January 14, 2010

Era of the TV Evangelist

We all wear masks.

No, not the comedy-tragedy, drama masks, but the ones that are just beneath the skin. The masks we impose on ourselves, for whatever reasons. It could be to fit in, to seem as one of the crowd. It could be in order to impress someone, in order to get ahead in this racing life we live. We go through life with layer after layer of masks hiding what's underneath: the face of a scared child, decorated in primitive war paint.

But there are all types of disguises that we employ. The fake laugh, the obsequious nod of the head, the averted glance, the clip-clack of a hurried pace. We wear masks of love, pride, subservience, agitation, calm, well-being, and all other semblances of the grand play that we are acting out. Whatever it takes to "get by."

Maybe "getting by" isn't all that we're meant to do, though.

I look around at the church today, and it is "getting by." So many people wear their masks of godliness and righteousness, trying to hide the fact that they are sinners, saved by no effort of their own, but by God's interference. We are in the era of the TV evangelist. At least, by the world's standards. They see corrupt preachers who ask for money and for you to press your palm to the glass of your television set for healing. They see the lost children who are hurting and suffering despite the grandiose claims of Christianity. They see the hypocrisy that so many of us live, and all of us, at times, display. And they are wearied by it. They think, since they have seen the masks of Christianity, that they know what we are about. They believe that they know our "agenda," our slant of things. They see the masks we, even as Christians, still wear, and never glimpse the awe and love etched into our real faces.

How can we expect a world that knows us so poorly to react with anything but indifference?

How can we expect any of them to be changed?

The only way to reach out to this dying world is to remove all of our masks, to be vulnerable. To show the rest of humanity that we accept and do not deny the presence of our sinful natures. To apologize for the hypocrisy, the deceit, and reclaim what being a Christian means. And to show them that we will have the courage to do what so few people from this age do:

We will be honest.