While writing the Church and New Media book, I interviewed more than twenty new media innovators and experts. Many of their insights were brilliant and fascinating, but unfortunately we were limited by space and could only include a few snippets in the book.
Yet a blog has much fewer constraints. Today we’ll begin a regular series highlighting each of the full interviews.
We’ll kick things off with Fr. Steve Grunow, one of my favorite online priests. Fr. Steve is the Assistant Director of Word on Fire Ministries in Skokie, IL. He’s brilliant, funny, tech-savvy, and is quite capable of lifting large objects.
The New Media presents possibilities through which the Church can bear witness to its truth and invite others to share in its unique way of life. Because of the manner in which information can be communicated easily and with little expense to large numbers of people the New Media, these technologies offer the Church an unprecedented means to accomplish the mission of evangelization.
Catholics should engage the tools of the New Media because not to would be a missed opportunity to proclaim the Gospel and give testimony to the Faith of the Church. A preferential option for insularity is the great enemy of the Church’s evangelical mission. If the Church does not authentically and boldly present itself in the context of the New Media, others will present the Church, and many of these presentations will be erroneous or hostile- to quote Father Barron: “If we don’t tell our story, no one will, or worse, someone else will.”
I am not all that good at relating personal stories but I can testify from personal experience that the New Media can be an effective means by which to facilitate evangelization and conversion to the Faith, particularly among the generations of young people who have grown up with technological innovation as their preferred means of communication. The encounter with the Faith of the Church as presented through the New Media can be an important route of access to Christ and his Church.
The greatest lesson that I have learned from my work at Word on Fire is that there is no reason to think that the rich content of the Faith, in all its depth, cannot be effectively communicated via the New Media, and further that witness to the Faith that is rooted in the Church’s Tradition, and expressed in the new forums of technology has the power to bring the culture to Christ.
Read more from Fr. Steve Grunow at the Word on Fire Blog.