Archive for the ‘Random Stuff’ Category

Is the end of the world coming Saturday?

Well, I suppose… maybe.

I am sorry that the tone of this will, at times, be a little tongue-in-cheek.  As a rational Christian skeptic, I have a hard time taking faddish, panicky social media input very seriously.

The 2nd coming of Christ and the “Day of the Lord” concepts are very real and very serious and one of the things I long for.  As biblical and theological concepts, I take them super-seriously.  I fodder for memes and radical youtube videos, I can get pretty sarcastic.

Plus, since it is Wednesday, I guess I better publish this pretty quickly, if so.

However, I give little credence to most of the reasons that are being given for 9/23/17 being the date that represents the “Day of The Lord” or “The Rapture” or whichever day you might think is next.

It (whatever “it” might be exactly) might happen Saturday, but I am still planning to be prepared to preach Sunday.

As you examine all of the evidence that is thrown against the wall, please make sure and check basic facts before adding them as weight to one side or another.

Examples: The Temple To Ba’al going up in New York.

The facts seem to be that after Muslim terrorist destroyed an ancient temple in the region of Palmyra, Syria, archeologists in London and New York decided to erect a replica of the archway from that temple.

It seems that the Syrian building itself had been used a Church and as a Mosque over the years, before recently being destroyed.

It also seems that the New York project was scrapped, but the London one was built over a year ago. About a year ago, according to Snopes, the London one was on exhibit for a while in New York.

Clearly a reconstructed temple, even an ancient Ba’al temple (or Bel, according to some) that was finished a year ago probably has little impact on this Saturday as a significant day.

Secondly, evaluate the significance of the events in light of actual scripture.

Remember that there is nothing meaningful about the Gregorian calendar in regards to the Bible. The Bible is a distinctly Jewish book for which the canon was closed before 400 AD.   The Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582. So the numbers 9,23, or 2017 aren’t likely to have special meaning from Jewish or early Christian prophecy, for example.

That being said, the Festival (Feast) of Trumpets has always been a significant time period when talking of the second coming for various reasons.   It is perhaps the only feast that hasn’t had a clear connection in the work of Christ, so it is, in some ways, still waiting to be fulfilled. And, of course, the first event of the second coming is a sounding trumpet.

This year, it looks like the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah) is likely to be near 9/23. Most websites are placing it 9/21-9/22. The 23rd is going to be the Sabbath between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It is the Sabbath of “returning” – taken from the instruction of Hosea 14:2 – to return to the Lord. Yom Kippur is the “Sabbath of Sabbaths” – the 10th day of the 7th month. On this day, the Jewish faith asks God for the forgiveness of sins.

These dates are certainly interesting… and they happen every year and have for , thousands of years. Will the eventual date be in this time period? I think it likely, personally. This year? Maybe. Does this year have any advantage over other years? Not much that I can see.  It would sure be cool!  I am hoping.

So, ignore any references to the Gregorian calendar. Look to the Jewish calendar instead. Intriguing, but not much more, in my mind.

So, what about Rev 12?

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.” Rev 12:1-2

According to some, this is going to be fulfilled astronomically (or actually, since it is what it is, “astrologically” on Saturday.

Well, maybe… kind of.

According to some, Virgo (remember, is a part of the Hellenist Zodiac, not an ancient Jewish one. The Jews later took on aspects of the Hellenist Zodiac, but the Bible does not reference it in any clear way, if at all. In fact, all through the Hebrew Scriptures, people are warned about the dangers of looking for something to worship in the heavens.)

Ok, anyway, Leo will be above Virgo. Leo has (according to astrologers, not astronomers) 9 stars in it and 3 planets. This adds up to 12. Leo is not going to be right above Virgo. If you are looking for something that looks like a crown of 12 stars, forget it.

Also, the sun will move through Virgo (this happens every year – and it why these are the signs of the Zodiac in the first place).

The moon will be beneath Virgo (this happens for 2-3 days every month). Keep in mind that this picture is the constellation “Virgo”.


Where exactly her feet are is a little unclear to me, but (am I going to say this?) I guess we will trust the Astrologists that it is supposed to look like this:




Or this:  


Or maybe this:



The feet aren’t too clear to me, but I am sure they are to God.

So, even if this works out

But also, Jupiter is supposed to be near this time. So, there’s that.

By the way, the last time this happened was 2005. It happens about every 12 years like this.

Sorry. Even in the biblical situation, it is tough for me to take Greek Zodiac stuff seriously.

Is this even what John intended?

Well, since the woman (notice that it is “woman” and not “virgin”) in this passage is pretty likely to be a representation of Israel (remember the dreams of Joseph? 12 stars, moon, sun?) and her giving birth to a son is likely to be John seeing the Messiah fulfillment playing out… in Jesus… Israel giving birth to the promised Christ.

But does the next section sound like a continuation of Astrology?

And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rev 12:3-9

If this is a passage about astrological signs, then how does Draco play into the stars on the 23rd? Or maybe this is a creative, revelatory way to tell the narrative of the Messiah come to save the world.

It could possibly be both, that happens in prophecy, but again, I am certainly not convinced. I think this is that narrative and likely not meant to be connected to the Greek Zodiac. By the way, I cannot, by any stretch, see any reason why Jupiter being in the vicinity of Virgo would have anything to do the Revelation 12 vision.

I think making the connection to Jupiter is stereotypical Astrological claptrap. Find something, give it false significance and then be amazed at how uncommon this mixture of events is – these arbitrarily connected events, mind you.

What about things from Newspaper headlines?

Crazy Tyrant likely to disrupt the world?




These are not special to our day nor our era. They only seem to be worse because of the attention they get.

Tyrants. Not news. Proof of the continuing failure of humanism, but not a new problem.

Remember how these stars and planets lined up in 2005? Well, that was also the worst year for hurricanes, not 2017 (at least not yet) with 15 hurricanes!

The 1960’s saw the two worst Earthquakes in history.

If you define racism by the USA terms and make it a black-white thing (there has been much more deadly racism in the world, but just looking at the US examples), the post-Civil War era was filled with terror and murder. Look up 1919 and racism, if you want a tough one. Civil Rights, Jim Crow, much less Antebellum Slavery itself! I think we have seen worse expressions of racism.

Plus, with the exceptions of earthquakes, these aren’t listed as signs anyway.

It is always dangerous to think that the cataclysms of our own time are worse than those of the past. Often, they aren’t at all. We are just ignorant.

Finally, if you are a Christian… please keep this little tidbit in mind… the Day of the Lord, no matter what shape it takes is Good news!

Hello? If you are a Christian, no more doubts… the fulfillment of all we have worked and waited for? Please never again respond to the possibility of prophetic fulfillment with anything other than excitement and joy. Prophecy is there to give us comfort, not panic. Prepare reasonably for the future, but don’t fear the finality of it.  This is about Jesus, after all.

Will Jesus come back or the tribulation start or a rapture happen on Saturday? If it proves the prophecies of John correct, I hope so.

Even so, Lord, come quickly!

Now, I gotta get back to finishing a sermon before Sunday! Starting on Judges, BTW.  You will be able to find them at our church website soon.


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This next Wednesday, November the 9th, FBC and Alethia Family Counseling will host two short seminars for adults – moms, dads, grandparents, teachers and others –

We will be in the Great Room at FBC South Campus (just south of the new loop) at 9:30am (hoping that is convenient for parents who drop off kids at school and can make it then) and again at 6:30 that evening in the same location.

Do not hesitate to reach out to either the church or Alethia.


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Family Time

Psalms 118:24

“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

I remember as a kid wandering around the neighborhood with other kids, all of us dressed in costumes, and going house to house greeting neighbors I rarely saw at other times… usually parents would come along – mine always did.  I would guess that it was the only time that our neighborhood gathered or united together for anything in a typical year.

I also remember when due to a combination of fearful Christian teachings and the rumors of reports (which turned out to be false, as I understand it*) of people poisoning candy and putting razors in apples, we stopped trick-or-treating for a few years. *http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/halloween.asp

Over the years, I consistently heard the Christian teaching on Halloween become more isolationist.  I heard about how Halloween was “The Devil’s Day” (or even the Devil’s Birthday!) when pagan Druids did evil things and that Christians should essentially avoid doing anything on that day that would smack of a Halloween celebration.  What did we have to do with the celebration of witches, ghosts, goblins, and candy corn (especially the ones with the brown layer made especially for Halloween), on the Devil’s Birthday, anyway?

So, the evangelicals generally boycotted Halloween for what seemed like at least a decade. Some still do.

In the last decade, there have been some changes.  Now, many of our churches are hosting “Fall Festivals” that happen to fall on the same weekend as Halloween and have lots of candy (ironic, since the pagans celebrated what would loosely be a “harvest” or “fall” festival and “Hallowe’en” (“All Hallowed Day’s Evening”) was the Christian name for the celebration).  At least, we seem to see this as our token capitulation – if the kids are going to be doing bad things in Satan’s name, we can at least give them a righteous version of that event… or at best,  perhaps we are just doing what our ancestors did:  throwing a bigger and better party than the pagans.

In my extensive and maybe exhausting (not an accident) discussion of the history of Halloween and other holidays (https://chrismlegg.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/historical-understanding-of-halloween/) I reference how so many of the pagan practices have been absorbed in our celebrations of Easter, Christmas, and Halloween… but that is not actually precisely what I really believe.  It happened for sure, but something else happened first.  The thing that happened first was that the pagans tried to absorb some the good things of God’s creation!

I believe that God created everything… first… and still owns everything.

I believe that God, not druids, created evergreen trees to be green all year long.

I believe that God, not pagans, created bunnies, eggs, and bright colors.

I believe that God, not witches, created pumpkins, harvest, and children having fun.

I think it is error for us to abdicate ANYTHING to Satan.  Just because some of his representatives throughout time have tried to take control of some of the things God, in His artistic brilliance, designed and brought into creation, doesn’t mean they get to own it!

October 31st, this year, and every year, is a day the Lord has made.  I think we should rejoice and be glad in it.  Satan doesn’t get a day.  He didn’t make one, and though he may be the governor of Earth at some level at this time (a discussion for another day), he created none of it.

Of course, as a family, we have some boundaries about what our kids can dress as… but that is not primarily about us thinking that it is inherently evil for them to dress as mythical or even pagan symbols… since they come up with some pretty crazy things in their own imaginations.  Plus, if we really examine it, our standards are pretty cultural, not moral (we would probably say no to an axe murderer costume, but not to a Darth Vader costume… no to a witch, but not to an Egyptian princess (who I assume would have have been a polytheistic pagan too))   I recognize and accept the tough line being drawn there…  Honestly, I prefer them to dress up (and this is in regards my children, who often dress up to some degree almost every single day!  As I mentioned in the Phalanx, my eldest son wore a cape for 2 years! http://phalanxmen.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/phalanx-introduction-2/) as people or ideals that we can find something honorable or admirable in them to appreciate (Phil 4:8)… like heroes, princesses, and race car drivers (ok, so that last one is a stretch 😉

None of this is about denial – I believe that evil spirits and devils exist… as well as axe murders, hippies in too-short skirts or French maids, but we do avoid glamorizing such things with our children.  These are icons that communicate something.  It isn’t fear that causes me to avoid them, but I want my children to think of Holiness and modesty as not flippant topics.  Man, being a parent can be tough, can’t it?

…but primarily these choices end up being about appropriate dress (modesty), not too scary for other kids (compassion), not ‘gilding’ something that has nothing good in it… and of course, we make an attempt at avoiding offending… based on the Romans 14 mindset.

So much about the grace filled life is about motivation and the heart behind something.  The kids design faces and we carve pumpkins pretty much every year, and some years the kids pick scary faces.  We are not trying to scare off evil spirits (we count on our Savior and His hosts for that), or celebrate something evil.  We just enjoy goopy, messy, creative fun with dad.

Great evidence of the truth that this day is not somehow owned by Satan, is that almost 500 years ago, on this date in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church.  Though the Christian reformation had been ongoing for many years, this date marks whenthe Protestant Reformation was finally fanned into a rolling flame.  God’s Day, not Satan’s.

So, my vote is that Christians don’t bunker up or hunker down with their dark porches and hide behind the couches on the “Devil’s Day”  with crucifixes in hand and the guns loaded.

I vote we have fun and celebrate as only people with new life, abundant life, and eternal life, can.

Celebrate this day as others – it is good as a reminder of the lives and deaths of Christian Martyrs, many of whom will likely die on this day again this year, as on every other day of the year (www.persecution.com)!  Thank God for His faithfulness.  Have fun with your neighbors on typically the one day that neighbors join together on something anymore – make the most of it!  Meet them, greet them and invite them back for dessert and love them in the name of Jesus Christ… and love their little witches, axe murderers and even Power Rangers who come knocking at your door.

But that’s just my opinion.

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I think this will be of great value to anyone regardless of what the holidays mean for you!



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As a well known serious Star Wars fan, I am getting a lot of questions about my opinions about Ep VII.

After watching it 3 times in two days a (and a 4th since), I have determined that it is, in fact, a Star Wars movie.

It feels Star Wars, looks, smells, and pretty much sounds like it.

I agree that maybe Abrams and Kasdan over-did the mirroring of Ep IV plot line. However, I am so thankful that they did it at all, though, that I can forgive that perhaps they over-did it.

I don’t think it is fair for those of us who were children when 4-6 came out to look for the same feelings we had back then. We aren’t children anymore. However, even for today’s children, we cannot hope for the same experience.

Until we saw A New Hope, our best Sci-Fi involved a cardboard Enterprise Star-Trek-gallery-enterprise-original-0085riding a string toward the camera and Claymation aliens. Today’s kids have seen “The Avengers” and other well-written stories with brilliant special effects. I know that hoping for them to experience our wonder at a movie is likely just nostalgia now.

However, I was hoping for my kids to get to experience a Star Wars movie – preferably untouched by George Lucas when he has no accountability or controls over him.

In my only real critique at this point, I am super-frustrated with the poor handling of the grieving of Han Solo. I almost expect a cut scene to show it… but Chewbacca walks right past Leia in the immediate aftermath of Han’s death? I don’t think so. Epic error that I am sure they will hear about. No memorial for one of the legends of the rebellion? Of course, there are at least two more movies to make this right. To quote Snoke, “We shall see.”

Of course there are other details I could pick on, but that is true of any movie I think I have ever seen. My hope wasn’t that it would be the perfect movie… but that it would be good and be a Star Wars movie.

However, one of my favorite aspects I already love: in true Abrams fashion, he left us with an excellent mystery that will keep us guessing and writing for the next 2 years.

He left us with Maz’s question: “Who is the girl?”

In other words:

What is Rey’s real last name?

It seems obvious that someone hid Rey on a desert planet to keep her out of the hands of those who might control her.

  1. Skywalker – she is the daughter of Luke Skywalker and some unknown mother.

Making the case:

* R2D2 comes back to full power when she sets foot on the same planet.

* She is a naturally gifted at mechanics (young Anakin), a super-naturally gifted pilot (older Anakin) and a quick study on the lightsaber (Luke).

* Maz insists that she gets the light saber (and says it “called to her.”)

* Maz references her finding what she has lost by recovering Luke.

* The light saber comes to her.

* This series of movies is about the Skywalker family (but this works for being a child of Leia too).

* This overcomes the difficulties with Han and Leia seeming either ignorant of her identity or weirdly not letting it be known. Granted, Han and/or Luke could have lied to Leia about Rey dying at birth or something and then hidden her.

* Her clothing matches Luke’s from IV.

Solo – she is the daughter of Han Solo and Leia Organa (presumably the fraternal twin of Ky Lo Ren)

Making the case:

* This would follow the pattern of the original with twins and allow for brother-sister interactions later.

* Ky Lo seems to engage with her in an odd way – like he is related to her. Their whole interaction feels brother-sister.

* There are a lot of “proud papa” looks and interactions from Han.

* Ky Lo references Han as the “father she never had.”

* Maz asks Han who she is and we cut away at that time.

* This keeps Luke from having a mystery-lover.

* Her clothing at the end matches Han’s… and her blaster is slung low, like his.

Kenobi – she is the granddaughter of Obi Wan Kenobi

Making the case:

* This would be a curve ball and that would be cool. I have nothing else.

She is a grandchild of Qui Gon Jinn

Making the case:

I cannot and will not since this would lend authenticity to Ep 1-3 which VII certainly did not do in ANY way. Also, who? That person doesn’t exist.

She is another immaculate Midichlorians child.

Don’t even think about it.

Another likely idea:

She is Luke’s child by an unknown mother (so far) and he is unaware of her existence. The mother hid her away to keep her from “following old [Luke] on some damn idealistic crusade”, so to speak. They could have chosen a nicer care-taker, though. Where is Aunt Beru when you need her?

ob_adffb7_star-wars-7-le-reveil-de-la-forceFurther Commentary:

One of the coolest things about Episode VII that sets it apart from Ep 1-3 (which I only acknowledge in criticism) is that I am already intrigued and looking forward to getting to know these characters more. Each of them are interesting and three-dimensional. I really want to know who Rey’s parents are.

One of my friends, who is a decade younger than me, already said “I am excited about the next one.” This is the pain I miss – waiting TWO WHOLE YEARS to find out what happens next! Maybe this is a little like hazing – wanting people to suffer as I did as a pre-teen… but it sure beats just hoping that the next one doesn’t stink as bad as the last one.

After 4 viewings, and listening to the soundtrack (loving anything with Rey’s theme in it especially), I find my affection for the movie continuing to grow.

Now you can chatter, Red 2… anything to add, Wedge?

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Is Barack Obama a Christian?

Much has been made in the last few days as to whether Barack Obama is a Christian.

As seems to almost always be the case, the media assumes (maybe rightly) that we have way too short an attention span to look at questions like these with any depth or intelligence.

I will risk it… though even this is a radical oversimplification.

The reason this debate is ongoing is essentially the same as the debate as to why Obama has said regularly that ISIS and other Muslim groups are NOT Muslims.

Here is the distinction that I think he is making is that he seems to distinguish between: people who have a real “faith”, as he understands it, and “radicals” – meaning people who think of god as a “God” (meaning the driving and ultimate purpose of their lives).

This is why he makes the distinction between Muslims and “radicals” or “extremists.”

Here is one of the great challenges for Evangelicals is that we seem to think that what we mean when we say “Christian” is the same thing as what other people mean.

Just last week, in Womenary (www.Womenary.com), in our study of Ecclesiology (the Study of the Church), we talked about this very topic.

In addition to conservative and other more traditional understandings of Christianity, there are a few other major segments of those who call themselves “Christian.”

One of the is under the heading of “Liberal” theology.

Before you connect that to the political stance of liberalism, remember that the “ “traditional” understanding of “liberal” is to move away from the “traditional” view or the status quo and toward something new-er. In politics, that is not really true anymore, but in theology, it still is.

For our conversation, we will look at the one that matters most here:

Liberation Theology.

The basic teaching of liberation theology is that the Christian life is defined by praxis (practice) over “Doxy”(praise).

ccIn this movement, what unites Christians is not our common belief in Christ, or our common confession or even our common creeds, but our common practice in trying to create social justice. In fact, this theological view is often referred to as a “Social Justice” movement.

Between their interpretations of the writings of the Hebrew scriptures, especially the prophets, and some of the teachings of Christ about the poor, this movement believes that the key tenets of Christianity are not about a personal relationship with a savior but about a movement that holds that social unrest is needed to make needed changes in societies and among peoples who have been mistreated under colonialism, slavery, and oppression. (How is that for a sentence, by the way?)

In the United States, a common version of this is what is called “Black Liberation Theology.” It has the same tenets, but while the movement originated in South and Central America, in the US, it is primarily about the social injustice African Americans have faced in the United States. There is also the “Feminist Liberation Theology” movement.

It seems evident to me that in this movement, social justice is not a result of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.   I hope that is a way of saying it that those within the movement would be able to approve of and hopefully, embrace.

Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, where Barack Obama learned the version of Christianity that he claims, is a part of this movement.

Of course Barack Obama is a Christian, as he defines it.

What creates confusion is that many do not define it in a similar way.

Back to ISIS (and other terrorist groups), of course they are Muslim… in the way that they define Islam.

Others, like the President, would say that what they believe is not real Islam – though even conservative numbers would indicate approximately 19% of Muslims worldwide are “radicalized” and, it seems, would also not be “Muslim” by the President’s definition… but this is a side point I am making and I should get to it.


Some in the Christian world have labeled “Liberation Theology” as too different in its tenets to be considered Christian.

Richard Niebuhr (PhD Yale. Leading Christian theological ethicist) once described this theological stance as the view that “A God without wrath brought man without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the administrations of Christ without a cross.” The Kingdom of God in America (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959).

Obviously, Barack Obama and most within that movement might disagree.  I would assume they would prefer to distance themselves from what I would define as Christianity as well.

For all Christians, clearly, the work of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth involves the amazing work around the world of Christians taking care of “The least of these” (Matt 25), the good works cannot replace the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. And these works do happen. Anywhere in the world, where people are hurting or in need, there are those ministering to them, often at great personal risk, in the Name of Jesus Christ.

However, Jesus did not die just to make us better people, or merely to live as an example, or to rescue us only from the sins of others against us, but to save us from the consequences of our own sin – righteous judgment and death… and that Jesus Christ is the only sure path of salvation.

I suspect that within a few years, this theological stance will also be seen as “radical” or “extreme” because of its exclusory nature.

Sorry, this has already gone longer than I intended.

I personally believe that what is common about Christianity is our confession and faith in the work of Jesus Christ… aka, the gospel. I do believe that typically, any removal of this as the central tenet of Christianity ceases to be Christianity as its founder, Jesus Christ, intended.

I could never and would never make a judgment on the personal relationship that any other individual has with Jesus Christ. I think it is clearly not my job to separate wheat and tares (Matt 13). I am comfortable saying that I believe that many of his actions and stated beliefs are at odds with Christian belief as I understand it.

As a pure opinion, I suspect that, as many in the Social Justice movement seem to, he most accurately would be obama-12-4-08-2described as a postmodern humanist who, to the degree he worships anything, worships hope and change as concepts… and maybe even as the gospel itself. However, even that is based on a view of him so greatly filtered through media that I am honestly hesitant.

What I do know is that I pray for him regularly, as all Christians, I believe, would be right to do. (I Timothy 2:1) May God guide and lead him. May God bless our country and our country learn to bless God.

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what does this mean?

The Five Loves


How wise of you to be researching love.

Few things in life are more important than true love (“except maybe for a nice MLT: mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich…”)…

I am no Greek scholar, but I am passing on what I have been taught and what I understand about these words and concepts.  I also wanted to make sure that this discussion allows you to get some insight into how to apply this understanding to your life.

So when someone says “I love you,” you can try to figure out what they mean!

Especially what it means that GOD loves you… and God does love you, by the way.

Language can tell you a great deal about a culture and that culture’s priorities – the Inuit (Eskimos) are said to have nearly thirty words for “ice” which describe various colors, textures, and uses, among other things (I don’t know if this is true or not, by the way).

Any group of adults in the U.S. can probably come up with that many words for money. However, we tend to use the same word to describe many different aspects of another concept: love.  We love our mothers, pizza, baseball, spouses and children, all the time using the same word to describe these relationships!  The one word:  love, cannot be meant the same way in all these situations.  To avoid confusion, let’s look at some Greek words that distinguished between some of the very different situations.

1.  Mania – Manic love is almost not a love at all.  The word “lust” is probably not strong enough – “obsession” is closer to the word.  This is the love of possession.  I “mania” that which I obsessively desire to own.

It is generally seen as taking over the “lover” like insanity – thus the connection to modern concepts of madness (kleptomania, pyromania).  It is like the opposite of a phobia (an obsessive need to avoid something). “Mania” is translated as “madness” and “beside yourself” in Acts 2.

2.  Eros – Eros is obviously the root word for “erotic,” but it does not describe sexual love only, it actually describes all emotional love; the feeling of love.  Eros love is that insatiable desire to be near the target of this love – the exciting, passionate, nervous feelings that sweep over people in the appropriate circumstances.

This is the love that says “I love how you make me feel.”  As an emotion, Eros changes, sometimes suddenly.  Remember that it is entirely based on circumstances, the interoperation of circumstances, and on the target of its emotion.  As an emotion, alone, it is morally neutral, however, it can just as easily lead to lust (sinful desire) as it can passion or romance.

It is also a good picture to think of Eros as the fruit and flowers of a new relationship.  Eros is not a bad thing, but it is also not a “good” thing. The word Eros does not appear in the Bible.  I have some more thoughts on the way “eros” thinking affects our interaction with sex and intimacy at eros and sexuality.

3.  Philos – Philos love, or brotherly/friendship love, is the next kind we will look at.  Philos describes the love between two people who have common interests and experiences, or a fondness for.

Hemophiliacs apparently seemed to ancient doctors to have a “fondness” to bleeding, for example.  Unlike Eros, which pulses up and down like waves on the ocean, Philos steadily grows, like a building being constructed stone by stone.  For this reason, when close friends are separated for a while and reunited, they will often say “it is like we picked up exactly where we left off.”

Philos is half about the circumstances, and half about the commitment of two people to one another; it says “I love who we are together,” or in case of a non person:  “I am fond of this food.”  Philos love generally grows over time except in the case of some kind of betrayal.  It is commonly used in the New Testament, as in Matt. 10:37, John 12:25, and Revelation 3:19.

4.  Storgy (or “storge“)– We will not spend much time here; storgy is the love one has for a dependent.  It is commonly called “motherly love.”  It is entirely based on the relationship between the “lover” and the “lovee.”

When the dependent is no longer dependent, this love remains only in its emotional remnants.  It is one of the stronger loves, because it involves a commitment that relies on only one trait of the receiver – that he or she is dependent.   This type of love is toxic to a marriage under normal circumstances.

Marriages that look more like a mother/son or father/daughter relationship is moving quickly downhill.

5.  Agapeo – Agape love is the final of the five loves we look at here.  Agape love is entirely about the lover and their virtue, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the one loved.

Agape love, in its purest form, requires no payment or favor in response.

The most common word for God’s love for us is Agape (I John, John 3:16) and the love we are commanded to have for one another (Matt. 5:44, I Cor. 13).  This lack of input from the recipient makes it possible for us to love our enemies even though we may not like them or the situation they have put us in – because Agape love is not in any way dependent on circumstances; it says “I love you because I choose/commit to.”

Unlike eros or philos, Agape creates a straight line that neither fades or grows (!) in its perfect form (which of course only exists from God outward)  Oddly enough, even though many people marry out of eros love alone, they make vows that speak of commitment despite any circumstance:  richer/poorer, better/worse, sickness/health.  This kind of love is about a commitment to the very best for another, no matter what emotions or feelings exist!

You can see why in the King James Version of the Bible, Agape was usually translated as “charity.”  It is a love freely given, and freely committed to.  For a more in depth look at its aspects, look at I Corinthians chapter 13.



I think in America, especially among Christian young people, when a couple talks about “loving” one another they may not really be talking about any of these!  It is an interesting phenomenon that Christian couples in particular are hesitant to say “I love you” in a relationship – even after months of dating.

Which love are they slow to express?

Eros? of course they feel it off and on;

Philos? If they have dated months they surely are loyal friends;

Agapeo? Since Christ calls us to Agape our enemies, surely a dating couple “desires God’s best” for one another.

I think the question is actually more “devotion” and less “love.”  What they are hesitating to say is “I devote my foreseeable future to you,” maybe even “I am not ready to separate you too far from the crowd in my Agape for you.”  Taking into account the admonition to “guard” our hearts in scripture, I think waiting to commit to this devotion is probably wise, but we may have unwittingly created yet another meaning! I also regularly hear from a spouse who is no longer “in love” with or has ceased to “love” their spouse.

What do they mean, exactly?  It is hard to tell.  It seems like most of the time they mean that they are not feeling eros love at the moment.

A great analogy is to think of these loves as similar to a garden (see the short article on marriage)… Agapeo is like the soil.  It can be tended, replaced, and remember, “tis better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.” – (A. Tennyson “In Memorium”).

For a fantastic and more in-depth discussion of this concept, please let me recommend  The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.

For more good news about God’s love for us, check also a very short and simple way of understanding the good news of Jesus

Chris Legg

If you like to read more about theological questions, there are quite a few articles on this website. Look in the “Theological Questions” section for much more about baptism , whether God allows us to face more than we can bear, and creationism … and more.

or therapy articles like: how much time should spouses send together?, a conversation on anxiety … and more.

Historical and opinion pieces like: religion halloween and I also answer questions of advice that get posed to me… like about marijuana and even tattoos There is also a search option over to your right to look for all kinds of stuff.


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