Today, I’d like to feature a guest blog by my friend from the UK, Marion Teague. Marion does an excellent job explaining how Facebook can be a great evangelization tool. It’s a point that I strongly agree with, as I use Facebook and Twitter extensively in my evangelization work. Great job, Marion…Thanks for sharing!
How Facebook became my Faithbook
I had signed up to the popular social networking site Facebook a few years ago. For a long time I didn’t do much with it – I had about five “friends”, a couple of pictures uploaded, and the applications seemed silly and childish. Being the wrong side of fifty, I was thinking it was all kids’ stuff.
Then I discovered discussion groups – of which Facebook has thousands, tucked away. Hmm, I thought, wonder if there are any for Catholics… Soon I was plunged into a whole new world!
There are quite a number of Catholic discussion groups; they vary in both level of activity and style of management. Some are friendlier than others.
What have I learned? Firstly, I am overjoyed to find so many people asking about Catholic teaching, debating core doctrines, and deeply and sincerely wanting to both increase their own faith and share it with others. Reading through discussion threads I am impressed by both the knowledge and the warmth of many of the contributors.
Questions about the faith are usually answered kindly and quickly, with support from both Scripture and Catechism and often with links to websites rich in information and spirituality. Sometimes there are battles (we are only human) and the fur flies in debates on emotive issues such as politics, abortion, homosexuality and the never-ending conflict between “Traditionalist” and “Modern”. Whatever their views, two things link the Catholic contributors – their passion for their faith and their zeal for sharing it.
Secondly, not all contributors to these forums are Catholics. Atheists, Mormons, and Christians of all denominations join these groups. Their reasons are hazy – whether with the intention of converting the papists, or out of genuine enquiry, I do not know. I have been staggered to find that many non-Catholics still do not consider Catholics as Christians! In responding to these, apologetics comes to the fore – and there are some skilled apologists on the groups. I and, I am sure, many other “cradle” Catholics, have learned a tremendous amount from these.
Apart from groups there are Facebook “pages” – these are like profiles, and if you “like” a page, the administrator’s comments will appear on your newsfeed. These are usually quotations from Scripture or the saints – a lovely boost to my day.
As a result, my own spiritual life has improved, my devotion to the Mass increased, and my understanding of doctrines deepened.
The greatest of all joy to me is the friendships I have made – I am now part of a small and growing band of lovely people across the globe. We are always there for each other in times of need – prayer requests are answered promptly and with joy, whether it be employment trouble, sickness, bereavement, children, whatever. We also chat, like any other group of friends, about our holidays, pets, home improvements, and love to share a joke or two.
Facebook, like the internet in general, is neither good nor bad in itself, but if we let God use it, He uses it to shower blessings in abundance.