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Solo Mojo

• Greg Boyd

Singleness is a topic that isn’t discussed very often. In this sermon, Greg talks about the stigma that is attached to single people, especially in churches. He also brings to light how the early church viewed singleness and provides three implications of being single in today’s world.

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Singleness is a topic that isn’t often discussed in church circles, unless you’re a part of a singles ministry. There’s a stigma when a person is single. This stigma makes it seem that something is “off” with the single person. It’s odd that the default of “normal” is married, as 42% of the population is single (43% at Woodland Hills Church), and that this stigma of being single isn’t addressed more in church. In this sermon, we’ll discuss what singleness meant to the church and Jesus.

In the ancient world, singleness was a curse. The prevailing thought was children and family were blessings, so, anyone without children and family was cursed. Yet, Jesus was single his entire life on Earth, he never had children, and he wasn’t cursed. Jesus turned the idea of singleness on its head in the ancient world. It no longer was a curse, but rather, was a gift from God to be embraced by those who can handle it.

Being sexual doesn’t bring fullness to life, yet in our culture today, the exact opposite message is sent. Our culture wants us to believe that being sexual is the most important thing, and that if you’re not sexual, something is wrong. Yet, Jesus never had sex, and he was completely fulfilled in life. In following Jesus, some people will remain single to follow God, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Singleness and celibacy is a gift and should be applauded. Being single frees you up to be devoted to the Lord. This does not mean that single people are to be the workhorse volunteers of ministry. Rather, it means that they aren’t distracted by the work it takes to have a family. Marriages take work. Children take work. Married people use their energy in these relationships. Single people have more energy for other Kingdom relationships, and singleness can be a gift if used correctly.

There are three implications that arise from this discussion. The first is that there is a myth of romantic completeness. The second is that while we need human companionship, we don’t need marriage. The final implication is that our friendships with people in the Kingdom shouldn’t be determined by whether we’re married or not.

There is a myth of romantic completeness that is constantly pushed by our culture. If you’re not in a relationship or married, you are somehow lacking in relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth. A single person can only find completeness in God, and in the same way, a married person finds completeness only in God. When this is understood, we see that our culture’s view of completeness through romanticism is false.

While the deepest longing of our heart can only be met by God, it’s also true that we need human companionship. Yet, this companionship isn’t marriage. The strongest marriages are ones that have deep friendships outside of the marriage, because marriage was designed to lean upon the community around it for support. A single person leans just as much upon that same community. A person fulfills their human companionship through community, not marriage.

Finally, our friendships with people in the Kingdom shouldn’t be determined by whether we’re married or single. We really need to end the whole 3rd, 5th, or 7th wheel thinking. Single friends bring companionship just as much as married friends. Single people are not meant to be matched with other single people. If they want help finding a date, help them find someone. Otherwise, enjoy their company for who they are—complete and full as one of God’s children and your brother or sister.

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Topics: Community, Relationships

Sermon Series: Relatively Speaking


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Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 19:10-12

    10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”

    11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others have been made eunuchs; and others have renounced marriage[a] because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

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14 thoughts on “Solo Mojo

    Kaz says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Thank you as always Greg but a really big thanks for this message… it has been difficult as a divorced lady to ‘fit’ in with church life as much socialising consists of married couples and I have struggled at times to work out where I fit in as one who was married but not anymore. I really needed to hear this message. Much love from a podrishner in the UK 🙂

    Reply
    Felicia says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Greetings brother Greg, thanks for sharing this message since it’s a needed in today’s society especially for those who aren’t married and are single. I’m in my 30’s and it’s always annoying to hear comments from coworkers and even church members where they constantly ask you “when are you getting married”. And thanks for emphasizing that being single is a blessing and also that you don’t need to be married in order to be “complete”…..

    Reply
    kevin says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Yeah i’m having a really good time over here; it is frightfully joyful being single, single with the accompanying celibacy that i find challenging; it is the best gift i ever had. I’m praising God over here:~)

    Reply
    matthew hansen says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Very good sermon as usual. Hit home for us single people in this couple world. Both are beautiful. Unfortunately in western culture its looked down upon if you’re single, people see you as having “issues” or problems if you’re single. Maybe but most of the time no. Some people don’t have as much luck or have different situation.

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    Ryan says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Greg, you have a real talent for talking about issues that seem to slip through the cracks of many churches, even if their as important as issues like this. I personally, am not single, but people close to me are and have really struggled dealing with these kind of bias views. I also LOVE, that you started with such a profound and yet oddly obvious statement: “Jesus himself chose to be single.”

    Reply
    kevin says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Back before i learned to ‘speak the truth in love’, when people inquired as to my “status”, i would say, “my wife was murdered”; that pretty much shut them up:~)

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    Lori says: Tuesday November 1, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Great message! It’s very hurtful to be treated differently because you’re single. To not be included in things because it wouldn’t “look right”, someone might get the “wrong idea”, not because I’m a woman in a predominately male situation, but because I’m a SINGLE woman. Apparently married women are more trustworthy? It’s perfectly fine to include them. I expected more acceptance and common sense from the Christian community.

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    Earline says: Wednesday November 2, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Greg, I am thankful that this subject has been addressed. Lately, several single women have shared with me their discouragement and desires of being single. Recently I had a group of single women come to my house to watch a video by Cheryl Martin, “Encouragement For The Single Life”. I wanted to encourage them to try focusing on their relationship with Christ first and foremost. I also understand their desire to want to be in an relationship which may lead to a family. Most of these women have a strong relationship with Christ but that doesn’t necessarily take away their desire. As I listened to these women, tears flowed and hurt came through their words. This is a deep, emotional problem for many. We must be in prayer for them as Christ leads them in His purpose for their lives. Thanks again.

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    Jeff says: Sunday November 6, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Hey there–

    Just wanted to say that by the end of this sermon I was in tears, shaking, and moved by your words. Have listened to a couple of great sermons in the past but none touched into my life with as much gravity as this.

    Gay, single, Christian… and finding out all the time how difficult it can be. Myself and my companion (for lack of a better term/definition) are choosing celibacy for God and doing quite well. However, we have been met by so many naysayers and so much resistance to our relationship and even just our being friends from other Christians. Had begun to question if I can ever have “family” or close intimate and committed relationships. It’s not giving up sex that’s difficult… it’s the idea of having to give up something so much deeper and more meaningful to you. When you spoke of the gay couple in your church, it floored me to hear a situation that resonated so much with me. And as silly as it might be, the fact that it came from somebody who’s logic and theology I very much respect… well, let’s just say it was a much-needed encouragement.

    We’re still learning and growing and always keeping God first and at the center. But I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do believe that God spoke through you this last week. From quite a few states away– thanks.

    Reply
    Greg Boyd says: Wednesday November 16, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    I’m deeply honored by your words Jeff. I wish you and your companion all God’s blessings as you seek to honor him with your loving friendship.

    Reply

    Pingback: Celebrating Singleness — Project M

    Lore says: Friday December 2, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I’m just catching up on this sermon series and listened last night. I’m 50 and never married. I am not a freak, ha! Seriously, I look just fine and I’m normal (relatively speaking). I’ve been a marriage and family counselor for half of my life and I know how hard marriage is. If anything, I’ve been somewhat of a coward about marriage.

    It’s been hard to not be married. I have actually stopped attending evangelical churches because of how hurtful it is to be treated like a freak or like I’m not even really there – invisible.

    Greg, you put into words what I’ve been having a growing sense of for the past 5 years. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel affirmed, encouraged and supported. Mostly, last night after listening to the sermon, I was able to look back at my life with joy and gratitude for the gift (of singleness) that God has given me. My relationship with Him is what it is today because I have been single. Had I married, I’m sure it would have been good, too, just in a different way, but it would not have been this relationship.

    For me, your sermon almost seemed to be a smile from God to me – a benediction, a blessing on my singleness. For this sermon and so many others – THANK YOU!

    Reply
    Davo says: Friday December 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Hey Greg,

    I really enjoyed your sermon. Thanks for explaining how Jesus was so counter-cultural for his time for not getting married… even to the point of setting the example of singleness… as a preferred lifestyle within the kingdom. I also love that you debunk the myth that any human being will ever ‘fulfill’ you. That ache, that longing, is meant to drive us to Christ! Amen!

    I don’t know that I see eye to eye with you on your example of formerly sexually active same sex couples living together when they now believe that their sexual expression together is sinful. As someone who would identify as a currently celibate, single gay Christian myself, I find it difficult to imagine such a relationship. Let me explain. In my experience, I find that there’s a huge difference between the committed platonic love that I share with my close buddies and the romantic kind that I’ve experienced when finding myself ‘falling’ for someone. I know I personally would be unable to have an intimate romantic relationship without struggling profusely to prevent sex from being the natural expression of that relationship. I don’t believe eroticism begins with sex… for me it can be as simple as holding hands or gazing deeply into one another’s eyes… which begs the question as to where the ‘line’ is anyway? At what point would you call a red flag and veto the relationship as now having gone too far??? As much as I love your willingness to be openminded and think broadly, I question your conclusions from a personal experiential level.

    Perhaps its not so difficult for some same-sex couples to transition their relationship from romantic to platonic, but I sincerely doubt it’d fly in my world. I would challenge straight people to consider what it would look like to imagine the same type of relationship in a hetero sense.. living in committed romantic intimacy with another person while fighting to prevent it from getting sexual. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

    I find that in my interactions with other gay men, I have to maintain the same boundaries and caution that my straight single brothers must respect in their interactions with single women.

    Just a few thoughts! Thanks!
    -David

    Reply
    Greg Boyd says: Tuesday December 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Thanks so much for the honest feedback David. I totally agree with your point about the need for boundaries, and TOTALLY affirm your conviction that this wouldn’t “fly” in “your world.” And the line between platonic and romantic, on the one hand, and romantic and erotic, on the other, is MURKY, on a good day. At the end of the day, one has to be ruthlessly honest with oneself and with others and seek God’s calling as honestly as one can. The only thing that I believe applies to everyone is that one CAN have friendships that are deeply fulfilling, and THAT is something that our culture, steeped as it is in the myth of romantic love, has largely lost.

    Stay true, gb

    Reply

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"We have been podrishioners for several months. Our daughter, son-in-law and grandkids moved back to California after living in MN for 10 years. They attended Woodland Hills for about a year before they moved. Now we all go to the beach together on Thursdays, come home and have dinner together, then we watch last Sunday’s sermon together. It is a special day for our family."

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