A Picture of Controversy

Check out this picture for a moment, and catalog your thoughts on it:

What did you think of it? What did it make you think of? Did you think it was funny?

This is a picture that appears on a billboard sponsored by the St. Matthews-in-the-City Anglican Church, in Aukland, NZ. The Vicar of that church says that they put up the billboard to make people think about “the reason for the season”…

“I don’t think it is particularly controversial. I think it is focusing and wanting to encourage people to think about the real meaning of Christmas. It isn’t about Santa and tinsel, it’s about a real baby.”

What do you think? Blasphemy, as some have said? Does it make you focus your Christmas thoughts on the child?

Joy made a good point in the comments. If you can’t see the pic very well, it’s the Virgin Mary holding a pregnancy test.

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5 Responses to A Picture of Controversy

  1. Joy says:

    To be honest, I didn’t think of Christmas at all. It just reminded me of an old photo of a nun or something. I can’t begin to tell what’s in her hand.

    They lost the ad on me.

  2. SKL says:

    I was going to say too, the art was done so poorly that you can hardly tell what their point is. Probably the only reason I figured it out was that we’re talking in grown-up Sunday School about Mary and all the speculation regarding how things went for her after she found out she was about to have a virgin birth. Would her parents believe her, etc.

    The Bible says that Mary was willing to do what God asked (not that she had a choice). Who knows whether she was able to slide under the radar (in the community) once Joseph was on board, but in any case, the picture here makes no sense. Taking a pregnancy test (let alone acting shocked at it) would only make sense if she didn’t already receive the angel’s message, believe it, and accept it.

    Honestly, I do not understand the point. I mean, yes, what happened to Mary was a big deal. But is the church trying to focus people on Jesus, or on the “scandal” his mother found herself in prior to his birth? Or, is someone trying to say the virgin birth is bull and she was just an everyday pregnant teen? Whatever the goal, it seems to have gone over like a lead balloon.

  3. Sue says:

    They would have been better off putting a billboard up with Mary holding Jesus if they wanted to remind us of what Christmas is really about.

  4. Laura says:

    My first reaction, in all honesty, was “this is an awesome way to get people to think about abortion”, especially since it was sponsored by a church. A teen finds herself pregnant in a time when doing that could lead to your death is a really big deal. But she chose to keep the baby anyway. (discounting, for a moment, the fact that she’d already discussed things with the Angel).

    I think, in that context, it’s really well-done and thought provoking. A little humor/irony, a little jarring, and very thought-provoking

    But to automatically make the jump to Christmas? That’s where it falls off. I don’t think it’s blasphemous, as some have said, but I also don’t think it’s very effective at all.

    This church has done things like this in the past. Two years ago, they tried the same “think about Christmas” thing with a poster of Mary in bed with Joseph. (covers pulled up to their necks, both lying on their backs, side-by-side) Joseph has a forlorn look on his face, and Mary is looking longingly toward Heaven. The caption reads, “Poor Joseph, God was a hard act to follow.”

    That one makes even less sense than this one. Maybe I don’t “get” the NZ sense of humor?

    And then, earlier this year (April, right near Easter), they got in a billboard-off with a local pizza joint, Hell Pizza, who put up a board advertising their Hot Cross Buns that read, “For a limited time. Just like Jesus.” The church responded with a board that looked very similar to the pizza place’s, but read, “Hell no, we won’t give up pizza for Lent!” Which is cute, I appreciate their stab at humor, but again, at least to me, it falls flat.

    I’m all for churches, and even non-religious groups, putting up billboards that make you think. But these just don’t make sense, at least not in the context of the holiday(s) they’re trying to promote.

  5. Nikki says:

    I actually chuckled. I thought right away it was Mary holding a pregnancy test, but as far as to what they were advertising, I had no clue! Christmas surly did not come to mind!

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