“And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Shakespeare is right, these days reason and love have very little in common. According to Hollywood, love is a skyrocket that soars brightly and then explodes. “Ooo, ahh, bang. Now what?”
That isn’t love. That’s entertainment.
The Greeks taught five aspects of love. Anyone who attends a good church knows the first four: Philos – the love of friendship, Storgy – the love of family, Eros – the exciting feelings of love, and Agape – God’s love for us. What Hollywood, music and television are teaching involves rutting in the backseat of a car. That brings us to the fifth aspect of love.
Maniema: to be mad, to rave, not in one’s right mind, insensate craving.
Mania is not love, it is more accurately “Lust” or “Obsession”. It turns the one “loved” into a possession to be controlled, or stalked like prey. This word is used five times in the New Testament and is translated “to be mad” or “beside yourself”. Being “beside yourself” is a common symptom of schizophrenia.
Television is filled to overflowing with the madness aspect of love, with lust and obsession. One popular theme is revenge, and revenge is just a foster child of lust. The female lead of a very popular sitcom replied to a comment about abstinence by saying, “Yeah, my mom said the same thing about my virginity but I found out it was more fun to take it out of the box and play with it.” The audience cheered.
But that young lady succinctly summed up the view of love shared by the generation of this present darkness. The danger is very real. To paraphrase Proverbs, the eye is one of the gates into the city of your mind, the capital of who you are. What exactly are you letting in? Worse, what are you letting into the minds of your children?
One of the channels available that actually attempts to show real love, is The Hallmark Channel. It does a pretty good job of teaching that love is more like a plant to be nurtured and carefully cultivated than a toy to be played with. One program on The Hallmark Channel that does the best job is Signed Sealed Delivered. In one episode titled The Dark of Night, the fifth aspect of love was illustrated and the result was only pain, destruction and loss. “[Enemy] does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” (John 10:10) By contrast, the light of real love was illustrated before the episode was over.
Maniema is a subject that I will be looking at in coming months. It is the usually the foundation of what the Bible calls “strongholds”. Anyone trying to turn away from alcohol, pornography or gossip knows exactly what a stronghold is.
Reason and love. Jesus Christ hanging on that cross for a ragged sinner is both the reason and the love. And truth be told, an old phart like me, with a long list of forgiven sins, still finds the reason a mystery.
□ If you are a fan of Signed Sealed Delivered, there is a blog devoted to analyzing that program that does a superb job. I do not know if the young lady who does that blog would appreciate an endorsement from here, so, I would suggest that you Google Signed Sealed Delivered Blog and look for the initials A&D.