Theologians, using Greek words to argue their case, suggest that there are different kinds of love -- eros, or romantic love; filial, or brotherly love, and agape, or self-sacrificing, all-embracing, unconditional love.
On Valentine's Day, our culture naturally tends to focus on romantic love -- an important, even necessary, emotion and condition.
But when holy writ speaks of love, it more often has agape love in mind. So today I want to complicate your thinking about love by offering you some key passages of the so-called love chapter from the New Testament, I Corinthians 13. But I want to use not an old, traditional translations. Rather, I will be using a new translation I like called The Voice New Testament.
I'll give you verses 4 through 8(a):
Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t
envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about.
There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude,
crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed.
Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally
wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—
yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up
with anything and everything that comes
along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter
what. Love will never become obsolete.
And what religion wants to tell us is that in the way described in this passage by the Apostle Paul, we are God's beloved. Imagine that.
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P.S.: KEYSTONE, COLO. -- I'm here in Colorado for a few days preparing for this seminar on forgiveness that I'll co-teach at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania, so while I'm gone you won't find a second blog item here.
I hope you'll join me at Kirkridge the weekend of April 26-28.