A Church with a Sense of Humor

There are so many Christians out there who get easily offended by people who criticize their faith or even make jokes about it that we ought to commend a church that takes the jokes and spits them right back.

St Matthew-in-the-City church in Auckland, New Zealand is responsible for these memorable ads:

They’re GLBT friendly, too:

I bring them up because, recently, local eatery Hell Pizza put up this billboard:

But St Matthew-in-the-City came back with a billboard of its own:

Well played, Anglicans…

“The purpose of the billboard is to suggest that you can’t put all Christians in the same box,” [Priest-in-charge Clay] Nelson said.

“We want to engage society. In this case we want to engage the church that chose to be offended by what was really just a source of fluff and amusement.

“Sometimes we do take on our fellow co-religionists to say ‘look, by making a fuss about this all you did was give them even more publicity — is that because you like Hell Pizza so much or what?’

“We are just reminding people we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously about such things.”

It’s the attitude every church needs to have.

It doesn’t make me want to go to their church or think they’re right when it comes to theology, but I would love to have discussions about faith with them.

(Thanks to Sam for the link!)

  • Lost In The Bible Belt

    That is pretty great!

  • pirmas407

    I laughed, didn’t convert, but you have to love a good sense of humor.

  • http://parsleyvictorious.blogspot.com Parsley Victorious

    This is the kind of Church I can coexist with. Maybe even settle in with a few beers and talk theology in a happy, good-natured manner!

  • anon

    The world would be a much better place if all religionists had their sense of humor!

  • http://religionsetspolitics.blogspot.com/ Joshua Zelinsky

    The last about not giving up pizza for Lent is really funny. The others are also amusing. Good for them.

  • http://www.overgrowngrass.blogspot.com Ryan

    Very nice. Theists and atheists alike should be able to have this sort of humor, with the respect to back it. Ah, what a world that would be…

  • http://godlessmonkey.wordpress.com bobby

    I live in Auckland. Kiwis in general are not very religious, one of things I like about this place but the “god was a hard act to follow” and the Hell Pizza buns are both causing a lot of anger here. I’m loving every minute of it.

  • Gibbon

    Like Bobby, I’m in the fortunate position of living in NZ, albeit in the capitol instead, and I have to say that even though I’m neither an atheist or religious, if I was to join a religion my first choice would be St Matthew-in-the-City church. At least they have the humility to occasionally laugh at themselves.

    Personally, my favourite of all those billboards has to be the one with the silhouette of Christ the Redeemer. It relies on an easily recognised religious symbol (the famous statue from Rio de Janeiro) and a fairly common fishing expression, and makes a humorous pun by relating them to the story of Jesus feeding several thousand people with only a few fish and several loaves of bread. That has to be one of the best religion jokes I have ever heard.

    Can I just say, that if you want the best pizzas in New Zealand, you do have to go to Hell. Dominos are absolute crap, Pizza Hut is overrated, and store bought pizzas are second rate at best.

  • HamsterWheel

    Poor Joseph told himself it’s just a coincidence that Jesus looks so much like the shopkeeper down the street… Mary would never lie to me, she’s the best thing that ever happened to me…

  • Danielle

    That’s great that they have a sense of humor. :)

  • SeanL

    Why do they have separate services for the LGBT community? Why the need to segregate?

    What messages are they telling the straight congregants that they are afraid of telling the LGBT congregants and vice versa?

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I think my favorite part is this:

    “Sometimes we do take on our fellow co-religionists…”

    Religious leaders so rarely do that. I respect them for being willing to.

    If all religion were like this… well, I still wouldn’t agree with it, but I probably wouldn’t care.

  • Rebecca

    How big was that fish, again? lol

  • Alien

    @SeanL
    I did a quick review of the church’s website and they look to be progressive Christians. They will bless same sex unions (I have no idea if that is different than marriage or how same sex vs different sex unions are different under NZ law). I suspect the GLBT service Sunday evenings is not a “don’t mingle with the straights at the usual service” but a service to reach out to the GLBT community, like come to the service where there are others like you that will help you feel welcome. Kind of like how contemporary worship services are to reach out to the younger generation, not a “we don’t want no youngsters at our serious traditional service”.

    The fish was this big and poor Joseph are my favorites. Joseph is probably sad because Mary was screaming “OH GOD! YES!”

  • Brian

    They’re still people of faith, and faith is the enemy.

  • Kaylya

    There’s a major bridge in Montreal which has been in the news due to it’s deteriorating condition.

    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese recently put up a billboard next to it that translates to “Say your prayers”.

    I thought that was pretty funny ;)

  • JB

    I notice on their site that St Matthews asks
    “What faith group do you identify with?” and they list non-theist instead of atheist. That indicates a sensitivity to the correct meaning of the word that others have chosen to taint with assumptions.
    I respect their willingness to think about concepts that others merely parrot.

    http://www.stmatthews.org.nz/nav.php?sid=444

  • elricthemad

    If every church were this accepting and laid back, we wouldn’t need atheist groups, blogs etc.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Brian,

    They’re still people of faith, and faith is the enemy.

    I’m no fan of religious faith, but I’m not going to tag it as “the enemy” unless it’s actually harmful to individuals and to society. The sort of faith espoused by this church seems benign to me. If all Christians were like this, we atheists wouldn’t have anything to complain about.

    • JohnnieCanuck

      Well, some of us might grumble a little, but hopefully not so loudly that they could hear it.


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