Study Guide: Solo Mojo

Sunday October 30, 2011 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

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.

Extended Summary:

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.

Reflection Questions:

  1. As a group, share stories of people being insensitive to single people. What have you heard/seen? How does that line up with what Greg preached?
  2. What are some examples in pop culture (tv, movies, music, etc…) that reinforce non-Kingdom perspectives about finding fulfillment in relationships?
  3. What do you think of the idea that we all need companionship outside of marriage? How might these relationships strengthen a marriage? How do single people fit into those relationships?
  4. What are some concrete ways that you can support single people in embracing their gift? How might your group embrace single people in new ways?