The New Evangelization, Using New Means

During Lent I tried to cut back on extraneous time that I spent on the computer.  I was finding myself wasting time looking up unimportant (sometimes, not even interesting) things during moments when I didn't have to get something done, or didn't have time to get anything significant finished (after getting up, between classes, in the afternoon, etc.), so I basically decided to avoid the whole issue and cut out everything not necessary.  Of course, it was a struggle and somehow I still managed to not get the things done I needed to, but I guess I made a little progress.

That said, my goal with everything that I did during Lent is to not only cut out those things that take me away from following Our Lord but also filling those gaps with positive things, related if possible, that bring me closer to Him.  So, I was hopeful that in the extra time that I gained from not wasting (as much) time on the internet I would be able to write more blog posts.  Well, that didn't happen, at least not nearly as much as I wanted it to.  Blog writing - I have found - is a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Somehow, I guess it was beginners luck or something, I managed to write a post every day during the first month or so of blogging, but, despite my best efforts, I haven't been able to come close to that kind of pace for a long while.  I think part of the reason is that I want my blog posts to be a bit more comprehensive - wrapping together multiple topics, or at least connecting things I do with things I believe, but it also just takes time to write a several-hundred word essay (of any sort).  

So, with these two ideas in mind I started thinking about starting a secondary blog that would have shorter posts, maybe just a quote I found, or a quick update on what I was up to.  And then I realized that this sort of thing already exists, it's called Facebook (and Twitter)...  Now, I was reticent to sign up for either of those social media networks because I had heard they were a huge time-waster (not something I needed), sometimes full of dumb and pointless arguments (not something I needed), and had destroyed real communication between people (replacing it with an artificial feed of minor, unnecessary, details about somebody else's life).  So, I kept out of it.  And yet the topic kept coming up.  Somebody would ask if I had a Facebook, and I'd say no, but then would think about getting one.  Then somebody else would say that it was a big waste of time, so I'd avoid getting one.  Basically, everybody had one, but I couldn't find a convincing reason to get one, so I didn't.  Well, I've finally started to find some of those good reasons:

First, I know that Facebook may be full of things that can waste my time - memes, videos, links, stuff, arguments, whatever - but it isn't all bad.  Obviously, I'm not on there right now, but you can find something good in pretty much anything, so I'm hopeful that if I follow the right people, look at good pages, and whatnot (I'm sure my terminology here is woefully inadequate) I'll be able to find plenty of good stuff on there.  I have been blown away over the past year or two of the incredible amounts of solid Catholic truth that you can find on the internet - YouTube, blogs, etc. - and I expect that the same is true of Facebook.

Second, I'm going off to Rome; I want to be able to keep in touch with folks from back home, from here at Brute, and elsewhere.  Yeah, Facebook isn't a good replacement for face-to-face communication, but several thousand miles tends to inhibit that kind of communication anyway, and I don't want to let the friendships that I have come to cherish just dwindle away into a letter or two each year.  Facebook is full of pointless details about people's lives - sure - but it is also the preeminent way - in our modern world - of keeping in touch.  Could things be better? - I suppose, but I figure keeping in touch electronically is better than not keeping in touch at all.  

Third, and we'll see how this one works out, I want to be able to spend a minute or two here and there to update you guys with what is going on around here, little details from class, short quotes from books, things that struck me during the day...  It's hard (and time-consuming) to get those into blog posts.  I really, really, hope to not cut back on blogging (I enjoy it immensely), but I find myself missing so many things that I really want to share.  Those light-bulb moments during Adoration, that great YouTube video that I come across, that fact from class that is interesting, those conversations that happen all the time - things that I usually forget before blogging about them.  Are you interested in them?  I have no idea, but I'd guess you'll be interested in some of them, and I certainly think they are worth sharing.

Fourth, and this is the biggest reason.  The New Evangelization is marked by new expression, new means, and new ardor.  That includes the internet.  As the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization said:
Evangelization in general is the everyday work of the Church. With the assistance of the Holy Spirit, this so-called ordinary evangelizing activity can be endowed with renewed vigour. New methods and new forms of expression are needed to convey to the people of today the perennial truth of Jesus Christ, forever new and the source of all newness. [link] 
I was watching a video by Mark Hart and he said that Jesus' use of parables is analogous to the instant communication found on things like Facebook and Twitter.  Jesus was meeting people where they were at, with seemingly simple stories, that - when plumbed - revealed the depths of the Truth found in God.  Similarly, people these days are not reading the Pope's homilies, or the Catechism, or listening to Lighthouse CDs, but they are on Facebook, a lot.  And thus, the opportunity to bring the Truth of Christ to them is incredible.  There are something like a billion users - that's like 1 out of every 7 people - of Facebook.  People can argue over whether or not people should be that connected to a website, but while I'm staying out of it there are millions of people who haven't heard the Gospel, and maybe if I get in there I can reach one of them.  If I can plant the seeds of Christ's message in one person, it's worth it.  The priest, but also every other Catholic, is called to evangelize, that's why I'm in seminary, to bring people to Christ.  I could avoid Facebook - sure there are other methods of reaching people - but that would be like the Apostles just sitting in Jerusalem, writing a book about Jesus and hoping that people read it instead of actually stepping out there - getting on a boat, or a camel, or whatever - and telling people the Gospel.  Christ calls us to preach to the ends of the world, not just to the friendly people that read my blog.  Is there a possibility that Facebook is a waste of time? - Yep, but it isn't one necessarily.  Are there things on Facebook that aren't the greatest? - Yep, but there were also things in Rome that weren't the greatest and St. Peter took the message there despite it.

Now, just because I wrote up this long post talking about these decent reasons for getting out there on Facebook, Twitter, etc. doesn't mean that you have to.  Certainly, there are good reasons not to, and certainly there are other ways to communicate, read Catholic stuff, and preach the Gospel, but I've at least convinced myself that getting on such sites is something I don't want to put off any more.  Will I never waste time on there, or never see anything dumb, or always preach the Gospel - probably not - but, I'm going to give it my best shot!  

Also, I don't know exactly how I will end up using Facebook or Twitter - so this is kind of an adventure for me - but I hope (and pray) that it may end up glorifying God at least a little bit!  We'll see!

Link to Facebook


  1. I love that you are on Facebook - you control what it is or is not. Can't wait to seeyou/your pictures from Rome.

    1. Thank you! It is so true that it's up to us to determine what social media is - good point!