The purpose of this blog was to investigate lived religion in the Twitter realm. Over the course of the past weeks, I have been investigating various Catholic Twitter users and how they bring their faith into their online social life. I have looked at people within the Church (Pope Francis, Cardinal Dolan, and Father Jonathan), people working in youth ministry (Mark Hart, Jackie Francois, Ennie Hickman, Christopher West), and two college-age Catholics (Caity Tarrabocchia and Kim Strong). Three tweets of each of these nine people containing religious related content were discussed. All the participants had several tweets referencing God or religious topics in some way. This proves that these people are in fact bringing religion into the world of Twitter. These people often discussed topics such as loving thy neighbor, forgiveness, and the goodness of God. One of Kim Strong's tweets read, "I am way too blessed. #glorytoGod." Kim recognizes God's presence and goodness. One of Ennie Hickman's tweets says, "We want to give advice. Jesus wants us to give love." Ennie talks about Jesus directly and his love.
All of the tweets I looked at were consistent with the teachings of the Catholic church. No one tweeted anything contrary to the Catholic Church. The majority of the tweets did not reference specific doctrine but rather general topics such as love, forgiveness, evangelization, and prayer. Mark Hart tweeted about prayer comparing it to taking your car to the only mechanic you can trust. Ennie tweeted about God's love: "When we fail, God doesn't call us out. He calls us to supper." The lived religion being performed online is not contradicting any Catholic teachings, but does not highlight specific Catholic doctrine.
The Twitter users being observed for this case study were expressing their religion online. They discussed religious topics and recognized God in their own lives. They were able to bring religious discussion into Twitter; however, they were not "doing" religion on Twitter. These tweets were not comparable to going to Mass or participating in religion. These expressions were simply used to talk about God and communicate ideas. Religious discussion exists on Twitter, but it is not being used as a sacred space for the actual performance of religion.