Published November 19, 2010
When a New Jersey pastor, according to multiple press reports, declared that a large percentage of the marital counseling he has been offering in recent weeks stemmed from issues related to the social networking site Facebook, no one should've been surprised.
But for all the snickering that has been taking place since Rev. Cedric Miller told his executive staff to stay off Facebook or walk out the door, it is important to point out that he has a significant point to make.
Like an overly controlling husband who won't "allow" his bride to have a Facebook account, the pastor has issued the edict that all staff members who refused to give up the network must leave the employment of the church.
Guffaws from observers seem to imply that the pastor is naive, uninformed, and almost recklessly backward in his thinking. Yet Rev. Miller IS addressing an increasingly important issue that is wrecking homes, marriages, family units, and the lives of innocent children.
The online reality of the Internet has accelerated the access, ease, and sophistication with which adultery is able to occur. Chat rooms, message boards, instant message systems and, most recently, social networks all allow for secrecy in planning, communication, and execution of plans for physical intimacy that was much more difficult to achieve back in bygone eras.
The problem for the pastor is that if his staff is engaged in this behavior, his church will become the laughingstock of his community.
The larger problem is that if Rev. Miller views his church as representing God's work in the community around him, he is actually allowing for the defamation of the Almighty by not doing something to stop it.
But banning Facebook is ridiculous, and will not achieve the ultimately desired outcomes.
Character is known by actions. Reputation is determined by behavior. And adultery is always something that resides in the heart long before it happens between the sheets.
Pastor Miller is no doubt frustrated by the lack of seriousness towards the institution of -- and the fidelity towards, the current state of marriage.
But the place to begin the reform is in the hearts of the people he leads on his staff, and pastors from the pulpits.
Redemptive reformation must be at work in the heart of a person, before that person's moral character can ever be hammered into conformity.
I empathize with Pastor Miller, though I will never encourage the "banning" of Facebook.
But I stand with him in the reality that watching the American family being torn apart is still one of the biggest and most painful realities of American life, and for his willingness to attempt to do something about it, I offer him my thanks!
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "The Kevin McCullough Show" weekdays (7-9am EST) & "Baldwin/McCullough Radio" Saturdays (9-11pm EST) on 215 stations & Sirius/XM. His new book from Thomas Nelson Publishers, "No He Can't" hits streets March 2011.