"Christian Social Principles" reading group tonight, now on Facebook Live!
After much deliberation, consultation, and prayer, I have decided to use a different technological medium to communicate the contents — and my commentary thereupon — of the Christian Social Principles book by Sister Mary Consilia O’Brien.
(By the way, a couple of my students have scanned the entire 640-page book into a free PDF that you can download here (just click on the link):
Instead of using Skype as we have the past two weeks, we will — starting tonight (Sunday, November 27), the First Sunday of Advent, at 8 pm Eastern Time — follow the suggestion that some of you have made, and I'll be using Facebook Live instead to present this material.
This is a great opportunity for NEWCOMERS to join us who didn't Skype with us the past two Sundays! Because we’ll have several new people joining us tonight, I'm basically starting over, and will commence tonight by reading chapters 1 and 2 of the book in their entirety, along with my interspersed commentary thereupon.
This way people from now on watching via Facebook Live — which they can watch the recordings of whenever suits their schedule (see below) — will end up having heard the complete text of the book (which is public domain, by the way, so no copyright infringement is occurring) when the recorded series of broadcasts is completed, and not merely a truncated version missing the first two chapters (which we'd discussed the past two weeks).
Hopefully we will very rapidly get on to new material tonight, though (up through chapter 3 at least, God willing), so don’t play hooky just because you’ve been with us the past two weeks!
You do NOT need to have a Facebook account to see and hear me on Facebook Live. Anyone who’s been Skyping with me the past week or two (or reading this, for that matter) obviously already has 1) a computer with a web browser, and 2) a high-speed Internet connection. That's all you need to see me on Facebook Live. There’s no additional app to download, so no additional software to acquire or learn how to manage.
Simply use your computer’s web browser to go to www.facebook.com.
(You can click on that link I just provided you in the sentence previous to this one.) In the upper left corner of Facebook’s home page you’ll see a search field with a flashing I-bar (indicating this is the place to input text that you type) in front of the gray words “Search Facebook.” In that search field type in “Gerry Matatics” and you should be taken to my public figure Facebook page which anyone on the Internet can see (whether or not they have a Facebook account), with the picture of me posing with Alex Trebek, from my public appearance on the Jeopardy TV quiz show this past January. (I also have a private Facebook page which only my family and those I’ve “friended” on Facebook can see: that’s not
the page I’ll be broadcasting from.)
If for some reason you can't find my public page on Facebook that way, simply click on the following link to be taken directly to it:
There are several advantages to using Facebook Live instead of Skype:
1. First of all, Facebook Live can accommodate an unlimited number of people watching and listening. Skype was limited to 25 people per call, and we were already nearly at that limit, with several more people having contacted me during the past few days wishing to join, which would have taken us over that limit.
2. Some of those participating the past two weeks were experiencing bandwidth problems in trying to be connected to two dozen Skype participants at a time, resulting in degradation of the audio and video quality of the Skype call. With Facebook Live, you’ll only be seeing me, and this means your Internet connection will only have to link to one conversation partner (me), not 25 simultaneous ones, which means folks should see improved — indeed, trouble-free — video/audio performance.
3. The fact that you’ll only be seeing me actually appeals, it seems, to some of you (who’ve told me so), who were camera-shy and therefore reluctant to be seen by others — although you’re all more photogenic than I am! (Maybe some people just didn’t want to have to comb their hair, or felt that their old torn Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt, or "My Little Pony” pajamas, or whatever they prefer to wear around their house would scandalize their fellow traditionalist Catholics!)
4. Some participants, perhaps because they were unfamiliar with Skype, or perhaps because they did not have a fast enough or robust enough Internet connection, were having difficulty connecting to us, or were having difficulty remaining connected, or figuring out the mechanics of muting their microphone when they wanted to talk to people in the background, or un-muting it when they wanted to ask a question, or increasing/decreasing the audio volume, etc.
5. Then there are the people who wish to join this group but do not have Skype
and are afraid that, even if they download the app, they — not feeling very "computer literate” — won’t know how to use it (although Skype is fairly simple and straightforward). Facebook Live, on the other hand, requires no download of an app
(you’re simply going to the Facebook website, www.facebook.com
), and you will be able to see and hear everything while remaining totally “passive,” with no need to learn a new application's features, fiddle with controls, etc.
6. While the Facebook Live broadcast is going on it’s being simultaneously recorded, and once each broadcast is finished the recording is permanently stored right there on the Facebook page for anyone to watch later, at whatever time and on whatever day is convenient for their schedule. In fact it will automatically archive all the “episodes” so that anyone could come across the Facebook page a day, a week, a month, a year, or several years from now and watch the entire series of recordings. This will gain us many more viewers who were not able to join us at that hour on Sunday evenings due to work, sleep, or other commitments.
There is only one disadvantage to using Facebook Live, so far as I can see, and that is that — unlike with Skype — you will not be able to ask questions of me via audio during the session.
Frankly, however, so far that does not particularly strike me as much of a “loss,” as last week (and perhaps the first week as well), as those participating will recall, I seemingly could not get anyone to comment or ask any questions — though perhaps some folks were discouraged from attempting this by the technical difficulties they were experiencing, or perhaps by their relative unfamiliarity with the material I was presenting.
With Facebook Live you will, however, be able to text me your questions in real-time during the broadcast, which I can either answer on the fly, incorporating them into my presentation as I go along, or simply save them to answer them all together at the end of the session.
(This ability to text to the Facebook Live broadcast may be limited to those who have a Facebook account. We’re not sure yet, so we’ll perhaps discover that tonight. If that’s the case, and if you crave the ability to interact in that way, this may motivate you to set up a Facebook account if you don’t already have one, which you then don’t ever need to use (if you don’t wish to use Facebook) except when you need to in order to interact with my Facebook Live presentations.
If Facebook Live does not prove to be the best solution, I will simply make video-recorded readings from and lectures on the Christian Social Principles book and upload them to a YouTube channel that I will launch to host all my video lectures, on this and other topics.
To sum up: at 8 pm Eastern Time tonight (Sunday, November 27) please go to my public Facebook page for my first Facebook Live installment on “Christian Social Principles.” If you happen to first see this post only after 8 pm tonight, no problem: just go to my Facebook page, find tonight's recorded lecture, click the "Play" button, and watch it whenever you wish.
And don't forget: starting next Sunday (December 4, The Second Sunday of Advent), we'll be launching a new reading group to begin discussing the daily readings from Dom Guéranger's magnificent masterpiece, The Liturgical Year. (See the previous post to this one, posted Tuesday, November 22, for details.)
On that day we’ll discuss the readings we've read for that day and for the preceding week (i.e., all the readings from the First to the Second Sunday of Advent, inclusive). We’ll do the same each Sunday thereafter — that is, discuss the readings we've read during the intervening week since the previous time we met.
We haven’t yet selected a time, but it will probably be late Sunday afternoon, Eastern Time — perhaps at 5 or 6 pm. I’ll let you know.
Because this will be a smaller group (I’m guessing less than a dozen or so people will be interested in such an undertaking), Skype should work for this, though it had become too unwieldy for the much-larger Christian Social Principles reading group, which has now prompted me to switch to Facebook Live for that group.
Best wishes for a blessed and grace-filled Advent!
Yours in Christ our Coming King and Mary our glorious Queen Mother,
Gerry Matatics, Founder & President
Biblical Foundations International
Updated On: November 27th, 2016