Charitable & Christian Online Discussions


For my regular radio segment this week on the Son Rise Morning Show, Brian Patrick and I will be discussing ideas and techniques for keeping online conversations charitable and Christian in tone. So often across the blogosphere and now in our social networking arenas, we find folks feeling more free to express themselves with vitriol, anger and downright meanness.  And ironically, this often occurs during conversations centered around faith topics.

Radio Producer and author extraordinaire Matt Swaim and I were having a conversation this morning about this topic. I shared with him my frequent references to a particular quote from Pope Benedict XVI in this year’s World Communications Day message:

When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others.

I also shared with him the photo you see here – my personal reminder to always share online using three watchwords: Respect, Dialogue and Friendship. These, of course, harken back to the 2009 World Communications Day Message and tend to be my personal test for whether or not to post a thought or idea online. Very often, I find myself not meeting these benchmarks mentally and having to restrain myself in writing.

What thoughts, ideas or guidelines would be on your “checklist” for commenting or interacting online? To get you started, here’s a suggestion from Matt Swaim:

I often read what I’ve typed aloud in my charitable voice, and then read it aloud in my snarky voice.  Which voice will others think I mean?

What’s on your checklist? What helps you to remember to interact in a faith-filled way online?


About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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