Thursday, February 10, 2011

Food Courts, Facebook, and YOUCAT

Bear with me, I am likely to ramble, but this is something I really believe in.
A while ago, a great blogger, D. Scott Miller posted about the need to be in the food court, not bringing everyone to the table. Read his post here, then come back to this. Good? Okay. Next.
World Youth Day is on my mind - we're at the 180 day mark for our trip (we're going to Rome first for a pilgrimage there). So we have table hopping, WYD, Rome, and the Pope on my mind.
Next, the YOUCAT is getting more press as it is nearing its publication date. Here we have a version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that has received all the stamps of approval imaginable that is geared towards the youth age demographic. Rumor has it we can expect to see it in our pilgrim bags in Madrid.
So what does a food court, WYD, Rome, the Pope, and a new book have in common? They remind us of what we need to do and the fact that we need to pay attention to the delivery systems.
Every time I expect a FedEx delivery to me at the parish office, it ends up at the rectory. Eventually the package finds its way to me, but extra steps are involved, there is a period of time where the item is missing, and the uncertainty can cause me to jump to making panicked phone calls to the shipper.
We have the most incredible message of all time - hope, faith, salvation, and love. Yet, are we getting the delivery system right? We have resources that have simmered for over 2,000 years bringing together all the best and most faithful humanity can offer. Do the means we transmit that message meet the glory of the words?
Not all the time. In some cases, rarely. I'm not heading into the realm of whether our liturgies do or not, that is not my point at this juncture. I do want to question whether we are meeting our youth and young adults where they are in this world and offering them an honest, loving message as Christ did. Are we leaving our offices and formal publications to spend time in coffee houses, dorm cafeterias, local pubs, and yes, even the Internet to share this Good News with young people? Are we using the best of the means at our disposal?
Not only does using these means spread the Gospel, but it models how such means should be used. Everyone is quick to point to the evils of Facebook, Twitter, and texting, and I am the first to say they are used for horrible deeds and words. However, by making active presences on these venues from the indivual through the highest levels fo the Church we can transform through modeling these mediums. These tools are powerful, look at the impact they had in contributing to the protests in Egypt, creation of flash mobs singing Hallelujah in malls, and gathering political support in American Presidential elections.
We, as Church, need to ensure we are using these modern means in the best possible way to share our ancient, yet ever relevant Good News.