But I also know from observation that each of these objections can be easily addressed—and The Social Media Gospel does so, thoughtfully and with pertinent examples from real life. In fact, what social media can accomplish is so powerful that it's worth noting, especially if you or your parish are among those still resistant to virtual life. As Meredith writes at one point, wisely used social media can help build community, deliver important news and announcements, gather feedback from the congregation, preach the Gospel, model the values the church teaches, and share stories that "deepen faith and inspire action" (37). It's a pretty amazing list of things churches really want to do.
In fact, there's really only one obvious thing that people still agree has to be done together at the same time, although it's central. Social media can be used to prepare people for the sacraments, but despite some experiments (Google "virtual Eucharist" or "virtual confession"), it's pretty clear that "virtual sacraments" are not spiritually efficacious (9).
And that's probably just fine. There's a reason people who take the sacraments should go to a physical building and interact with physical bodies and receive physical bread and wine.
But social media can help connect them to each other, the church, and to God during those 167 hours when they aren't together doing that.
For more conversation on The Social Media Gospel—and to read an excerpt—visit the Patheos Book Club here.