Thursday, December 22, 2011

The New Mission Fields

In the beginning, there was no internet. I know it’s hard to believe isn’t it. Now days to some that’s all there is, the work wide web. This blog and the blogs that follow are all about the rise of New Media. We have reached new age, and a new landscape for evangelization. For young adults, teens, and pre-teens, and now increasingly young adolescence, the internet is how we are plugged in. From the comfort of our home we bring the world to our computer screens.A New Mission Field looms.

Consider this the average American spends 66 hours per month on a computer outside of work . YouTube visitors watch over two billion videos every day. Seventy-two percent of Americans- including 87 percent of teens communicate through text messaging.

We live in a world that has dramatically embraced new media. It’s the new home for the majority of Christians. There is a new space where if we hit the ground running we have a new and better way to reach people than ever before. But more over we also have a way we can reach young people.
I know it may seem like a daunting task. Especially with the speed that life travels today. But the way to get people in the pews now a days in more and more often to reach them at their computer seats.
I would like to start with starting a dialogue with the un-churched. If we look we can see that Religion in the U.S at least is rather falling down the not so wonderful rabbit hole. Especially with people my age. Of college age. The God-Man that was sent to save us is now just a cool guy. It’s funny I thought people followed “cool guys”. With the help of Father Robert Baron from Word on Fire; I hope I can get this blog series a good start. To read more on the subject of the church and Media, I’ll point you to Brandon Vogt’s book The Church and New Media.

The Church in the U.S is in a bad state of affairs. A pew forum study showed that in 2008 the fastest growing religious group in America is the “nones”. Or people with no religious affiliation. Another Pew Statistic is that 27% of Americans don’t expect to have a religious funeral, and numbers in regard to attendance is not very pretty, somewhere between 20 -30% of Catholics attend the liturgy on a regular basis, and if you want to remove immigrants, like Hispanics and Vietnamese, the numbers would sink to European lows.

In the words of Fr.Baron. “ We have become largely inept at telling our distinctive story, and so the world found it exceptionally easy either to co-opt our story or simply dismiss it out of hand”.
We can become toothless in the face of attacks, of hostile questions, especially with the rise of “New Atheism”. There have been a slew of new attacks on anything religious but mostly when it comes to Christians. But with this universe that is the internet we can now have a pretty fair shot at refuting, (in a hospitable way) the claims. Fr.Baron has noticed four trends being on you-tube and face book and through his Word on Fire Ministries. These he calls the “ YouTube Heresies”. These are basically confusion about interpreting the bible, the relationship between science and religion, the meaning of the word “God”, and finally the confusion about the rapport between religion and violence.
In my future blogs I will go into more detail about these. 

I just wanted to give a proper introduction to this blog series. But most importantly is the why I’m doing this. It isn’t just because we need to fill the pews with kids from 18-25, it’s not about feeling “beat” by Atheist, or especially now with the holidays feeling the urge to speak up about keeping Christ in Christmas. It is really about love. I can’t tell you how much sadness I am filled with when I see what is going on with my generation. The sex, the disappointment, the hate, the drugs, it makes me wince at all the utter fallacies I hear said online about the dangers of religion, how bigotry is in the Church, the list goes on and on. We have a generation that is so disconnected from each other, any relationship that isn’t short and fast is an inconvenience. Not to mention our complete disregard for the dignity for human life.

I don’t know if I should be asking for a miracle. But I’m trying to take a stab at it. If I stand alone that’s ok for I stand with God. I know I’m not perfect; I am outrageously far from it. But if it’s a crime to care, to love than I’m a criminal. But this road we are on leads to ruin, so I’m using this great resource to try and stand on the digital soap-box. I want to cry at what is happening to my Country. We as Catholics know the greatest love there is. That love that is Jesus, for there has never been a greater death. Please take up the cup, don’t be afraid, I am tired of being afraid, and as much as it may hurt, the sting doesn’t last, but now is our time to act. With love. After 2000 years… well I’ll let Morpheus finish this. After 2000 years…

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