I drove past the above advertising billboard recently and thought it was an obvious topic for a blog post. I enjoy a good laugh about religion, and think we miss a lot of Jesus’ jokes in the gospels because we are often too precious. Sometimes, however, I think something is beyond a joke – a good rule of thumb is, would you make the same joke about Jews or Muslims… I don’t think the above billboard would pass. Jesus, I am sure, would have had a quick, witty response, but I realised that a blog post would just be further advertising. In this case free. There’s no such thing as bad publicity…

Hell Pizza director Warren Powell said:
“I do not see how it could possibly be disrespectful to anyone’s religion.”

[Hello, earth to other planet: isn’t that an allusion to a satanic pentacle where Christians normally put a cross?]

He said, “First of all, we’re acknowledging that Jesus Christ may have been on Earth for a limited time.”

OK. So that’s what was meant by that obscure line. I was trying to see how it fitted in with our resurrection belief – but it’s actually just based on someone’s idea that if a person isn’t on YouTube then he might not really be historical. Profound.

Anyway. St Matthew’s in the City in Auckland might be close to Jesus’ response:

Christmas 2009 St Matthew’s billboard was controversial with a God-was-a-hard-act-to-follow-for-Joseph image. What was fascinating was that many of the same people who complained about that St Matthew’s billboard a year later lauded St Paul’s Symonds Street Christmas video. The irony, of course, is that both the billboard and the video were produced by the same people – parishioners of St Paul’s. God does have a sense of humour.

Image source here, and here.

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