Avoiding an Instagram Faith

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All it takes is one click on your Facebook or Instagram app, and you are instantly transported into a world were everyone is having the time of their lives. Experiences in far away destinations, engagements upon engagements, and non-stop positive and peaceful parenting moments.

Most of us take a both/and approach to the experience of scrolling through our feed and seeing everyone’s fantastic life: We are BOTH frustrated that everyone seems to have achieved perfection, AND we tend to join in, at least a little bit, as well.

We crop our images, run them through beautiful filters, and post videos of our kids singing cute little songs while eating their vegetables, rather than showing the daily meltdowns, kids punching us when they’re tired and fighting it, or cereal and milk for dinner because we’re just trying to survive another day.

While this can create an inauthentic feeling of generalized yuckiness when it comes to our typical day-to-day posts about life, it can be even more dangerous when it comes to posting about our faith.

You’ve seen it.

You’ve scrolled past it.

You, like me, may have even engaged in it.

I’m talking about the way we often “Instagram our faith.”

There’s a thin line between sharing our faith journey in the hopes of drawing others into a closer relationship with Christ and His Church, and sharing our faith journey as a way of saying “Look at me! Look how holy I am!!”

"Avoiding an Instagram faith" by Tommy Tighe (CatholicMom.com)

By Takashi Hososhima from Tokyo, Japan (Traditional cell phone vs Smart phone) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

I think about this quite a bit as I use and peruse social media.

Am I posting a quote from the Liturgy of the Hours because I think others will find it helpful, or because I want people to know I’m praying the Liturgy of the Hours?

Am I telling people I’m headed to Adoration because I want to pray for each and every one’s intentions, or because it feels good to know people think of me as a good and holy person?

Am I tweeting a Scripture passage because it means something to me, or because I’m trying to let people know I read the Scripture?

These are questions we need to ask ourselves, especially those of us who are trying to spread the Good News of the Catholic faith through the means of social media.

The world craves an authentic representation of the faith; keeping it real with our Catholicism online, and we have to continually reassess the true reasons behind our tweets, IG posts, and Facebook updates.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to put down our phones and pray without telling the world about it. . . .

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matthew 6:6

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Copyright 2017 Tommy Tighe

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About Author

Tommy is a Catholic husband, father of four boys, and the author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook (due out Fall 2017 from Ave Maria Press).

4 Comments

  1. This is so mean spirited, I am honestly stunned. I like seeing spiritual posts and things that are true, good and beautiful on the internet. The internet has so much actual wickedness, but the catholic blogosphere is now so overwhemed by overly-catholic-catholics that they are turning on people who tweet the Liturgy of the Hours? Who he aims at says a lot about the author. Sounds so critical, so biting, I am just so surprised. I will pray for the author, he may want to talk to a spiritual director or therapist.

    • We want to honor all opinions on our site, so we approved this comment; however, we do feel compelled to ask all those who post to express their opinions in a charitable way and not to make comments about anyone personally. Gratefully, the CatholicMom Team

    • I’m very sorry that this came across in that way, Heather. I find myself frequently needing to examine my motives behind what I post and why I post it on social media, and that was my motivation for the piece.

      May the peace of Christ be with you!

  2. Michelle Webster on

    I enjoyed the article .. it does make us think before posting on the true intent behind it 😇 And making sure my posts will try and do good and help someone .

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