Posted by Michelle
Facebook is a strange creature. Basically, it’s a way to stay connected to other people, but it’s also a way of spreading a false image of yourself into the world. We only post the cutest, prettiest photos of ourselves (or most handsome photos if you’re a guy) and delete (or untag at the very least) the photos of ourselves that we find unattractive.
But I’m not going to discuss that aspect of Facebook today (perhaps another post for another day). No, I’m going to talk about using Facebook to spread the Gospel message.
I’ll admit, I’m totally guilty of it.
I do it all the time: “Oh, I should keep this person as a Facebook friend so that maybe they’ll be inspired by something I post and it’ll evangelize them.” I know I’m not the only one who thinks this way, the majority of my Catholic friends do the same thing. I think 3/4 of my Facebook friends are people that I never interact with and never check their Facebook pages. I stay “friends” with them in the hopes that perhaps one post of mine will grow their faith.
Does it work?
I have no idea. If I did, then I wouldn’t be writing an entire post about it, now would I? (I’d be spending this time evangelizing on Facebook instead.)
So instead of discussing whether or not it works, I think it’s best for me to write about how Catholics can use Facebook to spread the Gospel message, or at the very least, not hinder the Gospel message.
1. That photo of you clubbing with three shots of vodka in your hand? Yeah, you may want to think twice about posting that on Facebook. But it’ll make me more relatable! you say. No, it won’t. It’ll make you a hypocrite. It’s all about talking the talk, but then walking the walk.
2. I don’t recommend posting an in-depth 40 minute long video about “transubstantiation” on your Facebook page, at least not without some kind of disclaimer that reads “Catholics only. And then only if you’re a theology major.” Catholicism is rich in knowledge, yes, but most of us aren’t.
3. Did you see a quote by Pope Francis or your local archbishop/bishop that inspired you recently? Post it as your status. Ask people what they think about it. You never know, perhaps someone you didn’t expect will respond.
4. When it comes to pro-life issues, BE SENSITIVE. A lot of our Facebook friends come from different walks of life, and there’s a very good chance that at least one of the women you’re Facebook friends with has had an abortion. The last thing that woman needs is a judgemental post by you or me, tearing her apart for her decision. It’s over with, she can’t go back. No need to punish her for it. By all means, post pro-life videos and messages, but before you do so, put yourself in the shoes of a post-abortive woman and ask yourself “Does this post anger me and make me defensive?” If so, the conversation’s already over before it’s begun. She won’t listen to you, and neither will anyone else, most likely.
5. Actually, in general, you should try to put yourself in the shoes of the most anti-Catholic Facebook friend you have (or if you don’t know, imagine) and ask yourself “Does this post bring me closer to the Catholic Church and to Catholicism?” If your answer is yes, then please post your status/message/photo. If your answer is no, then don’t post it.
We need to understand that our “public” face now extends to social media. Before social media, our only means of evangelization was through word of mouth and TV and radio. Now, the internet reaches far beyond that. Saint Paul would love to have the technology we have nowadays. But he doesn’t have it. We have it. So let’s use it.
If you don’t remember anything else from this post, I hope you remember this:
Think before you post.