I’m sorry for the radio silence for the last several days folks. I’d intended to take the Triduum off and then resume blogging, but travel to the land of “no free wifi connection” conspired against me. After fretting for a day or two, I settled into the idea of a relatively unplugged week.
Today, I find myself sort of being dragged back to my keyboard. It’s not that I didn’t miss blogging — a blogger tends to see the world around her through the prism of potential posts, framing headlines in her mind and pondering what graphic will capture her intent most effectively. And I’m blessed beyond measure to wake up every day and spend my time engaging in work that is my true passion.
But being offline and in the “real world” reminded me that while my blogging is a part of the New Evangelization, in reality — to be most effective in sharing the Good News of the gospel with the maximum number of people — it should be a tiny part.
Several months ago, I sat in a conference room at the USCCB’s “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting staring at a set of statistics that were presented to the attendees by CARA – the Center for Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown. The numbers — which you can find online here — were potentially depressing for those of us who work online. They showed that the average person in the pew was more likely to read their parish bulletin than our blogs, and that much of what we do in places like this could be considered “inside baseball”. At the time, I didn’t permit myself to dwell too deeply on that lack of “reach”, and I don’t really intend to do that today.
But my week offline reminded me that the actions that I have in the “real world” will always be more effective in sharing my faith that anything I could ever do online. Last Tuesday, I found myself wading through an enormous crowd of humanity at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. At times, the crowd was so dense that I feared a stampede could occur. In one of the most crowded moments, I looked around myself and imagined that all of those faces I saw were Catholics who had taken the CARA survey referenced above. In that dense mass of people, only one or two of them would have responded that they regularly read a Catholic blog. And yet a crowd almost that large was packed to overflowing into the Easter Sunday Mass we attended a few days earlier.
I don’t share this realization out of dispair, but rather as a reminder to myself to place my priorities in sharing my faith where they will have the greatest impact. In places like Facebook and Twitter, yes, but most importantly in the grocery store, next to the little league field, in meetings, and most importantly around my own dinner table.
For those of us who are especially “wired” Catholics, the challenge we must meet is taking the nuggets of gold we discover online and carrying them as precious gifts to our loved ones, our neighbors and those we meet in that “real world”.
My week offline has not discouraged me from engaging in the passion I have for blogging, tweeting, posting and sharing. It’s simply reminded me that serving the other 99% of folks with whom I interact should be given the same level of passion, care and love.