Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spreading the Good Word - Would Jesus Use the Internet?

Happy Sunday, everyone! In honor of the day of rest, I’ll make this a briefer blog entry than usual – that way, we can all get a little more rest tonight. Enjoy!

This marks my sixth day of blogging, and I want to thank all of you who have joined me thus far for Coffee Talk with Leslie! I am completely new to the world of blogging, so I’m still figuring out all of the features of my new blog. I recently checked out my blog stats, and guess what? In six days of blogging, Coffee Talk with Leslie has received nearly 150 page views from the US, Canada, and Bermuda. Who would have guessed it?

This makes me consider the amazing times we live in with so many means of social communication available to us. Here I am, writing from the comfort of my own home about my reflections on life and insights about Catholicism, and there are dozens of you out there in cyberspace joining me for Coffee Talk even from international locations. Truly, it’s mind-boggling.

It makes me consider a great quote that I read in Communio et Progressio, a pastoral instruction of the Roman Catholic Church, issued in 1971, that was prepared in accordance with the Second Vatican Council’s 1963 decree Inter Mirifica (On the Means of Social Communication). Check it out, and see if you’re as amazed as I was when I first read this:

“While He was on earth Christ revealed Himself as the Perfect Communicator. Through His ‘incarnation’, He utterly identified Himself with those who were to receive His communication and He gave His message not only in words but in the whole manner of His life. He spoke from within, that is to say, from out of the press of His people. He preached the Divine message without fear or compromise. He adjusted to His people's way of talking and to their patterns of thought. And He spoke out of the predicament of their time” (CP 11).

Jesus used all the means of social communications available to him at the time to communicate himself and his message to the people of his time, and we are asked to do the same in our times – to harness the tremendous power of the various media available to us not just to share any news, but to share the Good News! Let’s think of all the ways that we can do the same. The com-box is open, my friends – sound off on how you’d like to spread good news and gospel values this week through use of the various forms of social communication. I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Peace and all good, Coffee-Talkers!
~ Leslie


  1. Hi Leslie. I think I was chanelling this whole blog thing for you. Somebody had to do it, and it certainly wasn't going to be me. Thanks for recommending the book CHOOSING BEAUTY-a 30 DAY SPIRITUAL MAKEOVER. It made me stop and look at myself in the mirror, dark circles and all, and try to look at the best of me, my hair! I also learned that I need temperence, big time! and just by asking for it, God gave me a sense of peace, and satisfaction with everything in my home. it's not exactly as I want it, but it's my home, and it really is perfect just as it is. With a grateful heart, Kate

  2. The first obvious answer is yes but I'll argue NO - the internet is the false idols of communication. It provides an artificial sense of control to the user and drives us away from God, Christ, and his creation. At best it only interferes with a direct relationship to Christ and at worse, it sows seeds of gossip and deception about Christ and his followers. No doubt, his followers would use it to spread the word and we should too but Jesus himself- no time.

    He asked that the children be brought to him, not that his e-mail be handed out to children... Part of the experience of 'finding' Christ is 'looking' for Christ - it would 'seem' easier to locate Christ with the internet but that was never really the problem - finding Christ is the easy part - inviting him into our lives once we found him is much harder and I do not see how the internet helps in that regard...

  3. Kate, I am so happy to hear of your good experience with "Choosing Beauty" -- that, to me, is a great example of something shared through social media helped you to draw closer to God and the peace he wants for you. Wonderful!

    And Matthew, while it's sometimes tempting to take the "TV is the devil" and "internet is the false idol" point-of-view, I do remember a good professor rightly correcting my viewpoint in a paper I wrote on this subject in graduate school - the media themselves are neutral; and the Church asks that we use them properly to serve mankind "since they greatly contribute to men's entertainment and instruction as well as to the spread and support of the Kingdom of God" (Inter Mirifica, 2). However, "The Church recognizes, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator and to their own loss." And I think you are right that Jesus' primary method of evangelization was by personal relationship and invitation -- he was certainly not a spammer! ;)

    I do think that since Jesus used all the means of social communication available to him and his people at the time, he would happily encourage us to do the same, for the glory of God and the good of man. I know that I've been built up in my faith through the internet posts of others, and now am striving to do the same for those around me in a virtual forum.

    Have you read the Vatican II decree on Social Communications? I think you'll dig it:

    As always, thanks for reading and commenting. Peace!