The Atlantic, arriving late to the party, asks whether social media can be used for evangelism in a nice profile of Sister Helena Burns, a Roman Catholic nun who is active online. Emma Green writes:
So how does a nun use social media? “I try to really keep up with the comments on my blog, and also Twitter and Facebook,” Burns told me. “I’m also on Instagram and Vine a little bit. How I do it is during the day, while I’m doing my other work, I’ll keep zipping over to social media.” In other words, the social-media habits of a nun sound exactly like the social-media habits of any college student, office worker, or otherwise regular human.
The difference is in tone and intention. Burns pointed me toward the Facebook page “Imagine Sisters,” where young women discuss the possibility of joining a religious order. (“It’s becoming a ‘thing’ to say ‘I’m in discernment,'” Burns notes.)
Burns sees social media as “way to evangelize” Green writes.
“I want to use the latest, most modern, most efficacious media and media technology to reach the greatest number of people with the holy spirit,” she said.
To her, Twitter and Facebook and Instagram are like many other regions of the world: Some people are part of Christian communities; some people are part of secular communities; and some people straddle both. Evangelizing online is just like evangelizing anywhere else: You build communities animated by Christian values, which exist alongside every other community. ….
“We should be the best at this, because as Catholics, we believe in sacraments. We believe God is constantly working through matter, that icons can be sacred.” In other words, the Internet isn’t just a vortex of rage; like everything else, it’s a medium through which God can reach the world.
It is possible that visitors to this blog will find this story old news. But when he mainstream media takes note of something that you have been doing for years, and treats it as though it is news, sometimes it is a sign that you are making progress.