Greetings unto You Pastor Sean Taylor,

We are Pastor Jonathan Rogers of Victory Outreach Church, United Kingdom. We are writing to invite you to be our guest speaker at Our upcoming conference tagged “Divine Restoration and Testimony Conference” coming up from 9th to 11th of July 2016.

I will say, this email invitation comes as no surprise. My recent sermons have been fairly amazing. And I did just rewrite my epic bio, which Pastor Rogers claims is the reason for this invitation. Soon, I suspect, we will drop formality and I will call him Jon. And this will be the first of many all expense paid trips to England – not to mention the promised speaking fee…

But before I can help Jon, I first need to help another one of my friends, he is a Nigerian Prince!

PlaneMinus a few typos, this was one of the better spam emails I have received. It made it through to my inbox, past Google’s filters. So I found myself reading the letter and dreaming of a trip to England (lottery ticket style). I knew it was spam, but I wanted to play along. Maybe the grammar mistakes were just British English (English English?). The message linked to a fancy British mega-church – no reason to worry that the return email doesn’t have the church’s domain name. In my imagination, I was going to England…

I admit, it would be nice if the world wasn’t full of lies. In this instance, I would be going to England. But more importantly, I would not have to filter all the presidential debates and commercials. Yet the world is dishonest – even here in our church. Some are kind lies (“good sermon today”), others are confusing lies (“there is no need for you to do __________” – the very thing they hope you will do), some are spam lies (like the email, they hope to get something out of us)…

I could go on, but what I see most in this church is the lie of Christian holiness. It is a mask we all wear at one time or another – even me. We must put it on for Sunday. Our mask makes sense in our world. We are accustomed to imagining other realities. Not just imaginary trips to England, we imagine a better version of ourselves. Like spam we tell the world our mask is true.

child-affordable-batman-maskYet the invitation of Christ calls us out of the world’s masquerade. Quite the opposite of masks – our invitation is to the community of the forgiven. Our invitation invites us to uncovering confession (we can’t come to Christ without confession). So built into our invitation is the fact of our own brokenness. To cover ourselves with a mask treats the call of Christ as a spam invitation to grace.

Far from a spam lie, the revelation – our lives before God – is not the expected self-loathing, but the embrace of His love. The grace of His forgiveness. The arrival of His kingdom where we are heirs.

This is the invitation of church. In our brokenness there is Healing and Hope.

The email from Pastor Rogers sits in my inbox. It is hard to imagine anyone foolish enough to answer the email.*1  Taking off our masks seems just as foolish. We hold our pretend holiness, not for Christ but for others. A mask is expected – we are judged if we pull the mask back. So there is a part of me that wonders if I am ridiculous to even suggest lowering our masks. Am I crazy to suggest confession? Will we be met with blank stares? Or worse, mocked and ostracized?

It is safer just to continue our masquerade… and yet…

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11)

*1 On Email Spam — I am hard pressed to imagine a person responding – much less handing over credit card information. How is spam even worth coding the computer program which emails them (or I assume it was a computer that thought “Rogers” was plural and wrote “We are”)? It seems the message’s main success is wasting time. They do get people to ponder why I have not taken a trip to England. So maybe the British tourism board sends these messages…

One thought on “Masquerade

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