With summer on, many Episcopal parishes, including mine, have sent or will soon be sending teenagers on “pilgrimage.” Our youth group is in San Francisco for a week, visiting tourist sites and sacred spaces. I’ve been pondering how social media has changed the terms of this rite of passage, in that parents, friends and our entire congregation can keep up with every move these kids make, via Facebook, a blog they’ve created, email, video clips and Twitter.
And parents and friends are busy posting good wishes and advice to these teens on a near hourly basis. Does all this day-to-day, hour-by-hour communication with the folks back home dilute the experience of pilgrimage? Isn’t part of the point of such a journey to be separate, to find God in the unfamiliar, to grow in healthy ways away from home and family as part of the path to adulthood?
Similarly, to what extent are we changing the experience of church camp through Facebook, e-mail and Twitter?
I welcome your thoughts.