USAToday reflects on the effect of social media on religious communities:
Internet users are complaining that the privacy settings on Facebook are confusing, and lawmakers are questioning Google about its gathering of e-mail and other personal data from Wi-Fi residential networks. The boundary between private and public information is becoming murkier every day, a blurring that is perhaps inevitable in the world of online surfing and social networking.
But how about religious communities? The boundaries are shifting there as well, because of a growing emphasis in congregations on honest and open sharing in small groups.
Problems arise when open sharing and participation in small groups become badges of faithfulness. "If you are not comfortable with those things," says McHugh, "then you end up feeling spiritually inadequate or marginalized."
So where can a person go to connect with God in silence? Churches that practice contemplative prayer — which includes chanting, controlled breathing, or silent concentration — can help people to become centered on God in a private and personal way. "Deep personal relationships require something that we seldom acknowledge: time spent in the presence of the other doing nothing particularly useful," says Monsignor Bill Parent of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Waldorf, Md. "Contemplative prayer is ultimately time spent in the presence of God doing nothing useful, which is another way of saying that it is a necessary part of developing a deep personal relationship with God."
Is social media making it hard to find privacy and silence? How do you make time to be alone with God?