Sydney Catholic shares her faith through live reading
Kristin Barlow of Kellyville in north-west Sydney has been treating hundreds of her Facebook friends with a live reading of Mere Christianity by CS Lewis.
Beginning during the lockdown in May, she began reading the classic explanation and defence of the Christian faith online with around 400 people tuning in each week.
The 27-year-old postgraduate theology student at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney, said the topics covered have sparked some interesting, and at times challenging, conversations given her eclectic mix of 1500 Facebook friends.
“I was struggling during isolation as I think many people were and I thought to myself I could either wait this out until my life resumes as normal or I could use this opportunity for something I might never have done otherwise,” said Ms Barlow, a former kindergarten teacher.
“Many of us were missing our regular post-Mass morning tea in the courtyard communities. I also noticed that many people were living on the internet at that time and that they were also being forced to be still, which is something that we don’t get a chance to do much in this society.
“People had more time to think and to ask themselves, ‘What does this all mean?’. I love all my Facebook friends including my non-religious ones. What better time to invite them to think about God?”
With public Masses suspended, Ms Barlow who is a regular at the Maternal Heart of Mary parish in Lewisham, chose to share a book relating to faith using Facebook Live at 3pm on Sundays to keep the day holy. She began reading Mere Christianity at the start of May.
She had never read the entire book before and along with her weekly viewers said she enjoys CS Lewis’ argument for the existence of God and treatment of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.
“His writing is humble and is quite digestible for a modern audience,” she said. “He starts at the very roots of reasoning that there is a natural law, law of nature he calls it, within each of us, a law of right and wrong and then he builds from there.
“It can be difficult to get through the whole book if you’re not a practicing Christian, but matters of morality, the soul and eternal life that have the ability to turn your life around should rightfully be hard to stomach.
“To put such books down because they’re hard to get through would be a shame.
“At the very least CS Lewis makes some profound points about the human person that everyone ought to hear.”
As the book draws to a close this weekend Ms Barlow says she has learnt a lot from it, engaged in some great discussions with friends and is open to beginning another.
“Like every Christian, I’ve been blessed with certain gifts and I have to consider how I can best use them to glorify God,” she said.
“I used to enjoy public speaking and to read picture books to children when I was a kindergarten teacher, so the idea of using those gifts to connect with others while discussing the reason why our souls seek connection in the first place does seem a good opportunity.”
By Marilyn Rodrigues. Reproduced with permission from The Catholic Weekly, the online news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.