Ash Wednesday marks the start of the Christian period of Lent. Christians often receive a sign of the cross in ashes on their forehead and tend to wear that mark with pride throughout the day. It’s generally one day out of the year where the lines between secular society and personal belief are blurred, where people can recognize other Christians in their workplaces, play groups, or gyms.
Recently priests and other Christians have been using #ashtag to share selfies with ashes on their forehead. It’s a chance to recognize the people who are in your group. Within the American context, beliefs are rarely discussed in professional contexts, but Ash Wednesday is a day when you can show your privately-held beliefs in a visual but not pushy way. It provides a chance to connect with others with similar views. Sharing selfies through #ashtag allows Christians across a social network to feel solidarity and group cohesion.
“Sharing selfies through #ashtag allows Christians across a social network to feel solidarity and group cohesion.”
In congregations, a vital part of creating a strong community is to have a strong sense of common identity or culture. #Ashtag allows people to feel part of a larger group across a diffuse social network, but what can you in your congregation do to create a sense of community and group solidarity? And, thinking about social media, how can that be shared and encouraged?