by Albert Little
Tweeting with God was not what I expected.
When it arrived in my mailbox and I pulled the packaging open I was surprised to find, in my hands, not a small paperback treatment but a large, square, full-colour kind of textbook.
And that’s how I’d best describe it: as an introductory textbook.
In the very first pages, author Fr. Michael Remery makes it plainly clear who he is targeting with his textbook styled book: young people growing in their faith.
As such, the book leans heavily on a Twitter-inspired theme, with hashtags and smartphone app-enabled extension features, which seemed a bit gimmicky to me but, at the same time, I’m clearly not in the target audience.
If it wasn’t painfully obvious that I’m not exactly young and hip anymore I was able to devour this book, handily, in between sessions of trying to appease our newborn son. On a side note, the paperback version of this book is a bit cumbersome to be read one-handed while rocking a baby though I suspect that won’t be a problem for most readers.
My own personal angst about aging aside, Tweeting with God meets the goal for which it sets itself. As a primer on the Catholic faith for a novice Remery hits the mark.
From topics like the creation of the world, the Protestant Reformation, Eucharistic Adoration, Saints, and the use of force in self-defense, Remery provides the reader with an incredibly well-supplied buffet of Catholic teaching.
Fair warning though, that the aforementioned meal won’t truly satisfy you in any particular area. Remery’s intention is to merely scratch the surface. This is an overview not a treatise and that, I’d wager, is one of its strengths. Sure, Remery summarizes, and gracefully clarifies, the sale of indulgences during the Middle Ages into a crisp two-page spread his summaries generally serve their topics well.
As a recent Catholic convert, and a long-suffering RCIA participant, I can honestly say I would’ve learned more by reading Tweeting with God than in a thousand lifetimes in the basement of my local parish. And, indeed, this is exactly how I read Remery’s book: as a textbook on Catholicism, positioned perfectly for the new Catholic or Catholic candidate.
Yes, it’s a bit gimmicky, but at the same time, kids these days…
Ultimately, as soon I got past some of the gimmick — and it didn’t take long — I was able to truly appreciate what Fr. Remery had done. Tweeting with God is a perfect “Question and Answer” on the Catholic faith.
If I were to pinpoint a shortcoming it would have to be Fr. Remery’s sometimes endearing command of English. The earnest Dutch priest, for example, refers to the monstrance which holds the Blessed Sacrament during Adoration as a “receptacle” which, in Canada at least, usually refers to a garbage can.
While Tweeting with God certainly wasn’t what I expected it is, nonetheless, an important book which hits a very important target. As an overview of Catholicism for the uninitiated, I’d highly recommend it. As I go-to resource for RCIA classes, it would be at the top of my list. Is its Twitter-heavy theme likely to scare off an older crowd? Probably, and that’s too bad because behind the branding is some really cathecesis. Fr. Remery’s mistake may have been to place it too squarely into one target market. But, then again, what do I know? Perhaps an edition for the slightly older crowd?
E-mailing with Emmanuel? Long Distance Call to the Lord? Telegraph to the Trinity?
I ought to make some suggestions.
Albert Little writes from Canada, where he blogs at The Cordial Catholic.