Welcome to the Monday Mailing #29 –
Welcome To “Spoof-land”
It happened again, and it will probably happen more in the future. . .I was spoofed while on vacation. Spoofing is where someone attempts to be “you”, and asks others for something “in your name.” Often this is gift cards, and they will ask you to email them the actual numbers off the back, and then there goes your money. While I still am not sure that I believe in an actual “hell,” I do believe that there is a hell reserved for those who prey on innocent people, especially in the name of those whom they trust.
So, what can you do? How can I know I am the potential victim to spoofing?
First, know that I am not going to be asking for such things, especially via email. If we have a need that must be met, I will be calling you, or sending out much more information than “email me back the numbers on those gift cards once you get them.”
Second, check the email address. It might sound like mine or even look a lot like mine, but the only two I use are:
revjcw (@gmail.com) and pastorhu (@hamiltonunionpresbyterianchurch.org). In a spoof, a number might be added to “my” address. . .or a letter. When in doubt, check with Ann Duncan in the church office, or even with me, via the correct email address. . .just forward the email to me.
The Internet is not the only place we can be spoofed these days. As good Reformed folks, we believe that “God gave us brains and expects us to use them,” (Rev John Williams, chaplain at Austin College) and there are a lot of people out there trying to tell us all what God wants from us, who God wants in the “club” and who God wants us to exclude from the “club.” There are a lot of people trying to spoof us in the name of God. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was (Love God with your whole being), he asked the questioner what he had learned. He asked him, “What have you been taught?”
What have you been taught about God, and what are the voices in the world saying about “God” that gives you pause? I am continually surprised at how small people want God to be. I am taken aback by suggestion that God loves part of the Divine creation more than other parts. I am saddened when partisan politics gets conflated into someone losing their “freedom of religion.” The God we Presbyterian and Reformed folks believe in is a God is still creating in our midst, who is gracious and love, who seeks peace and gives hope, who desires that all of the Divine creation knows God. God is far bigger that we can even imagine.
So when someone spoofs you in God’s name, take a moment and remember what you have been taught, and what you have learned. God is bigger than all that!
Peace to you. . .