In the Black Church, especially in the Church of God in Christ (C.O.G.I.C.), Black Church leaders have to gain a more sophisticated understanding of Facebook. You cannot lead your congregations based on assumptions or limited knowledge about phenomena. Black Church leaders in general have demonstrated little to no real understanding about how Facebook works, what it really is, and the great opportunities and enjoyment that it offers its users. I want everyone to know that I am a strong supporter of Black Church leaders. I am a product of the Black Church and the Black Church has been and is instrumental in helping me to be the person I am today. My pastor is a Black Church leader. I want people to know, therefore, that this article is not in any way a hateful piece directed at the Black Church and Black Church leaders. What this article does is offer a critique of some Black Church leaders that might spur important discourses, which ultimately can ameliorate the state of the Black Church and Black Church leaders on the issues discussed in this piece.
While I don’t think people should put all of their personal information and business on Facebook and other related sites, I do think Facebook can be used as a positive and creative vehicle for expressing how one feels and it allows one to be able to keep his or her personal salvation that has been granted by God. It is better for people to blow off some steam by saying something through a Facebook status than to go out and blow off steam in ways that can be destructive, resulting in some harmful sins. When you spend too much time on Facebook, this is when you might need to be concerned about how it is affecting your personal relationship with God.
However, for those Black Church leaders who say that it is a sin to be on Facebook, you are completely wrong. For those Black Church leaders who say that Facebook is demonic, you are completely wrong. For those Black Church leaders who say that iPods and iPhones are demonic, you are completely wrong too. What Black Church leaders must understand is it is not these things that make people do terrible or sinful things, it is the people who do terrible or sinful things. Don’t blame these things on the sins people commit.
You cannot take one or more Facebook statuses of a person and try to demonize him or her for what he or she says. Therefore, when you go and report what someone has said on his or her statuses to the pastor of the church, you need to provide him or her with more evidence that suggests that this person is really in need of serious prayer. You should not be reporting stuff to your pastor just to attempt to point out some flaws about a person. Would you like your flaws to be reported to your pastor each time your flaws are exposed?
I have noticed that in the Black Church issues like Hip-Hop music and culture, contemporary fashion, attending movie theaters, women wearing pants, homosexuality, masturbation, pornography, and other issues are addressed with little depth, often reduced to a single scripture. We must be more sophisticated than this Black Church leaders!
For those Black Church leaders who don’t know, people can play games on Facebook like Family Feud, Café World, Baking Life, Farmville, and etc. What’s so harmful about that? What so sinful about that? If people are chatting on Facebook, they are chatting with people who they know in some way, especially if they are only accepting people as friends who they really know. What’s so sinful about that? Why is more scrutiny placed on Facebook’s chatting function than the basic telephone? If it is so sinful to chat on Facebook, then it should be just as sinful to chat on the telephone, right?
I strongly encourage Black Church leaders to get more knowledge about Facebook before making any poor judgments about it. Just because Facebook has so many users, many of those users are Black Church members, should not automatically qualify it as something evil. I know after writing this article many people are going to be angry with me, and some Black Church leaders are going to say, “That boy needs serious prayer and he has some demons in him.” My response is, “You are supposed to be praying for me anyway.” Lol!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison