Tweeting with God – unpacking tradition in a modern way

TWEETING WITH GOD by Fr Michel Remery. (Freedom Publishing Books, Melbourne, 2017). 432pp $39.00AUD (Manual $19.95AUD 56pp) Reviewed by Sr SIAN OWEN, RSJ

Most people have at least a limited concept of what a tweet is. A short snappy public media message of 280 characters (up from 140 as of November, 2017). Therefore, a book named Tweeting with God would be a whole lot of tweets about God. This is certainly true to an extent but the depth of this book, and its usefulness in catechetical ministry is that it is so much more.

The chapter tweets (all of the 140 character variety) are a pathway into exploring the richness of the Catholic tradition. The tradition is unpacked in an engaging manner that will appeal to the modern seeker used to getting their information in short, snappy bursts, with visuals.

The author, Fr Michel Remery, offers thoughtful, well supported responses to the chapter questions which are explored over two pages. To encourage further consideration references are made to the Catechism and Scripture on the theme. The question, response pedagogy has been used successfully over generations and works well here also.

Appealing to many of the technically savvy is the opportunity to download an app which can be used to scan images that link to the website where greater detail is given and links are made to related tweets.

A note for Kiwis wanting to use this feature — the easiest place to access the app is through the Tweeting with God website. Our local apps stores do not feature it.

Fr Michel came up with this catechetical model while ministering in a parish. When he invited young people to send him their questions nearly 1000 questions arrived. From there the idea of answers called tweets arose and became the focal point of parish catechetical sessions. This experience is explained in the accompanying manual. A very useful document, the manual provides a range of suggestions regarding how the text might be used in catechetical situations.

This resource can be used in a number of ways. It is targeted to the parish setting its methodology arose from, providing a framework for young people and their mentors to explore, learn about, and discuss issues of Catholic identity.

In the Religious Education classroom it would provide a valuable supplementary resource to the texts, and might appeal to a number of the disengaged through the hook of technology. It is easy to read and therefore would be good to have in school libraries and staff rooms providing the curious with a non-threatening way of finding out more about what Catholics believe and do. Families interested in talking with, and sharing their faith with, young people might also find this a non-threatening useful tool.

Sr Sian Owen, RSJ, is team leader of the Religious Education Team at Auckland diocese.

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