Controversial billboard taken down after third attack
This full sized street billboard has been outside St Matthew's in the City, Auckland, since Thursday. this week. Yesterday, after the third defacement by angry locals, this time a knife attack by an elderly woman, the Church took it down. Though St Matthew's, and especially its vicar, Archdeacon Glynn Cardy, had seen it as a way of encouraging debate as to the meaning of Christmas, it was all too much for the wider Auckland Christian community, who were deaf to the intent:
"To make the news at Christmas it seems a priest just needs to question the literalness of a virgin giving birth. Many in society mistakenly think that to challenge literalism is to challenge the norms of Christianity. What progressive interpretations try to do however is remove the supernatural obfuscation and delve into the deeper spiritual truth of this festival..."
Glynn Cardy - see here for full article
Bishop of Auckland
They had also lost the support of the Bishop of Auckland, the Right Reverend John Paterson who said in a press release, there ' are a multitude of issues for a city and the wider church that he would rather focus on in the season of Christmas than a billboard'
The image stays online
That people were enraged by the message and not the artifact seems to have escaped his notice. But - hey ho - it's gone - at least in the physical world. It remains online of course. Curiously, I got this image from a press release on Scoop - the NZ news agency . Now I can't find it. Looks like it has been taken down as well.
St Matthew's Online
St Matthew's is a well known inner city Auckland Church who have an active ministry to both the local media - arts and cultural crowd - as well as the nearby possies of the homeless and distracted. So the quote that they put the image up to start a debate on the meaning of the Christian message, though a tad naive, is totally in keeping with their way of thinking.
If you want to talk to them about any of this, they have, in their own way, a totally excellent web presence/ online church, here.
You can also watch the vicar make his own point for himself, here