The singer Ciara tweeted that her single women fans should #LevelUp and find a husband to marry. Ciara received a backlash for what she said about singles while presenting marriage as the most perfect thing in the world. The pastor’s sermon that she shared also highlighted marriage as ultimate goal in life. Ciara and Pastor Gray demonstrated the dangers of the church and of society by both idolizing marriage while shaming singles for not being married.
Ciara, Pastor Gray, And The Idolization Of Marriage
Singles continue to be shamed if they are not dating or they are not looking to get married. This is a problem. Ciara has been shown with the back lash against her that marriage is not as wonderful as she claims and that people actually enjoy being single. Ciara and Pastor Gray should know that there are many benefits to being single. Pastor John Gray, in particular, needs to know that Scripture supports singleness. Ultimately, both Ciara and Pastor Gray are wrong for idolizing and idealizing marriage into something that it is not. Marriage is an earthly institution, not a heavenly one.
Ciara is responsible for the fault of single shaming single women and singles. Ciara telling single women to #LevelUp, to find a husband, and to get married is both demeaning and hurtful to single women. It assumes that the best life comes from romantic relationships and from marrying someone. Ciara has fallen for Hollywood’s and the music industry’s sugar coated myth that romance, love, and marriage are everything that there is in life. Love conquers all. Love completes all. Love is wonderful. Single women do not need to have the spirit of girlfriend, whatever that really means, or date and get married to have a good life. Single women are not culpable for anything. Ciara is responsible for forcing her single fans to feel ashamed of themselves for not being married.
Pastor John Gray is responsible for idolizing marriage into something that it simply is not in Scripture. He explains, with a very bizarre exegesis, from Proverbs 18:22 to mean “You’re not a wife when I marry you, you’re a wife when I find you.” Besides forcing on women the belief that once they find someone that it will mean that they are a wife, Pastor John Gray is confronted with a couple of theological problems from Scripture. According to his interpretation, marriage becomes everything that people need to pursue when marriage is described as taking away Christians focus off of God. Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians 7 that both marriage and spouse can be made into an idol. Paul, contrary to the women who cheered and applauded in the audience, says to those who are unmarried and who are widowed in 1 Corinthians 7:8 that is good for them to “remain single, as I am.” Add to this that Jesus and Paul were single, it is problematic and contradicts what Pastor Gray is teaching his flock that he is supposed shepherd.
There are three main lessons from this Ciara debacle. First, celebrities from Ann Coulter to Ciara have single shamed their fans and their different audiences. Second, society and culture continue to push marriage as the best thing that a person can find in life when that is not the case. Third, the church needs a theology of singleness since it is in the Bible and has been part of church history to separate itself from culture’s fetish with marriage. However, these three problems will likely continue to remain with us.
Singles should stand up and speak out against single shaming such as this Ciara instance when they are shamed for being single or told that they will not be satisfied in life until they marry. Singles do not need to level up to marriage. Marriage needs to be taken down from its pedestal that it is upon and the single life needs to be recognized as a good life too. Thrive as a single person instead of always being in the pursuit of the next relationship that probably won’t turn into a marriage.