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I wonder if Jesus Christ ever feels like Gumby, the way so many people stretch him out to wear as a chastity belt.
I watched Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s interview with The Rock Church where he declared that he and new girlfriend Ciara are choosing to be celibate at this stage of their relationship. As others celebrated his rationale, his remarks made me cringe. While some of have questioned the legitimacy and timing of their romance, Wilson was open and quite candid about his feelings, explaining, “I met this girl named Ciara who is the most beautiful woman in the world. She is the most kind person, the most engaging person, everything I could ever want.”
At that point, I was very “talk your shit, playboy,” but then my patriarchy alarm quickly went off, and with it, my enthusiasm level proceeded to plummet.
Wilson continued: “I’ll never forget she was on tour and I was looking at her in the mirror, sitting in her dressing room and God spoke to me and said, ‘I need you to lead her.’ So I told her right then and there, ‘What would you do if we took all that extra stuff off the table and do it Jesus’ way?’”
By “extra stuff” he meant sex, and went on to note, “If you could love someone without that, you can really love someone.” Sure, but that doesn’t make a relationship any stronger, valid, or more likely to be successful. It also doesn’t make the love of two sexually-engaged adults any less significant than those who are abstaining. This language might’ve worked well in the room Wilson sat in, but his logic comes across as flimsy to many of us standing outside of it.
There are benefits to celibacy. If you would like to avoid the complications that come with sex for a little while, by all means, put your taint on ice. If you’re against casual sex—in perpetuity or momentarily—I totally understand. If your penis is on the mend and you need to see what’s what with a doctor and need to relax, relate, and not release? Cool. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
These are all valid reasons to be chaste, but when you invoke Christ and the Bible, you’re citing scripture that often categorizes women as second class and “impure” whenever sexualized. So when I hear Wilson say he wants to “lead” her, I’m curious as to where exactly he’s taking her? Even when it comes to the notion of “God’s way”—and by that, he means no sex before marriage—what happens when you’ve already been married and subsequently divorced like Russell Wilson?
I admire two very sexy individuals forgoing sex to purportedly strengthen their relationship—particularly when they have songs like “Ride” in their catalog—but Wilson’s stance sounds pious.
WHERE EXACTLY IS RUSSELL WILSON “LEADING” CIARA AND WHY DOES HE ASSUME SHE NEEDS TO BE LED, ANYWAY?
All too often we are told to respect everyone’s beliefs, notably if they are packaged as part of one’s religion. However, rarely are we encouraged to challenge’s one’s views if they are perceived to come at the expense of someone else. Folks are free to believe as they please, but when they interject the name of their God and the dogma behind it, they should be challenged—especially when said those views are dated, sexist, and in many respects, guilty of selective reading and interpretation.
As someone who lives outside the margins of the majority, I know how easy it is for people to deflect their biases and prejudices under the shroud of religion.
The way select Christians romanticize “biblical marriage” is similar to what Wilson does here with chastity. “biblical marriage” means multiple things including: polygamy; woman as property; a widow marrying her dead husband’s brother; a soldier marrying his prisoner of war; a man being permitted to maintain concubines; a rapist marrying his victim. The “nuclear family” is what many people speak to when decrying the virtues of “biblical marriage,” but that single book provides several definitions.
Not surprisingly, many of these now perceived archaic forms of marriage are rooted in subjugation. It may be an inconvenient truth to some, but arguing for chastity in the name of doing it “Jesus’ way” is just another incarnation of that bad habit. Do whatever you want, but be very careful about saying you are doing it as God intended to because that can mean so many things as evidenced by the very book in which Wilson claims to base his views on. Then again, there is the common theme among them all: policing a woman’s sexuality. Apparently Wilson would like to keep that one going.
Where exactly is Russell Wilson “leading” Ciara again? Why does he assume she needs to be led anyway? And what is he trying to imply about those who don’t follow suit? That their love is not as pristine? This is comically immature and I’d let Wilson's choice simply be his had he not shared this publicly with the insinuation that he and Ciara are providing the public with a much-needed example of how things ought to be done.
There are plenty people of God-fearing people who have evolved from the paternalistic guide to love and sex as found in the Bible. We’re no longer marrying our slaves and captives, too, Russell. Or in his case, we're even getting divorces now. If God sent a direct message to him, hallelujah. He doesn't have to make love to Ciara, but he shouldn't be trying to moralize the rest of us about it either.