A "progressive" Anglican church in Auckland, New Zealand has erected a billboard depicting Mary looking dejected after unsatisfying sex with Joseph.
The huge ad shows the unhappy couple in bed accompanied by the slogan: "Poor Joseph. God was a hard act to follow." In the fresco-style work, Joseph looks down red-faced while an anguished Mary looks to the heavens.
The vicar of St Matthew's, the Venerable Glynn Cardy, said it was a cutting-edge strategy to engage non-believers.
He rejects the "fundamentalist" view that Christianity is about individual salvation. The St Matthew's website states,
For fundamentalist Christians the incarnation is about the miraculous arrival of a baby soon to die and by his blood save us. For progressive Christians the incarnation is about the miracle of this planet earth and all life that exists here.
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?
Apparently you don't have to be a Christian to be "progressive". You can be a Hindu, Muslim, or Buddhist. What progressives hold in common are is commitment to inclusiveness, tolerance, peace, social justice, human rights, and open thought.
Progressive Christians recognize the faithfulness of other people who have other names for the way to God's realm, and acknowledge that their ways are true for them, as our ways are true for us.
Whatever else this "progressive" faith is, it is not Christian. How can an archdeacon of the Anglican church promote such views? Something is very wrong.