Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lived Religion in Memes

My case study was studying the question: how does Catholic Memes expresses lived religion through language and narratives and what is the purpose of reinterpreting these memes in a Catholic context? I observed the memes from the Catholic Memes website and looked at how they changed the usual narrative of the meme to fit a Catholic connotation.
The characteristic of networked religion most clearly seen in this case study is that of convergent practice, which is combining traditional religious rituals with outside sources to create a new form of spiritual practice. Catholic Memes uses convergent practice to mix “institutional religion with forms of popular piety, combining the sacred and the profane into personal forms of religious expression” (Campbell, 2011, pg 15). By taking a popular meme platform and combining it with a Catholic message, Catholic Memes is creating a new expression of lived religion and a new reinterpretation of social media to express faith. “Convergent practice highlights that the internet offers a tool box of new possibilities for religious expression and connectedness that enhance individuals’ religious lifestlyes…” (Campbell, 2011, pg. 16-17).
 For example, taking the bear from the meme Confession Bear and placing him in the confessional from the TV show The Simpsons with the priest checking his watch illustrates that even Confession Bear goes to confession, and since his meme is so popular, it would probably take a while! Combining a popular TV show, a known meme character, and the Catholic sacrament of confession, a humorous narrative is created and put forth to be enjoyed by the community
Another example of this is taking the popular meme platform of the "Hey Girl" Ryan Gosling meme and having him suggest reading a Catholic teaching on love and marriage. By combining the idea that Ryan Gosling is the perfect man that the "Hey Girl" memes portray and editing it to fit a Catholic image the meme has now been transformed into that of the perfect Catholic man and is now a sign of religious expression.

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