Video and Footnotes “ 9 ½ Social Media Strategies for the Church

Last night I offered a webinar on social networking tips and tricks for Catholic parishes, schools, and other ministries:

Thanks to everyone who participated! As promised, I’m including footnotes and suggestions for further reading:


Web Resources

Setting the Context for the Roman Missal, third edition

At our January 20 meeting of DREs in the diocese, our director of worship and the catechumenate, Eliot Kapitan, delivered a great presentation addressing four common questions about the new translation of the Mass. Because of bad weather, many DREs couldn’t attend so we recorded the presentation:

Video and Footnotes – Reaching Parishioners with Facebook

Tonight I offered a free webinar on using Facebook to build and strengthen relationships with parishioners. The video is now available:

The following are some additional resources and recommended reading:


Church Documents

Web Sites and Articles


Footnotes and Further Reading – Marketing Your School Online

Today I offered a breakout session at the 2010 Diocesan Adult Enrichment Conference on school marketing in the internet era. The following are footnotes and suggestions for further readings for the attendees:


Web Sites and Articles



Video: Catechizing Digital Natives webinar

This is a video of the webinar I offered earlier this month on strategies for passing on the faith to the “net generation.” For further reading on this subject I have also compiled a list of books, useful articles and tools referenced in the video.

Catechizing Digital Natives from Jonathan Sullivan on Vimeo.

The Rise of the Retrosexual

I’m a fan of the blog The Art of Manliness, which offers a useful counter to the dominate male images of our consumer culture. Brett McKay, the site’s founder, has reported on what he calls a “Menaissance,” a movement to re-establish a more classical understanding of men based on the values and style of the WWII generation.

In this short video, Brett explains why he thinks is this happening and why it appeals to today’s young men:

Happiness and Evangelization

I recently finished reading psychologist Dan Gilbert’s book Stumbling on Happiness, an examination of how the human brain attempts to make decisions about what will make us happy — decisions that, if studies are to be believed, we don’t make very well.

Gilbert’s book is summarized in this 2008 TED talk (the whole talk is about 24 minutes long and is well worth watching on its own merits):

Gilbert’s explanation vis a vis how we make decisions about happiness over time got me thinking about the aims of evangelization. Given that comparisons over time are extraordinarily difficult to make and that, all things being equal, it takes a tremendous payoff to delay gratification, is it possible that the extension of the human lifespan makes arguments for religious belief less convincing?

The stereotypical Christian argument is: “Have faith in Christ and his saving work, turn away from sin, and you will be rewarded with heaven.” Putting aside whether this is an accurate representation of the Gospel, in Gilbert’s terms we are asking people to delay today’s gratification (at least as it pertains to immoral acts) in favor of a reward in the afterlife.

This may have been a compelling argument when the average lifespan of a citizen of colonial Virginia was around 25 years. Death was imminent. The frame of reference for questions of happiness were much more immediate. As a result, it would have been easier to put off gratifying (but possibly immoral) behavior in favor of a “heavenly reward” because that   reward didn’t seem too far off.

But today the average American can expect to live well into his 70s. Most people simply don’t think in that kind of time frame. I can hardly put together a budget for the next month, let alone think about the state of my eternal soul in 40 years. Couple that with a consumer culture that prizes personal autonomy and immediate gratification and the Gospel seems much less compelling. Again, in Gilberts terms, the payoff for waiting simply doesn’t compute for the average person.

So how do we evangelize in such a situation? We know that, in the long run, final happiness is to be found only in God. But when people today enjoy more daily comfort, longer and safer lives, and greater individual autonomy that in any other period of history, how do we convey that fact in a compelling and credible manner?