Rev. Cedric A. Miller, senior pastor of Living Word Christian Fellowship, has given “his married church leaders until Sunday to get off [Facebook] or resign their posts.” Though Rev. Miller’s Facebook password is in the hands of his wife, and claims to only be interested in his children’s activities on the site, he has also vow to close his account. This story has left a lot of people asking questions concerning social networks and their impact on Christian communities.
In Rev. Miller’s case, the call for his leadership team to disassociate themselves with Facebook comes as a result of numerous marital problems, arising from social connections–such as befriending old flames, that he is counseling couples through. His leadership team and congregation doesn’t seem to be included in the list of those with these issues. The counselees are mostly from other congregations. His call for their disassociation seems to be geared towards role-modeling and prevention. It is easier for a pastor to make a point concerning something when him and his leadership team are in one accord.
Is Facebook Problematic? Perhaps it is to some. However, that is not the issue. The issue is really about who we are as individuals. Facebook, as a social media, allows us to communicate through words and pictures, but it doesn’t tell us what we should communicate. The what is left up to us and therefore it is difficult to place blame on an inanimate tool with no innate disposition towards good or evil. It is man that chooses what to do with what they possess. These days it seems that the easy way out of things is to establish boundaries instead of dealing with core issues.
In the case of marital infidelities one must realize that flirtation, which is considered innocent by today’s standards, is rampant amongst the married. Whenever an attractive person walks into a room or is found in conversation with one that is in a relationship or is married the signals are often clearly communicated. The church has to deal with the flirtatious nature of many of its’ members. This flirtatious nature is usually evident prior to marriage and in someways reveals the disregard that the flirt has towards the respectability of their partner, and ultimately, of themselves.
Making assumptions concerning who in the local congregation is a flirt is a dangerous thing. We are not able to read the heart as God can. The best way to deal with the issue is to have round table discussions and sermons on the topic. Furthermore, self-assessment is a pivotal aspect of the process. Some flirts are not even conscious of the fact that they are flirting, but others are. The congregation may not be able to tell but God can.
When these individuals who were carrying on their flirtatious ways get married flirting may or may not be viewed by them as something harmful. After all, it was not condemned during the relationship so why should it be now? What ends up happening is that a need to have the one that is being flirted with develops. It is necessary to understand, for the most part, those who flirt are communicating their attraction to the one being flirted with. Thus, if one is in a relationship or is married, it is never harmless–in spite of the fact that the definition for the word flirt is, “To make playfully romantic or sexual overtures.” For the Christian there is no such thing as being playful concerning romance and sexual overtures outside of marriage. If the word playful is to be used within a marriage context there would need to be an understanding that it is not to be included with others beside the spouse.
Allow me to unpack the statement above. Being romantic prior to marriage is fine and dandy. On the other hand communicating sexual needs is not. What role does the word playful takes in these considerations? That all depends on how one defines it. If it is being defined as a lack of seriousness then it is essentially a lie. I must also add that being romantic is also subject to interpretation in order to determine whether it is appropriate for Christian behavior or not. People can use the same words to mean different things.
We need to start taking responsibility for what we do. There has always been and will always be things that will give us the opportunity to do something wrong. There is nothing new under the sun in terms of man’s desire for infidelity. We need the Holy Spirit to transform our beings so we can bear fruits of righteousness. Solving every single problem by setting up rules and regulations only makes us legalistic, in other words, prone to breaking them. because there is no change of heart.
Finally, if you feel that you can’t control yourself then stay off Facebook. However, you must recognize that you’ve only manage to disconnect one way of doing what you really want to do. Focus on dealing with the internal problem.
Facebook Image from http://cottagestyle.com.mt/public_html/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/facebook.jpg
The Free Dictionary – Flirt http://www.thefreedictionary.com/flirt