A few months ago, I was attending a conference here in Orlando when someone near me asked, “Hey, are you Brandon Vogt?!” I turned and did a double take. Standing in front of me was a Carmelite priest, dressed in their distinctive brown habit…holding an iPad. You don’t see that everyday.
The man introduced himself as Fr. Dave Genders and explained that he was the vocations director for the Carmelites and the man leading their social media efforts. When he began telling me all the cool things they’re doing online, he blew me away.
Fr. Dave is like a cross between Steve Jobs and that great Carmelite mystic, St. John of the Cross. Like Jobs, he’s excited and knowledgeable about technology—and he even looks like Steve Jobs—but like St. John he’s measured and contemplative, acutely aware of how new media affects our faith.
I asked Fr. Dave if he’d like to do an interview and he graciously accepted. So we recently sat down to discuss the connection between Carmelite spirituality and new media and some of the projects he’s working on.
Watch or download our interview below:
Download the interview here (19 minutes)
2:00 – What drew you to the new media?
3:04 – What are some of the Carmelites’ online projects?
7:34 – How the Carmelites went viral
10:17 – How should we understand the juxtaposition of Carmelite spirituality and new media?
13:49 – How has the Carmelites’ online work helped encourage vocations?
Q: How should we understand the juxtaposition of Carmelite spirituality and new media?
There’s two edges to every sword. One could focus on the chaos of social media, but I like to look at it as something very proper to our tradition. We [Carmelites] were born out of the mendicancy movement. We as a religious order gathered around prayer and then were moved, by that prayer, into the cities with the people, to walk with the people. In many ways the marketplace of the thirteenth-century has now become the social media sphere. So in some ways, we’re called into that chaos.
Keep tabs on Fr. Dave and the Carmelites at Carmelites.net and through the order’s Facebook page.
What impresses you most about the Carmelites’ new media work?