having to completely sever ourselves from a tradition, although most would probably not consider me a Christian any longer, especially by Christopher Hitchens’ standard. We are all products of our background.

I do not identify myself with a set of doctrines or beliefs but very similar to CT. I am always venturing into the unknown and never satisfied with simple answers.

During this process, I have found Process philosophy to be very helpful for me to understand the diversity and plurality of reality.

Since, Mystical Seeker referred to process theology quite often in this blog I asked if Mystical Seeker is a process thinker. That question was mainly directed at Mystical Seeker. In fact, there are quite a few process thinkers who don’t have any theistic leanings. I definitely believe praxis is more important than dubious speculations, however, it is also critical to examine the motivation behind every action. For that, I agree with both of you wholeheartedly.

Mystical Seeker said...

Honesty, I would say that I am very interested in process theology, but I am not necessarily wedded to it. I agree with you that praxis is more important than membership in any particular theological camp.