Last Sunday, Reverend Cedric Miller, senior pastor of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church in Neptune, N.J., told the leaders in his church that anyone in a leadership position and who is married and is on Facebook has to resign their church position if they do not give up Facebook. Apparently a larger and larger portion of the counseling in the church over the past 18 months has dealt with marital problems, including infidelity, stemming from Facebook. According to The Guardian, in the past six months, 40 of the 1,100 members of the Living Word Christian Fellowship Church has such problems, so Reverend Miller has had enough.
On YourTango, I wrote an article about this case : Does Facebook Cause Infidelity? It’s been picked up by the AP and is even on MSNBC–so it’s national news now–but one of the things this case really pointed out to me was not one that this pastor was missing the mark and blaming the tool, but just how far the Christian Church in the USA is willing to go in order to place blame and pretend that “Infidelity doesn’t happen to us–we’re Christians. If he/she had an affair it must be fault nor ours.” Just as we, as mature adults, need to be personally responsible for the choices we make–and for gaining the benefits as well as experiencing the consequences of our choices–so the Church (that is to say, the body of Christian believers) also needs to demonstrate maturity by accepting personal responsibility for NOT teaching couples how to affair-proof their marriages and what to do if your spouse *does* succumb to that temptation. When divorce became “popular” in the 1970’s the Church had a chance to stand for godly values and say “NO! God says that adultery is wrong and He does not tell you to end your current marriage so you can be with your lover and ‘minister together. If you’re thinking that, it is a lie.” In the following decades the Church had the chance to stand up and say “NO! We will not pretend that we are immune to temptation, and when couples do try to divorce so they can continue an affair, we will apply church discipline.” But the church (lowercase c) has become a social gathering place rather than offering right worship to God, and in an effort to get more “members” into the pews, slowly but surely we’ve allowed feminism, quickie divorces and worldly thinking about marriage to be spoken from the pulpits! We had the chance to stand and obey, and instead we chose to worship “more members” and now we are facing the consequences of that choice.
Church–WAKE UP! The truth is that divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists or Agnostics experience. The truth is that Christianity is wearing blinders to the adultery being conducted often literally inside the church building. Almost universally those who have a spouse commit adultery–who want to save their marriage and don’t want a divorce–turn to their church for support, encouragement and help, and are told that the Church “won’t interfere.” Then to add insult to injury, once it’s know that your spouse is having an affair, often the loyal spouse continues to attend church in an effort to get some biblical support, and they become a pariah. Time and again, I’ve heard horror stories of churches keeping the two adulterers because the two of them run the music ministry…or the loyal ‘stay at home’ is excommunicated and the cheating spouse is not because they are the doctor and they contribute more…or even worse, it’s not even addressed AT ALL! There is a Single Adults ministry but nowhere for the husband to turn when he discovers his wife’s affair…and he desperately wants to learn how to save his marriage and rebuild a new, godly, loving marriage! Marriage Basics are not taught. Marriage Crisis is not taught. MARRIAGE IS NOT TAUGHT.
The time has come to stop pointing fingers at Facebook, cell phones, and lined paper and admit that WE are the sinners. We are the ones who need to come before God, repent with a godly sorrow, change so that we live to please Him… It’s not Facebook’s fault.