The Venerable Glynn Cardy, Vicar of St. Matthew-in-the-city an Anglican parish in Aukland, New Zealand, is undoubtedly a happy camper this holiday season, having attracted round the world news coverage to the “Progressive” statement made by the above billboard he erected in his city’s downtown just in time for Christmas.
The Guardian (Manchester, UK) reports that within five hours of the billboard’s appearance, someone actually connected with Christianity was seen attempting to paint over the billboard.
In the characteristically triumphant and self-congratulatory manner of leftists like himself who have infiltrated their way into roles representing a faith they actually despise, Glynn Cardy dismisses conventional Christianity as fundamentalism and its religious message as “mush.”
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.
Christian fundamentalism believes a supernatural male God who lived above sent his sperm into the womb of the virgin Mary. Although there were a series of miraculous events surrounding Jesusâ€™ birth â€“ like wandering stars and angelic choirs â€“ the real miracle was his death and literal resurrection 33 years later. The importance of this literal resurrection is the belief that it was a cosmic transaction whereby the male God embraced humanity only after being satiated by Jesusâ€™ innocent blood.
The Christmas billboard on a local fundamentalist church sums up this thesis. It reads: â€œJesus born 2 die 4 u!â€ His birth was just an hâ€™orderve (sic) before the main Calvary course.
No doubt on Christmas Eve when papers print the messages of Church leaders a few of them will serve up this fundamentalist thesis wrapped in a nice story.
Progressive Christianity believes the Christmas stories are fictitious accounts designed to introduce the radical nature of the adult Jesus. They contrast the Lord and Saviour Caesar with the anomaly of a new â€˜lordâ€™ and â€˜saviourâ€™ born illegitimate in a squalid barn. At Bethlehem low-life shepherds and heathen travelers are welcome while the powerful and the priests arenâ€™t. The stories introduce the topsy-turvy way of God, where the outsiders are invited in and the insiders ushered out.
Progressive Christianity doesnâ€™t overlook Jesusâ€™ life and rush to his death. Rather it sees the radical hospitality he offered to the poor, the despised, women, children, and the sick, and says: â€˜this is the essence of Godâ€™. His death was a consequence of the offensive nature of that hospitality and his resurrection a symbolic vindication.
The Christmas billboard outside St Matthew-in-the-City lampoons literalism and invites people to think again about what a miracle is. Is the miracle a male God sending forth his divine sperm, or is the miracle that God is and always has been among the poor?
Mr. Cardy claims to be lampooning literalism, but he is obviously really using a coarse image to mock and deride the central articles of faith of Christianity, as part of an ongoing project in which Christian beliefs are systematically replaced by those of a 19th century heresy called Marxism.