Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Faith, Technology, and You Can Be Part of the New Evangelization

Each of us has a unique story, a special relationship with God that others can and want to learn from.  There are many ways we can share what God has done in our lives and point out to others what we can see Him doing in, through, and around them.  When it comes right down to it, the most important aspects of life we can share with others are those that stem from a close relationship with Jesus Christ.  Participation in the Sacraments, a conscious effort to grow in holiness, and how we live our lives are three of the most essential, powerful witnesses to God’s unconditional love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, peace, joy, and hope our world.  Because of technology and our ever-changing world, many people are seeking Truth, looking for answers, and learning about faith in new ways. 
What are some types of technology that have it easier for you to keep in touch with family, friends, conduct business, etc.?  Most people answer: cell phones, the Internet, websites, blogs, social media, iPods & MP3 players for music, podcasts, lectures, movies and TV shows, Youtube, and Skype are the main types of technology that has allowed them to connect with friends, family, neighbors, clients, customers, and readers from around the globe. 
Do you use your cell phone as a tool for evangelizing and spreading the love of the Lord?
Here’s an excerpt from a Blog Post I wrote in 2010: Text Messages with Deeper Meaning
      I was having a rough weekend when John, who has become a dear brother to Kevin and me, reached out via text messages to remind me of God’s love, His view of me, and how both remain the same regardless of how I’m feeling.
     While in a cloud of doubt and negativity, John texted me the following messages:
          don't believe the accuser. you are a beloved child of God
          He will give you the strength to keep going
          Remember that every hair on your head is numbered. Not a sparrow falls to the ground          
          without your Heavenly Father's knowledge. u are worth much more than sparrows
          As the Father has loved me so I have loved you. -Our Lord Jesus
          Remember that even Mary said she was the Lord's lowly servant.
          Read psalm 139. He loves you so much. don't worry about accepting it but give Him    
          what little you can.  That will be enough. I promise. Say Jesus I trust in you
          Don't worry about your feelings. God sees your depth and at your depth you truly love Him.
     Pursue Me, a CD by Danielle Rose that has a song titled “Psalm 139” on it.  Danielle Rose, a music missionary who writes all of her lyrics in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, has inspired me a great deal over the years.  I first heard her music in June 2006 when I made my Cursillo weekend, and ever since, she has served as an amazing example of someone who uses the gifts she’s given to spread God’s love, help others grow in their faith, and glorify the Lord by their lives.
That year John gave us a copy of
     Any tool that makes communication and connecting with others easier can be used to evangelize.  For example, many people have apps on their phones and/or tablets for praying the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the daily Mass readings.
     Social media has become an extremely popular way of interacting with others.  It’s changed the way we find out and what we think about current events.  I know that Facebook has dramatically changed who and how I am in touch with people including family members, friends, other Catholics, Christians, authors, motivational speakers, prominent priests, publishers, writers, bloggers, book enthusiasts, Respect Life advocates…
     Can Facebook and other types of social media actually help us live out our vocation to spread the Gospel with our lives?  Absolutely!  Here’s how:
o   Prayer requests
o   Respect Life photos, stories and advertisements
o   Pointing out discrepancies between mainstream secular media coverage versus what the Pope actually says and what the Catholic Church teaches
o   Spreading awareness of social justice issues and solutions
o   Sharing political concerns and information
o   A fast, fun way to share things with personal connections, family, and friends
o   Sharing the Gospel through articles, cartoons, photos, music, videos
What do your status message, photos, and the things you post on your Facebook wall and other people’s say about who and what is important to you? 
Here is a smattering of the different types of things you can share on Facebook that could be considered a form of evangelization:
An article about Pope Francis from a Catholic, not secular news source
·         A personal prayer: Lord, help us this day and each to glorify You by embracing the Truth that we are made in Your image, known by You intimately, and loved by You unconditionally. Amen.
·         A quote from Scripture
·         A prayer request or a praise to the Lord for something He’s done in your life
·         A song that has inspired you in your walk with the Lord and understanding of your calling to be a light for others
          A video about someone who is living out their faith in an inspiring, unique, and/or exceptional way

1.   How have the internet, cell phones, and social media changed the way we interact and communicate?
2.   Have you been using technology to evangelize others?  If so, how? If not, why not?

      There are a number of great books that deal with the topics of technology and evangelization, but
these are two of the ones I've read in recent years and found particularly well-written, creative and informative:
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