Professor did hesitate at first. He expressed his discomfort with asking people to vote for him so that he could win something. Then we talked about social media and how every "like" or "share" was another opportunity to spread the pro-life message that he felt so strongly about expressing in his video. There was no question that the purpose of the approach would be fulfilled by full cooperation. Get the world to talk about the goodness of Life and spread the word. A success all around.
He did win the competition and
I'm going to be straight up with you and tell you that I don't approve of teens walking around with internet access in their pockets. So we'll be reviewing the safety features and adapting accordingly. I know that many of his Catholic peers have 24/7 access. I also know what I know about what some of those kids view online.
The Catholic relationship with technology is certainly love/hate. On the whole, I think our kids need to know how to navigate the world and use the excellent tools we have for communication and evangelization. The flip side is the utter filth that inevitably thrives alongside the good. It's a delicate walk with the kids.
All that aside, I'm awfully excited about
Since we are not active on Facebook, a Facebook competition was a little more challenging for us than it might have been. We had to rely on others (Thank you a hundred times!!) to spread the word and navigate where we could not. It is certainly true that many people are reluctant to post pro-life messages on their Facebook pages. I can't blame them if they have many friends who would find the message objectionable... who needs more drama? But here's the thing...
Facebook IS the real world minus the physical interaction. If we can't post our hearts there where we are at least safe from flying fists and visible facial contortions, then we certainly won't share them with co-workers, family members, peers, neighbors, etc. on a personal basis.
I have long avoided having a presence on Facebook. I often find it a disturbing place to be. This contest has challenged me to rethink that position though. I have had the opportunity to explore quite a bit more than I have in the past and have been struck by a singular thought...
If I didn't know some of these people well enough to know their strong faith, I would not now know it by visiting their Facebook pages.
In a very literal way, a Facebook page is an advertisement for who we are. People generally design it to encapsulate what they love, what is important to them. (I'm talking about personal pages here not business pages) Their families are often pictured there along with a whole host of movies and sports and pictures of them engaged in their leisure activities. But if I didn't know you, would I know how passionately in love with Jesus you are? Would I be able to tell that you are pro-life? What do you hide and what do you share and why and why not?
In some ways, our public "face" might be a good measuring stick for our willingness to embrace our call to visible witnesses to Christ. If you have a Facebook page, pretend you don't know you... go to your page as if you are clueless and take mental notes on what you see. If you didn't know your own heart and soul, what would that page tell you?
We have been called to give everything for Christ. Why would I embrace a celibate life for less than that? Why would I give up the beauty and goodness of marriage and family if it wasn't to give everything over to a life in Him? I have no excuse for holding back. If I do, my sacrifice is wasted.
His words and evident love brought tears to my eyes. And as I hopped around Facebook I thought about the pointlessness of participating at all unless we are using it to serve and proclaim the love and truth that we profess to believe. Without that element, it is worthless except as a tool to promote our self love.
So I'm thinking about it.
I'm on a soapbox today so please forgive me. I have no right to it but here I am anyway. I'd like to share a story of the Facebook pages of two good priests (details slightly altered to protect identities). In light of all that I have previously written, I just want to provide food for thought...
The first priest is young and energetic. Loves to work with the youth and share his passionate love of Christ and the Church. On his Facebook page there is ample evidence of his good work and faithfulness but when one first visits, the eyes are drawn to the profile pic. A beach photo. With Father in a swim suit and bare chested. Thank you for the eyeful, Father, I don't think I'll ever be able to forget it (as much as I'd like to). The eyes drop to the content and then back up again to the photo. It seems odd, not because a priest shouldn't swim, but because it is THE photo that he chose to represent himself. I'm distracted.
The second priest is young and energetic. Loves to work with the youth and share his passionate love of Christ and the Church. On his Facebook page there is ample evidence of his good work and faithfulness. The profile pic shows him in a Roman collar. It is not particularly exciting but the observer gets the idea... happy looking Roman Catholic priest. His header shows a moving picture of the Holy Father embracing a crucifix. My eyes drop back to the content and stay there to read and look around.
The story is not told to judge either priest or to make any specific commentary about priests at the beach, but only to provide food for thought about the purpose and effect of the Facebook page.
So, I suppose if I had a Facebook page, today it would communicate:
**Joining Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes. It is temporarily being hosted at Camp Patton while Jen and her baby recover. Also joining my prayers for them as they overcome health obstacles.