We need more authentic Catholics online. What I mean is - we need more people just being Catholic and living an authentically Catholic life…and then that being reflected online. (All of this applies to offline as well, really.)
And by authentic I certainly don’t mean perfect. In fact, I mean the opposite. The last thing we need are Catholics pretending to be something we’re not: perfect. Authentic means being humble and honest about our flaws and our need for the Church and the Eucharist (Jesus). People hunger for that kind of authenticity. And the Holy Spirit works powerfully within it.
And by Catholic I don’t mean pictures of Catholic stuff. And I don’t mean more scripture verses and quotes from saints. I don’t mean more Catholic websites or newspapers. More of those would be good, too. But not in lieu of Catholics themselves.
The social web is about relationships. We can’t have real relationships with pictures or words or websites. We can’t have a relationship with an organization or our parish - really. We have relationships with people. We have relationships with the people IN those organizations. Those pictures and quotes are things that feed relationships - but they are not relationships in themselves. And the places we go online are just that - places. Places for relationships to be born and nurtured.
But we have to be present there. People must be present there. Not just our stuff or the relics of our Church, but the Church Herself - the Body.
We get too caught up sometimes on the technology or the novelty. We try to force some quantitative distinction between online relationships and “real world” relationships (as if what is “real” consists only of what we can touch). We try to treat the online world as something totally “other.” Sure, there are some new considerations and important discussions to be had regarding our use of it all. But when it comes down to it it’s just not that complex.
Just be yourself. We need more Catholics to just be their authentic selves online. To meet people. To share with people. To learn and grow with our neighbors. To share our sufferings and blessings, our ups and downs. That is the best kind of preaching we can do.
Not to just share pictures. Or scripture verses. Or apologetics. Or prayers. Share yourself. Those other things will flow naturally from you if they are an authentic part of yourself. And if those other things are all you consist of, then you’re shallow and boring. But I know that doesn’t apply to you. It doesn’t apply to anyone. Shallow and boring is just what some of us appear to turn into when we pretend to be someone we’re not.
We don’t just need more pictures and polemics. And we definitely don’t need more posers. We need you.