Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Ultimate Contraceptive: The Spirit of the Age

On this Trinity Sunday, the Gospel reading reminds us of the absolute requirement that we must be "born again" and how that takes place.
Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, `You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
"Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." John 3:1-16
There are so many things that would abort that new birth.
As St. Paul wrote, 
" ...if you live according to the flesh, you will die" Romans 8:13 
Or as we might say today,
"If you go to bed with the spirit of the age, you will die." 
And as Thomas A. Tarrants, III, Director of Ministry at the C.S. Lewis Institute once put it,
"The world system, that is, human life organized without reference to God, expresses the values of fallen humanity and reinforces and gives them social sanction. Thus people are blinded to their plight and trapped in their sins."
So what exactly is the spirit of the age?  It is hard to define. As I wrote in a reply to a comment on last week's post,
"The spirit of the age seems impossible to get a grip on as it is always changing. The great attraction of the spirit of the age is that it distracts us from thinking about our eternal future."
The spirit of the age is perhaps the most effective contraceptive to being born from above. Through it we fill our lives with endless distractions, we go off chasing whatever new cause of the day comes around, we create issue after issue to argue about, and we never can resolve anything with the complete assurance that we have found the right answer. Because of it, Christianity loses its place of importance both in our culture and in our minds.

“Christianity is a statement which, if false, is of no importance, and, if true, of infinite importance. The one thing it cannot be is moderately important.” C. S. Lewis in "God in the Dock".

It does not make sense that we would pursue all of these earthly things rather than the kingdom of God. I have even heard it preached that by pursuing these earthly distractions we are building the kingdom of God, but that makes as much sense as inviting a burglar in to straighten up your house.

The Holy Spirit is who we should be letting in. He will straighten up our house.
"Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of-throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself." -C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity" Chapter 31 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

How to be Added to the Episcopal church's "Great Cloud of Witnesses"

The Episcopal church's list of Holy women, Holy Men is something like a list of Saints, but you don't have to be a Saint to make the list as the following "Criteria for Additions to 'A Great Cloud of Witnesses'” indicates (make note of #6 which I have highlighted). I have also highlighted some of the code words and phrases commonly used in these types of emissions from our church,

As indicated above, “A Great Cloud of Witnesses” offers a wide and diverse collection of people from across Christian history and the Episcopal story. As our common life continues to unfold, new names will need to be added. These criteria provide guidelines for how these additions will be considered. 
It should be noted at the outset that there is a certain necessary tension between criteria 4 and 5 that also existed in the criteria in Holy Women, Holy Men; criterion 4 notes that some people need to be remembered who have been forgotten. Those who have been forgotten will have difficulty meeting criterion 5, and its call for a widespread remembrance. Not all of the selections included within “A Great Cloud of Witness” will meet criterion 5 at the current time because the committee judged that the desire to create a more inclusive resource outweighed the need for broad commemoration in every case. However, going forward, names recovered from our collective memories should grow to the level of regional commemoration before being submitted for inclusion in “A Great Cloud of Witnesses.” 
The criterion requiring an individual to have been deceased for at least fifty years has also been dropped. While that provision is useful for gaining appropriate perspective regarding the deceased, it has not been a universally observed rule in Christian history and practice. This requirement has been removed as a reflection of the need to retain some people with the collective memory of the church prior to fifty years since that person’s death. In light of this, criterion 6 speaks of a “reasonable period of time” elapsing. 
1. Historicity: Christianity is a radically historical religion, so in almost every instance it is not theological realities or spiritual movements but exemplary witness to the Gospel of Christ in lives actually lived that is remembered in our family story. Like all families, however, our family includes important matriarchs and patriarchs about whom little verifiable is known yet whose names and influence still exert influence on how we understand ourselves in relation to them. 
2. Christian Discipleship: The family story captured here is uniquely and identifiably a Christian story. This set of stories commemorates the ways particular Christians live out the promises of baptism. A worthy summary of these promises is captured in our Baptismal Covenant including a commitment to the Triune God as captured in the Apostles’ Creed, continuing in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship: the breaking of bread and the prayers, resisting evil and repenting when necessary, proclaiming by word and example the Good News of God in Christ, seeking and serving Christ in all persons, and striving for justice and peace among all people. Rather than being an anachronistic checklist, these should be considered general guidelines for considering holistic Christian life and practice. There may be occasional exceptional cases where not all of these promises are successfully kept, or when the person in question is not Christian, yet the person’s life and work still significantly impacts the ongoing life of the Church and contributes to our fuller understanding of the Gospel. 
3. Significance: Those remembered should have been in their lifetime extraordinary, even heroic servants of God and God’s people for the sake, and after the example, of Jesus Christ. They may also be people whose creative work or whose manner of life has glorified God, enriched the life of the Church, or led others to a deeper understanding of God. In their varied ways, those remembered have revealed Christ’s presence in, and Lordship over, all of history; and continue to inspire us as we carry forward God’s mission in the world. 
4. Range of Inclusion: Particular attention should be paid to Episcopalians and other members of the Anglican Communion. Attention should also be paid to gender and race, to the inclusion of lay people (witnessing in this way to our baptismal understanding of the Church), and to ecumenical partners and people who have had their own distinctive influence upon us. In addition to the better known, it is important also to include those “whose memory may have faded in the shifting fashions of public concern, but whose witness is deemed important to the life and mission of the Church” (Thomas Talley).
5. Local Observance: Similarly, it should normatively be the case that significant remembrance of a particular person already exists within the Church at the local and regional levels before that person is included in the Church’s larger story. 
6. Perspective: The introduction of new names should be done with a certain economy lest the balance of the whole be overwhelmed. In the cases of the recently departed—particularly in the case of controversial names—care should be given to seeing them from the perspective of history. Names added should show a broad influence upon the church and result from a wide-spread desire expressed across the Church over a reasonable period of time.

7. Combined Remembrances: Not all those included need to be remembered “in isolation.” Where there are close and natural links between persons to be remembered, a joint commemoration would make excellent sense (e.g., the Reformation martyrs—Latimer and Ridley; bishops of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste and Hugh).
There is a lot of Episcobabble built into these criteria which will undoubtedly lead to a baffling array of nonsensical characters being added to the church's calendar. The "Cloud of Witnesses" may become a "Dark Cloud of Witnesses" if some of our more nefarious clerics and lay persons are elected.

Use the revised criteria to place your bet on when Bishop Gene Robinson (ret.) will be seeded into the cloud,
"Reviewing Gene Robinson's book, 'God Believes in Love': But perhaps the most astounding of all his biblical propositions on marriage was his observation that Jesus and the apostle that He loved, John the Apostle, were homosexual 'soulmates,' while perhaps not lovers.'" (from "First Things")
Historicity, check.
Christian Discipleship: Striving for "justice", check.
Significance: heroic and extraordinary, check.
Range of inclusion, check.
Local Observance: not yet
Perspective: Broad influence, check.
Combined Remembrances: Mary Glasspool? maybe.

He's a shoe in.

Saint Gene?
Oh yeah, Gene's a shoe in.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Two Opposing Ways of Discerning the Movement of the Holy Spirit

Pentecost and the Holy Spirit were the subject of the day for a few of us today, and I mean a few since today's celebration falls on Memorial Day weekend.

Such is the status of the Holy Spirit these days. Cheapened by attributions of the Spirit's power to anything from transgender clergy to gay marriage, is it any wonder that the spirit of the age exerts more power over us than does the Holy Spirit? 

The Holy Spirit seems to be the most misunderstood of all of the persons of the Trinity. Let me illustrate by the following two very different views of how we might discern the Holy Spirit.

First from the Christian Broadcasting Network, "Seven Keys to Hearing the God's Voice",

  • Scripture: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).   
  • The Holy Spirit speaking to our heart: "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen, and everyone his brother, saying, 'know the Lord,' for all will know Me, from the least to the greatest of them" (Hebrews 8:10-11). 
  • The Prophetic (word of knowledge, word of wisdom, personal prophecy): "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:19-21). 
  • Godly counsel: "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14).  
  • Confirmation: "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed" (Matthew 18:16).  
  • The peace of God: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:15).  
  • Circumstances/Timing: "After these things he (Paul) left Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, having recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. He came to them, and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and they were working; for by trade they were tent-makers" (Acts 18:1-3 -- this relationship between Paul, Aquila and Priscilla -- which happened as a result of circumstances -- became one of the most important strategic partnerships in the book of Acts)
Compare this to something from "The Circle of Atonement" entitled "Discerning the Holy Spirit",
  • When it comes, it has a deep feeling of rightness to it. It rings a bell of truth deep within.
  • It challenges your surface desires and agendas; it is in a certain sense uncomfortable. It stretches you.
  • It carries a higher perspective on the situation than the one you had before asking.
  • The "tone" reflects a higher Source. The day before the Course dictation began, Helen wrote, "Christ says I can tell something is wrong whenever I get a 'snappy' answer….The tone is wrong" (Absence from Felicity, p. 198).
  • It speaks to the needs of the internal and interpersonal dimensions of the situation, not just the issues of external form.
  • It is fresh, out of the blue. It does not just restate thoughts you had before asking. (This is not always the case, but it is a very frequent feature of real guidance.)
  • It offers a course of action that you didn't even know was an alternative. You find yourself saying, "Why didn't I think of that before?" Jesus once remarked that, in a certain situation, Bill "saw only one alternative, and was unable to keep an open mind" (Absence from Felicity, p. 289).
  • It seems to meet everyone's needs all at once, in remarkable and perhaps unexpected ways (even though it may not meet their needs as they have defined them). Jesus told Helen, "Any gui­dance which comes from Me will not jeopardize anyone" (Absence from Felicity, p. 289).
  • It seems to take everything—all the facts, all the issues, all the needs, all sides of the situation—into account and wrap it all into one unified package, including things that you had not factored in at all.
  • It answers a somewhat different question than you originally posed, because the perception that produced the question was part of the problem. The Course says, "And what you hear may not resolve the problem as you saw it first" (T-30.I.3:3).
  • You asked for guidance with other people, and some or all of you received the same basic message. 
Take one guess which method is being used by Christians who claim that the movement towards acceptance of same sex marriage in the Western world is driven by the Holy Spirit?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Erin go Gay: Bake Me a Cake as Queer as You Can... or Else!

With the recent news from Ireland of another Christian Bakery getting slammed for discrimination after refusing to put a pro gay-marriage slogan on a cake, it is becoming obvious that Christians are being targeted across the globe for their beliefs by homosexual activists who will stop at nothing in their assault on traditional moral values.

Gay rights activist Gareth Lee took Ashers Baking Company in Belfast to court in a civil action after it canceled his order for a cake with the slogan "Support Gay Marriage" on it. The case was funded by the British province's Equality Commission. 
The firm initially accepted the order but later contacted Lee to cancel it and refund his money. Lee told a court hearing over three days in March that the bakery's refusal made him feel "unworthy" and "a lesser person".
Unworthy my foot, this was a planned attack for which Mr. Lee probably felt proud.

The strategy of going after those in the wedding business is working so well that traditionalist pastors, ministers, and priests will probably be the next group to be stalked and brought to court in similar fashion. For this reason, states have been trying to create legislation to protect churches from such lawsuits, but why should just one class of individuals deserve such protection?  If the states can provide such a protection for clergy, why cannot laws be drawn up to prevent photographers, wedding planners, reception halls, destination wedding locales, bakers, and florists from being forced to participate in gay weddings?

The old nursery rhyme may never sound the same,

Patty cake, patty cake,
Baker's man;
Bake me a cake as queer as you can.
Prick it and prick it,
And mark it with LGBT,
And there will be enough for Tommy and me... or else!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Ascension

Ascension Window Church of Our Saviour Rock Hill, SC

This Sunday we remembered the Ascension of Jesus (officially the Sunday after the Feast of the Ascension). 

In previous posts on the Ascension of Christ, I have thought about what this event means to modern people. Granted, I might not be qualified to do so since many would consider this writer to not be among the "modern." 

I believe the most pressing issue, and the one that will come up if one is asked to explain the Christian faith is whether or not this event is fact or fiction.

I hear it all the time, "Do you really believe that Jesus was lifted up into heaven and sits at the right hand of God?" The assumption is the anyone who does believe this must be a relic from the iron age.

I also hear, "You don't have to believe in it to be a Christian."


As a Christian, the Ascension as witnessed by the disciples cannot be tossed out as a mere postscript to the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  The Ascension is a crucial part of the story. I don't think one easily can say that that Jesus was resurrected but not ascended. It would be easier to say the Jesus was not resurrected and not ascended, as some of our more outspoken Episcopal bishops and theologians have claimed in the past, than to deny the one and accept the other.

As Christians, we should shout the message that "Christ has risen" just as loudly when proclaiming his ascension to an unbelieving world as we do when rejoicing in his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

So where did he go, and what is he doing there? I fall back upon the words of another dinosaur, J.C. Ryle (1816–1900)  the first Anglican bishop of Liverpool,

"Christ is now carrying on in heaven the work of a priest, which He began upon earth.He took our nature on Him in the fullness of time and became a man, that He might be perfectly fitted to be the Priest that our case required. As a priest, He offered up His body and soul as a sacrifice for sin upon the cross, and made a complete atonement for us with His own blood. As a priest, He ascended up on high, passed within the veil, and entered into the presence of God. As a priest, He is now sitting on our behalf at the right hand of God; and what He began actively on earth, He is carrying on actively in heaven. This is what Christ is doing." — J. C. Ryle

"That same Jesus who once died for sinners, still lives at the right hand of God, to carry on the work of salvation which He came down from heaven to perform.He lives to receive all who come unto God by Him, and to give them power to become the sons of God.He lives to hear the confession of every heavy-laden conscience, and to grant, as an almighty High Priest, perfect absolution.He lives to pour down the Spirit of adoption on all who believe in Him, and to enable them to cry, Abba, Father!He lives to be the one Mediator between God and man, the unwearied Intercessor, the kind Shepherd, the elder Brother, the prevailing Advocate, the never-failing Priest and Friend of all who come to God by Him.He lives to be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to all His people—to keep them in life, to support them in death, and to bring them finally to eternal glory." -J. C. Ryle

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"But, look, gaze about...the ministry is flourishing!" - Matt Kennedy

We in the United States have watched as the courts rule again and again against bakers and photographers who decline to participate in same-sex weddings on Christian principles. Our Episcopal church on the other hand is in no danger of such litigation as it has been in the forefront of the "marriage equality" movement. Leaders of the Episcopal church seem to believe that all is well with the organization, but the numbers say otherwise. At least the world approves of what the Episcopal church is doing even if that does not result in growth. The Church that caters to the world may be misled by the world's approval and by the rare examples of short-term growth into thinking that it is following the Holy Spirit, but it is following an altogether other spirit, the Spirit of the Age. The following are some words of wisdom I lifted from Matt Kennedy's Facebook page which may help clarify my point,

"The Corinthian church grew rapidly from the start and by the writing of Paul's first letter is likely still growing. There are baptisms all the time, Communion is happening. The church experiences great outpourings of spiritual power. Many people exercise miraculous gifts; prophesy, words of knowledge, tongues. God’s presence and power is palpable. Of course, they’re biting and quarreling with each other and grumbling against Paul. Yes, they adjust the gospel to make themselves more attractive to other Corinthians and the gospel less embarrassing. So, yes, they’re divorcing each other and suing each other. And there's a man sleeping with his father's wife (but he really is a nice generous guy, you should meet him). And it is true that others are going to temple prostitutes and women refuse to have sex with their husbands. And, yes, just about everyone is participating in pagan feasts. But, look, gaze about...the ministry is flourishing! God is blessing the Corinthian Church! More, obviously, than he’s blessing you Paul. We’re saved, Baptized, empowered, sustained, Spirit filled...who are you Paul? You're beaten, reviled, chased from town to town...who are you to knock what God is doing in Corinth? 
Paul's response? Be careful. God is patient. He's long-suffering. Don’t confuse God’s patience with approval “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" - Matt Kennedy  from his sermon of 03/08/2015  on 1 Cor 10:1-6, "An Illustration of Disqualification"

Let us turn back from adjusting the gospel to make the Church and ourselves more attractive to the world. That is not what the world needs most. The world needs the plain truth as recorded by the biblical witnesses that we are called to repent and not called to celebrate our brokenness, but to celebrate our salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

This summer I hear the drumming, Twenty-three thousand dead in Ohio...

After all the bad news I included in my 1000th post, I thought it might be good to put up a little good news, but it must be tempered a little...
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP via yahoo)
"The number of abortion providers in Ohio has shrunk by half amid a flurry of restrictive new laws over the past four years, and the number of the procedures also is declining, according to a review of records by The Associated Press."
"Seven of 16 Ohio abortion providers have either closed since 2011 or curtailed abortion offerings, while an eighth, in Toledo, is operating under the cloud of pending litigation, according to AP interviews and examinations of state licensing and business records."
"Ohio saw induced abortions fall from 25,473 in 2012 to 23,216 in 2013 — a period when 5 of the 7 affected providers closed or curtailed services — state figures show. That was the lowest level recorded since the state began tracking the data in 1976, and part of a general downward trend that began in the late 1990s."
Way to go Ohio, but in absolute terms 23,216 abortions is still a huge number considering there were 139,694 live births in Ohio in 2013 (source Centers for Disease Control publication p. 123). This means that if you are conceived in Ohio, then you have a 15% chance of being sucked out of the womb either whole or in pieces.

Does anyone remember 45 years ago when four protestors were killed in Ohio and how that was turned into a rallying cry against the Vietnam war and the President of the United States?

Remember Neil Young singing, "Ohio"?
"Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?" Neil Young, "Ohio"
Why is it that nobody today is singing, "Twenty-three thousand dead in Ohio"?
"Eric Holder and Obama coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Twenty-three thousand dead in Ohio.
Gotta get down to it
Mothers and doctors are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew us
And found us dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?" UGP
It was youth Sunday at our church today, and I wonder how many of those and other states' missing 15% might have helped fill the ranks of our youth group today.
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

1000th Post!

While this milestone may go unnoticed by the rest of the world, it shouldn't! I try to publish new posts on this blog twice weekly (Sundays and Wednesdays), and usually there is more than enough material out there to comment on, and this week is no exception.

For one thing, we have the never ending tragi-drama played out as the great ship TEc slips slowly beneath the waves.

One example: Is General Convention going to recommend to amend the marriage canon to make it gender neutral?

From the Episcopal News Service:
The A050 Task Force on the Study of Marriage is recommending that the 2015 meeting of General Convention authorize Episcopal Church clergy to officiate at same-sex marriages.
The task force proposes the change in its just-released Blue Book report by way of a resolution (numbered A036) that would revise Canon I.18 titled “Of the Solemnization of Holy Matrimony” (page 58 of The Episcopal Church’s canons here).
The revision removes, among many edits, the language of I.18.2(b) that requires couples to “understand that Holy Matrimony is a physical and spiritual union of a man and a woman.” Removing that and other gender-specific language from the canon, the report says, addresses the mandate in the group’s enabling resolution that it “address the pastoral need for priests to officiate at a civil marriage of a same-sex couple in states that authorize such.”
Section 3 of Canon 18 would be rewritten to, in part, remove the requirement that the couple sign a declaration stating they “solemnly declare that we hold marriage to be a lifelong union of husband and wife as it is set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.”

Need more? Let's take a look at "priests behaving badly" (some of these are recent; others go back a couple of years).

Episcopal Church council meets amid bishop's arrest (The Baltimore Sun) 
Priest at famed Manhattan church charged with DWI after exiting Holland Tunnel in Jersey City ( 
A Wilmington Island priest and a former teacher arrested for child pornography (WJCL News) 
Episcopal priest gets 45 days for smuggling drugs into jail (Bangor Daily News) 
Former Ben Avon Episcopal priest sentenced in child pornography case ( 
So. Pines (NC) police step up park monitoring, charge priest (Episcopal) with indecent exposure (more like public sex with another man, ed.) (WNCN) 
Somerville priest arrested on charges of repeated indecent assault of a child parishioner over ten years (

And lastly we have from "High Church" Episcopalians,
Priest Preaches 'Thank God for Marijuana' (
“Thanking God for weed might feel a little awkward at first,” Schuller said in the video. “Thanking God is going to feel so much better than throwing stones at people who are already stoned.”
With so much material, can there be any doubt that someday I may be working on my 2000th post?


Sunday, May 03, 2015

If You Love Me, Why Won't You Bless My ______?

Today's Gospel reading was John 14:15-21 which is pretty much self-explanatory except for one detail that people argue about (highlighted),
Jesus said to his disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
"I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."
The lectionary tries to manage the problematic detail, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" by adding 1 John 3:(14-17)18-24 which contains,
"And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another"
Isn't this precisely what most Christian arguments boil down to, "How do we love one another?"

Is it love to sugar coat scripture so as not to offend those who otherwise would have to cover their ears when Jesus speaks on marriage, divorce, and adultery or when the Apostles speak against sexual immorality and homosexual behavior?

Is it love to bless things which scripture condemns?

It is not love as it creates a rite within the Church which conflicts with a clear reading of scripture. Condoning and living with such a conflict will only increase doubt, and it will ultimately diminish belief in the very name of Jesus Christ himself.

Should we abhor anything if love is what it is all about? I think yes, especially things which lead to more doubt because,
The tension between belief and doubt is the battlefield of Christian obedience. The stakes are very high. Faith is called on to direct all our actions (Heb. 11; James 2:18; Rom. 14:23). In the Christian, unbelief leads to timidity, error, and disobedience. A life of faith leads to courage, discernment, and obedience. In that tension we live every day. The fight for faith is the very real struggle of the Christian life (Eph. 4:13–14). - Tony Reinke, the author of "Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books" (2011) and "Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ" (2015).
If ye love Him, keep fighting for the faith.