Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beneath the Cowl

What does Space Ghost, Captain American, and the Flash have in common? They all conceal their true identities beneath a cowl! I recently posted another tutorial on YouTube, demonstrating how to make a fabric cowl for characters like Flash and Cap. You can download the pattern here! In cosplay, a good looking mask can make or break a costume. Whether it's Batman's scowling cowl, Green Arrow's domino mask, or Iron Man’s hi-tech helmet, the mask is an essential part of countless costumes.

Of course, superheroes don’t wear masks just because they look cool; rather, a superhero’s mask serves a vital purpose—protecting their identity.  Most superheroes live a dual life and are very careful about whom they allow to really know them. As costumers, it’s fun to put on a mask and pretend to be someone we aren’t for a while. A problem arises, however, when we forget to remove our mask.

According to a study conducted by LifeWay Research, 72% of people surveyed believe that churches are “full of hypocrites.” The word hypocrite actually comes from the Greek theater. It was the Greek word for actors who wore masks and performed on stage. Jesus repeatedly railed against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders in his day.

Today, churches are often full of people who pretend to be someone they aren't. Some are guilty of false piety, a holier-than-thou attitude, or saying one thing while doing another. These people hide behind the mask of religion, but they lack a genuine relationship with Jesus. Others are sincere believers who love Jesus but when they walk into church, they put on a "painted grin" and act like everything's good and life is perfect. They’re afraid to reveal their true identity. Perhaps they fear rejection, or intimacy. Whatever the reason, they never let their guard down; never let people see their faults, failures and foibles. The downside to protecting your true identity is never experiencing authentic fellowship and intimacy with fellow Christians.

Bottom line: don’t make a stage production of your spiritual life. Take off your mask. Be honest with yourself, with others, and especially with God.