Saints and Selfies

Crawling from under my blogging rock to mull some thoughts over, after some serious social media burnout. Maybe it’s due to old age? I don’t know…

Anyway, what if social media had been available during the time of any of our most beloved saints. Would we see shameless self promotion from St. Augustine? Duck-face selfies from the Little Flower? Give-aways from St. Thomas Aquinas? “What I wore Wednesday” from Edith Stein? A super-caffeinated apologetics combox blast from St. Francis de Sales? Ad nauseum Facebook commentary from St. Paul?

Are they better than us, or would they have succumbed to the temptation of worldwide exposure via Facebook, Twitter, etc? What is the good of social media in the Catholic world? Is it to advance the cause of Christ and His Church or is it to advance the cause of a particular personality?

Is the New Media a blessing or a curse? I guess I’ve just been wondering lately whether or not people should, more often than not, forgo blogs and internet commentaries and pick up a copy of The Devout Life or Spiritual Exercises or The Way–maybe even the Bible?

Would our New Testament authors have felt pressure to produce material every day for the sake of staying relevant?

Just wondering…. please talk amongst yourselves, because I’d love to discuss.

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11 Responses to Saints and Selfies

  1. Pingback: Saints and Selfies - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  2. Pingback: Saints and Selfies | Kids Belief

  3. You raise an interesting question.
    I think that as Christians our individual Journey will speak to others and then again may not, but I feel that if one of my posts move a reader to listen to God’s whisper, my meagre attempt at writing my blog has been worth the effort.
    I joined the blogosphere last year in January and since then I have ‘met’ some pretty amazing people on-line. They have buoyed my flagging spirits at times and propped me up with their varied talents. Always, through their sharing of their love of the Lord.
    In this multi-media culture within which we live we have many more choices. Personalising your Journey within the parameters of Faith eggs us on to know God in a more intimate and relevant way for us as individuals.

    • Nikki says:

      Hi 1catholicsalmon,
      I think you’ve hit on the best part of blogging and social media. It can absolutely be an encouragement. And I don’t think it’s objectively “bad.” I like that there are so many “regular people” out there just sharing their experiences. As a convert, that has been very encouraging. I think it gets a little murkier when the Faith-sharing and the personal brand-building come into play (and obviously, not all bloggers do that.) I just think social media presents a lot of new temptations that make it hard to be holy.

  4. Daniel Aronowitz says:

    What exactly is a “selfie”? I am pretty sure the Protestant churches discourage selfies, but maybe we have become very lax.

    • Nikki says:

      Thanks for the laugh :-). I don’t think I would even know the word “selfie” if it wasn’t for the kids. It’s just when you take a picture of yourself and post it. Instagram is rife with selfies.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am almost never happier than when I impose an internet fast on myself. I gave up Facebook for Lent and it was an incredible time of spiritual growth for me.

    However, I have to say that the Internet played a big part in my conversion a little over a year ago. I am sure I would still have converted, but the communities I stumbled upon online greatly hastened the process. It was wonderful to be able to get the flavor of “the Catholic thing” that way, all in a flood, to be able to dive into a good blogger’s past posts and discover so many treasures and resources (I was entranced with Conversion Diary). And when I found my pro-choice stance starting to crumble (around the time I read that horrific NYT article about elective abortions of superfluous children conceived through IVF), I sat there in front of my computer saying to myself, “Is it possible to be pro-life and still be a feminist?” Thanks to Google, a few clicks later I was connected to Feminists for Life and New Wave Feminists. After reading for an hour or two, I got up from the computer pro-life.

    Then one day, when my husband walked in and found me crying over a poetic blog post about the liturgy, and said, “You need to just convert already,” I said, “OK. I’ll go to church with you on Sunday and let’s talk to Fr. ____” and that was that. Since my conversion, one of the best things I get out of the Internet is the knowledge that there is this tremendous groundswell of smart, compassionate young people out there converting and reverting to the Church, who respect all of her teachings and love her heritage of beauty and want to restore it (B16 Catholics I guess you’d say). If I only had the few churches in my neighborhood as a point of reference, I would feel very depressed and alone! But I know I am part of something huge and that the future of the Church is bright.

    And sometimes I just want to kill the Internet. The devil most definitely works on me through it. He would like nothing better than for me to check New Advent anxiously every half-hour to see who said what about the latest Catholic kerfuffle, instead of being attentive to my children. He wants me to believe that my argument in the combox is incredibly important, or that if I don’t say the perfect thing in response to that anti-Catholic post in my Facebook feed, I’m letting the faith down. Sighhhh. I am just so thankful for the blogs that give me true joy and insight, the kind of blog posts that make me want to get up from my computer, because I feel better about my life and the world. (I’ve had that experience reading this blog btw.)

    • Nikki says:

      Wow, thanks, Elizabeth! I totally agree with you about wanting to kill the internet sometimes. On the flip side, there are some incredibly encouraging things out there as well, especially for converts like us. I am thankful to have been able to read through so many testimonies before we converted; it really bolstered my resolve. Ultimately, I think it’s good to take the good for what it is, and to try to avoid the other stuff as much as possible. I say that so flippantly, when that’s really about as easy as walking through a minefield…but God is for us, really and truly present to us, and we are surrounded by a great Cloud of Witnesses.

  6. cattolico says:

    I think the new media should be used with discretion….the novelty of it has engulfed the life of many who are loosing perspective of the greater things in life….reading a good books is infinitely more profitable and engaging…and btw, convenient….but real human contact is real society, without that, life itself becomes a chasing after appearances…

    BTW, fyi…..

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