by Annalise Deal
Jesuit bloggers Sam Sawyer, S.J. and Michael Rossman, S.J. of The Jesuit Post (TJP) visited Boston College during the C21 center’s “Espresso Your Faith Week” to give the first Agape Latte talk of the 2014-15 school year. Friends as well as colleagues, Rossman and Sawyer shared stories of their humble beginnings at TJP, and spoke of what it means to have “God as CEO.”
The two began by telling the story of how TJP began, and what brought each of them there. According to Sawyer, who is an alumnus of Boston College, the inspiration behind creating the website was to “give people ammunition” to proclaim their faith in God on the Internet without being negative or too extreme.
“If you’ve read anything on the Internet about religion, you’ve realized there are a lot of crazy people out there” said Sawyer. “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a little bit more of a dose of sanity around and available? If there was a little more evidence that you could be normal, and be in conversation with the real world, and still believe in God and say so on the internet?”
Created in 2012 by Paddy Gilger, S.J., TJP is a Jesuit blog that seeks to find God in the world of pop culture, politics, sports and so much more. It is modern, eccentric, fun, and most importantly accessible. Their staff consists primarily of young Jesuits such as Sawyer, who was one of the three original founders, and Rossman, who was invited to join their project soon after it began.
They have been extremely successful in gaining readership, especially amongst young adults; many BC students are self-proclaimed fans of TJP and read it regularly.
Sawyer and Rossman shared with students stories of risk in their own lives, including their respective vocations to join the Society of Jesus, and abandoning stability in order to found TJP. Sawyer shared how both of these things taught them what it feels like to take a “life-giving risk” rather than one that “just trades of danger against reward.”
At the beginning of TJP, and even now, many of its contributors live on opposite sides of the country, and some have never met. So the entire administration and collaboration of the website is essentially done via FaceTime and Google Hangouts. However, while that may seem an unstable way to run a company, Sawyer reflected on how it has resulted in the deepest friendships he has ever experienced.
It is lessons like this that Sawyer and Rossman wanted to pass on to BC students. They have seen in their own lives that God works when people “actually reconfigure their lives around something that might have seemed a little bit crazy,” and that though it is scary it can result in tremendous things.
They encouraged students to take these “life-giving risks” in their own lives: to think and pray over what God may be calling each of us to, no matter how unpredictable those things may be.