By David Crampton
A New Zealand church’s latest provocative billboard shows a picture of a crucified Jesus on a Facebook page, with the image “liked” by Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
“We decided to make a joke about the propensity of Christians to lay blame,” said the Rev. Glynn Cardy, vicar of St. Matthew’s-in-the-City Anglican church in downtown Auckland. “Who was to blame for Jesus’ death?” he said in a video interview on the www.stuff.co.nz media website.
It’s not the first time St. Matthew’s has tried to get people talking. Last Christmas its billboard, erected on a corner of the church lawn, featured a shocked Mary holding a positive test from a home pregnancy kit.
Although a sign under the billboard lists the conventional Holy Week and Easter services, some of Cardy’s theological views are as unconventional as the billboard. Regarding Easter, Cardy said Judas and the Jews were originally blamed for Jesus’ death, and Christians now blame themselves because of the idea that Jesus died for our sins.
“Jesus was not a cosmic sacrifice for our sins — I don’t go with that at all,” he said in an interview. “He died because he peeved a bunch of powerful people off. He lived and preached a message of radical inclusion that threatened the status quo [and] the authorities killed him for it.”
Cardy said he believes “the ‘dying for sins’ business was a spin the Church applied at a later date.”
His Easter Sunday sermon, obtained by ENInews, will discuss spiritual anarchy and the death of Jesus. “Jesus was out of control and wanted to break the control system. It was a vision that would get him killed. It was a bad Friday on that Golgotha hill,” Cardy said.
In previous years, vandals have slashed the St. Matthew’s billboards.