A New Jersey pastor has ordered about 50 married church officials in his 1,000-member congregation to delete their Facebook accounts and swear off the social networking site, according to the Associated Press. Rev. Cedric Miller, pastor of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, N.J., said he made the decision after counseling with 20 couples over the past six months, all of whom had experienced marital strife after Facebook enabled one spouse or the other to connect with an old flame.
Conversations often lead to physical meet-ups, he said, and “The temptation is just too great.” Miller has previously encouraged married couples to share all their login information with each other, and is considering asking members to voluntarily swear off Facebook lest they endanger their marriages.
Miller agrees that Facebook can be used in legitimate ways, and has an account of his own, which he says was started to help him keep track of his six children. He says he will shut it down, however, in solidarity with other leaders he is requiring to leave the site.
Anyone who has poked around Facebook very much can see easy evidence of ways in which it facilitates friendships, and I suppose most anything that helps people engage socially can become the occasion for fraternizing that goes beyond appropriate.
I suspect, however, that a congregational boycott of Facebook won’t do much to change human nature or reverse some folks’ proclivity toward a wandering eye.
For that, better to focus on the GoodBook.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.