Is this advertisement blasphemous, genius, or a little of both?
You likely know who Mary is. She's God's mom (madre de dios!). Despite having a boyfriend/traveling companion, she was a virgin when she gave birth to a boy named Jesus. Her buddy and future husband was Joseph (not to be confused with Joseph of Arimathea or Joseph the 11th son of Jacob). Though not the baby Jesus's actual father, he treated the son as if he were his own, even teaching him the ropes in the carpentry racket. And it was good.
But we didn't hear much about Joseph and Mary outside of a flight to Egypt, Jesus's bar mitzvah, much hand-wringing in the final days and some pretty out-there allegations in The Da Vinci Code. The artisans of the Gothic era tried to remedy this by venerating the Madonna through the medium of stained glass* but it was a bit of an afterthought. And Joseph has been relegated to the same forgotten realm as most stepfathers who've followed.
Not no more! According to the Huffington Post, a New Zealand church has brought Mary and Joseph back into limelight with a little advertisement showing the forlorn couple in bed, with a caption that reads, "God is a hard act to follow." Read: Church Of England Publishes Book On Sex
There are several things that, inevitably, most people find unfunny: The sexuality of one's own mother, and the sexuality of the mother of the son of Man. Obviously, implying that Mary had an unsatisfying sex life years after being impregnated by the big guy was a surefire way to raise some hackles. Apparently, The St. Matthews In The City church, in Auckland, NZ, intended the piece as a way to get people talking about the Christmas story. Read: 11 Reasons To Date A Church-Going Guy
Unless the ad wizards at St. Matthews totally have their Hs up their As, the reaction must have been expected. The results were threefold: 1) People who already appreciate the church's cheekiness were tickled by these meshugas; 2) People who previously didn't want to go to church because it is bo-ring! are now considering checking out this particular house of worship; and 3) opponents of poor taste, and maybe a little blasphemy, have screamed loud enough that even columnists (fine, bloggers) as far away as the United States' East Coast heard about it. Read: Woman Asked To Choose Between Church And Side Job Selling Smut
Obviously, churches need congregations. Part of building that flock is keeping the topics of your sermon relevant (ie. money and sex). And maybe you have to show a little leg to get 'em in the door in the first place. Ultimately, in this age of YouTube, Twitter and short attention spans, how else would you expect Jesus to spread the word?
*Frescoes were deader than coke at that point.