Blessed are the Graceful: A Reflection on Social Media Presence

The Mid-Week Missive is based on Community Rules: An Episcopal Manual by Ian Markham and Kathryn Glover, both administrators at Virginia Theological Seminary. I am working my way through this book, reading and writing  through the lens of our Life Together as part of the Christ the King Episcopal Church family, as well as part of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast. 

Rule #14: Your Social Media Presence Needs to Reflect Grace and Gospel. Markham and Glover’s reflection on this rule can be found in their book, which can be purchased here

How does this rule apply to our Life Together at Christ the King? Markham and Glover’s reflection on Social Media Presence includes a reminder of Community Rules 1-6 (which I have written about in previous blog posts):

1.     Christ is the Foundation of Christian Community

2.     Remember That People Are Made in the Image of God

3.     All People Deserve Respect and Appreciation

4.     Welcome, Welcome, Welcome

5.     Be Sensitive: We Are All Different

6.     Acknowledge the Other Person’s Experience and Perspective

What if, instead of giving church visitors a newcomers packet, we simply asked them to visit the Social Media feeds (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) of our church, clergy, lay staff, vestry members, and a few dozen of our active members? What would this visitor discover about the people of Christ the King? Is Christ the foundation of our social media feeds? Do we respect and appreciate others? Are we sensitive to others’ differences? Do we acknowledge others’ experiences and perspectives?

As we move into the escalated rhetoric of presidential election season, we all will be exposed to Social Media feeds that do NOT reflect grace and gospel. Let us differentiate from that trend. Let us model grace and gospel in all that we “say” online. The practice of digital restraint, decorum, grace, and love is an excellent way to embody Christ, and live in to our baptismal covenants in this digital age. And who knows, perhaps more and more people will be drawn to Christ the King if we – the people of Christ the King – make it a priority to have a grace-full online presence!