By Renée Smith
Is your faith life and worldly life separated online? How do you use your online presence to share your Christian beliefs or Catholic faith?
Most of us are familiar with the existence of social media tools like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok even if we do not actively engage in the content shared there. For at least a decade, social media became the go-to tool to quickly share information, educate and network with others.
It is also a space where Christ’s teachings can be shared in several unique ways.
As with any form of media, fake news, nudity, and “bare trash” can be spewed on social media platforms. These propelled Jameke, a practicing Catholic, to create an IG platform @catholicfire where he hoped to transmit the love and truth of the Catholic faith and also reveal how one’s faith and life are not separated from each other.
After watching the segment twice (I enjoyed it that much), I felt it suggested some practical ways we all can use social media as followers of Christ.
I agreed with Illijah that “social media brings with it an anonymous nature”, where we can hide behind our keypads and screens, often shaping ourselves to be anything we want to be. He had pointed out, “You talk to a lot of people and realise they create a different life for social media”.
To this Jameke chimed in, saying there was a part of social media culture that is “toxic”, one where people “filter” what they want others to see and forget to be their authentic selves.
It got me thinking, Do I know someone like that? Oh gosh, am I like that?
He said: “It’s a serious issue for young people who try to look like others. If you are in a state of constantly comparing yourself to others and looking for validation, you are going to find yourself with a lot of self-esteem issues… Essentially losing your own identity trying to be something you are not”.
For those hesitant about intertwining their faith and lives on social media, Jameke said for him, he decided to approach a popular Catholic, social media influencer.
She told him people will be looking at EVERYTHING you post to align with what a Catholic Christian is supposed to do. Jameke said, “It can be heavy responsibility as a Catholic social media user… but it is one we must bear as you can ultimately lead people closer to God or cast them far way”.
Someone slides into your DM and tells you Pope Francis is the anti-Christ. Do you block and delete or educate them?
Jameke had considered the risk of being scrutinised when he began Catholic Fire but felt it was important to represent who Christ is via social media.
“I just wanted people to see the light [of Christ] amidst all of the garbage we also see on social media” Jameke told Illijah.
He went on to share some of the hateful comments he got via DMs, describing it as “mind blowing” that people could feel so strongly against the Catholic Church. For some time, he took the negativity to heart but eventually told himself Catholic Fire was not just a “page for likes” and constant positive feedback but a space to share TRUTH regardless of the feedback.
He shrugged, “I tell the truth and let go of the outcome. I also think it is important to always pray for the negative commenters”
Anything can be come a learning experience. Let your scrolls and clicks online lead you to edifying content about Christ and His Church. Seek out content that helps answer the questions your parents, friends or members of your Church perhaps cannot answer. Share your learnings with your followers.
Jameke stressed his faith was forced to grow by sharing content online. “My public witness is only as strong as my private prayer life. I try to represent God in what I say and do online and offline.”
Let’s reconsider what we post online, not just the sunsets captioned with a bible verse.
Do any of your posts help someone know God?
The Instagram Live programme, Awkward Conversations airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. @rcyctt