Blogs Take Test of Faith

Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach. The Protestant...
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A news report that challenges conventional wisdom, especially one about a personal/cultural topic like religion, is often rich fodder for online conversation. This was the case last week as a Pew Research Center survey showing that atheists and agnostics were more knowledgeable about religion than followers of major faiths drew significant attention.

For the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, almost a quarter (23%) of the news links on blogs were to a Los Angeles Times story about the survey, making it the No. 1 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

The survey from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that non-believers were able to answer more questions about religion correctly than believers, even when one controlled for educational background. It also showed that people were ill-informed on some of the questions related to their own religion. A majority of Protestants, for example, were unable to identify Martin Luther as the primary figure behind the Protestant Reformation. (The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Project for Excellence in Journalism are both are part of the Pew Research Center.)

You can follow the ‘via’ link above to go to the source and read the rest of the article if you’d like to dig a little deeper…

When Churches Keep Quiet: Is Silence Deafening Your Message?

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
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Churches and their communicators are always sending a message to their local communities. Our given message is to be the kingdom of God and gift of Jesus Christ. When this message is not clearly proclaimed by our verbal and non-verbal communication, our audience fills in the blanks. Our neighbors come to two conclusions: we are either ignorant of their problem, or we don’t care. Or both. And unfortunately, there are churches in both camps.

No one accidentally concludes you are a loving church without hearing your message. No one guesses you are a serving church without seeing your actions.

The current religious climate demands we exhaust every possible avenue in carrying the message of Christ clearly and concisely to any open ear. If your church is not using Facebook, then start—your high school, chamber of commerce, library and most tax paying citizens are. If you don’t use Twitter, learn—your friends and community already have. Does your local community have a bulletin board, free town mailer, radio station or homepage? Get on it. Go out in your community, and do something. The church’s silence is killing her message. If you make people guess what you are about, they will guess wrong.

The Rev. Robert Barron takes to TV, blogs, YouTube as a new-media Catholic priest

The Rev. Robert Barron, a Chicago-based Roman Catholic priest, has made himself a new-media messenger for the church, bringing a Catholic perspective to topics from “Avatar” to atheism to the use of steroids in baseball.

The author of 10 books, he has posted more than 180 cultural commentaries on YouTube and delivers a weekly homily on Relevant Radio (WNTD-AM/950 in Chicago). He contributes guest blogs to CNN.com and ABC.com, adding pithy, pointed commentary to hot topics. He has filmed a 10-part documentary, “The Catholicism Project,” which he hopes will air on public television next year.

On Sunday, he will begin presenting a half-hour television show, “Word on Fire with Father Barron,” on WGN America. It’s paid programming, the airwaves’ equivalent of vanity publishing; his messages, from earlier DVDs, will air nationwide for 13 weeks (at 8:30 a.m. Sundays in Chicago). The airtime will be paid for by private donors; he declines to reveal the cost.

“My job is to bring the Catholic perspective to bear,” says the Rev. Barron, 50. Catholicism, he says, “has been underrepresented in the conversation.”

Here’s one priest who’s taking the Holy Father’s admonition to start blogging seriously! What about you others? Let’s use the internet to spread a little Gospel and Community! Comment, call or use the contact form to connect so we can talk about how this applies to your parish…

Kudos to the Catholic Church…

…for the excellent job they are doing with the ‘Catholics come home‘ campaign — a great combination of traditional and new, online media. Discussing this with my good friend Jim Kelleher of Kelleher Creative in St. Louis, I was pleased to see the church hasn’t lost it’s sense of humor, either.

For those of you who didn’t attend Catholic School, the thing that amuses me is the search box. St. Anthony is the patron saint of “lost things”…

;-)

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