A new phrase has entered our vocabulary: the “Facebook fast.” During such periods of penance, digital fasters will refrain from social media networks like Facebook.

The reasons for this 21st Century discipline vary. Some say, like actress Betty White, that Facebook is a huge time waster. Perhaps others have considered the reports linking heavy Facebook usage to narcissism, depression, lower grades in college, risky behavior in teens, and so forth.

A New Jersey pastor has recently gone a step further. The Reverend Cedric Miller, pastor of the 1,100 member Living Word Christian Fellowship, called for his congregation’s leaders to dump their Facebook accounts. He blames Facebook for the marital problems of 20 couples in his church.

“I’ve been in extended counseling with couples with marital problems because of Facebook for the last year and a half,” Miller said. “What happens is someone from yesterday surfaces, it leads to conversations and there have been physical meet-ups. The temptation is just too great.”

Lending support to the pastor’s abstinence message is a 2008 Pew study showing that 1 in 5 people use Facebook for flirting. Of course, that would mean that 4 in 5 Facebook users are not flirting. But, tell that to Eva Longoria!

So, what do you think? To Facebook or not to Facebook?

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