I 1) agree with you on one point, 2) disagree with you on one point, and 3) (seemingly) think the original post was about something different than you do.
I will address my points in the order 2, 1, 3:
Re: point 2:
With all due respect—and I mean that literally, not figuratively or as a throwaway line—I think you do NOT know what Augustine meant. I could be wrong but I base that opinion on two statements: In your second post, you wrote “I did not read the things on the link.” In both your first and second posts you wrote that you KNEW what Augustine meant (first post: “Of Course, what the saint meant was . . . .”; second post: “I know what Augustine meant”).
I know that what I am about to write may come across as rather aggressive; that comes from training students to engage in VALID argumentation. Believe me, I do not intend to be inappropriately aggressive, only to push you to support your views.
Really? HOW do you know? Have you read the quotation in context previously? If so, it seems you would have plainly so stated. If you have not, I suggest that your KNOWING is dead wrong.
I have already stated what I believe Augustine meant. I could also be wrong, but at least it is based on a serious wrestling with the text in its context.
I do not believe Augustine’s admonition has anything to do with “liking” or “wanting.” My view--which I posted previously--is further supported by one of the key definitions of “will”:
Merriam Webster says:
used to express determination, insistence, persistence, or willfulness <I have made up my mind to go and go I will>
this matches what I said:
I think in that context, “what you will” very likely carries the meaning “what you think is necessary.”
Furthermore, Augustine is NOT talking about God’s commandments per se. He is talking about—and you MUST read the context to see this—how to decide which course of action to take (when, pursuant to God’s commandments, one way would be correct according to one commandment in some circumstances; and another way would be correct according to a different commandment in another situation). And lest anyone think this is an endorsement of situational ethics on my part, IT IS NOT—I abhor situational ethics. (But that last sentence is a rabbit trail that I will NOT pursue here or in response to replies.)
Re: point 1:
I agree—EVEN IF I am correct about Augustine’s meaning and even if that meaning is good theology (which I have yet to firmly accept)—with this statement of yours: “If we just throw out these sayings without explanation they can easily b e misread, particularly if someone wants to misread them.”
While I was trying to find an easy link for the Augustine quotation, I can across many references to something called the Wiccan Rede. If you care to research this, you note the similarly of the Rede to Augustine's quotation, YET you will also notice the absence of any reference to “love,” which is replaced with the concept of “do no harm.” “Do not harm,” of course, is completely malleable when divorced from a divine moral standard. Nonetheless, I think this is an example of your valid concern about sharing Augustine’s words to anyone and everyone--an (arguably) valid Christian admonition can be morphed into a pagan buzz phrase.
However, this leads me to my thoughts on point 3.
Re point 3:
I did not understand the original post to be asking whether we SHOULD share this saying. I understood to be asking, in effect, “Given that certain people have already latched onto this saying, what do you think of it?” My first comment, in effect, was “Read it in context and decide what you think of it.” I still think that is good advice. First of all, whether one ultimately agrees or disagrees with Augustine, it is an opportunity for Colin (and others) to say, “Well, this comes from Augustine’s commentary on I John 4. Let’s look at that passage AND his commentary, and see what we think.” I believe this could be especially fruitful since Colin describes these folks as “peers.”