Monday, September 26, 2011

The Church and New Media: Blogging Converts, Online Activists, and Bishops Who Tweet by Brandon Vogt

Further proof God’s got a sense of humor: while I was reading The Church and New Media I found myself having to use good old fashioned paper and pen to draft my review of this book and jot down ideas inspired by it.  As running from one thing to the next would have it, I accidentally left the power cord to our laptop home when the battery was already almost out of juice. 
I identified a number of bloggers I’ve previously read and enjoyed.  Plus I started a growing list of blogs I plan to start following.  I guess it’s just as well that I didn’t have internet access while reading parts of the book or I might have been tempted to check out each website mentioned along the way, which would ultimately throw my voracious reader/book devouring tendencies into slow motion.  I certainly don’t want the crew at The Catholic Company to become alarmed that I haven’t gobbled up and reviewed the latest book they’ve launched to my mailbox in a matter of days. 
I can honestly say that I have not read any other book that has explained so thoroughly the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings on use of the media as an essential element of propagating the faith and spreading the Good News. I have seen some amazing examples of how powerfully the Gospel message can be spread through channels such as websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.  A number of the book’s expert contributors are those I’ve read, seen, and/or watched online before I picked up The Church and New Media.   I imagine many who are active in the online Catholic community will recognize names such as: Father Robert Barron, Jennifer Fulwiler, Mark Shea, and Matt Warner. 

It’s wonderful that Brandon Vogt has gone to the trouble of putting together the pieces of the virtual digital puzzle so the rest of us can learn from what the pope and others have advised for years: evangelize everywhere using whatever media available. 
Besides clearly showing the ways people have been converted through new media, the contributors explain how engaging young people and fallen away Catholics these days is often fostered through online connections.  Some may feel more comfortable watching a Youtube video by a Catholic priest on the subject of the Eucharist or Reconciliation, rather than trying to find one to talk with him in person about a basic theology question. 
It’s highly likely that many of the saints would have loved the opportunity to reach so many people around the world and inspire them to live out the faith.  We have the chance to influence millions of people around the world.  This is an incredible chance to use technology wisely in order to evangelize the world.  Many chapters in this book include specific tips and proven practices for making the new media your bff in your evangelization efforts whether you’re the pope, an archbishop, a parish priest, a consecrated religious, or a devout layperson.     
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Church and New Media. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.
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