by Bil Aulenbach

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Biblical interpretation

The Jesus Family Rift

Has your family ever had a rift that prevented members from loving each other? As a retired psychotherapist, I am always surprised at how many families have had or still have interfamily conflicts. Family rifts are more common than one might think. Fact is, it seems to be the rare family that doesn’t have conflict in its history.… Read more >

From Glad to Mad—in the Blink of an Eye

Our weekly Bible study group is currently reading the Gospel of Luke, written around the turn of the first century CE. Luke is religious history (accuracy isn’t important) about the pre-Jesus, told through the metaphor of resurrection. Our group has studied Jesus’s birth, his youth, and his baptism, and now we’re studying his early ministry.… Read more >

The Lord’s Prayer Is Not the Prayer of the Lord

The title of this blog is confusing at first, so let’s start with the fact that the Lord’s Prayer appears in only two places in the Bible. The first and more familiar version is in Matthew, written between 85 to 95 CE: “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name.… Read more >

Embellishing an Embellishment

The festival of Epiphany, derived from a Greek word that means “an appearance or manifestation,” always falls on January 6 in the church’s liturgical calendar. Epiphany is the occasion when Followers remember the story of the wise men who supposedly came from afar to recognize Jesus as the King of kings.… Read more >

Da Story Bout Da Lost Boy: Part Two

In honor of my recent trip to Hawaiʻi, I am including the rest of the prodigal son parable, told in Hawaiian Pidgin.

Last week I shared the first part of the story, where the father unconditionally accepts, forgives, and cares for his errant son. This is a story about agape love, which is what followers of Jesus are expected to practice on a daily basis with our fellow human beings.… Read more >

Da Story Bout Da Lost Boy: Part One

My wife and I lived in Hawaiʻi for twenty years. Below, I’ve included the parable of the prodigal son written in Hawaiian Pidgin, a local lingo spoken by those who were born and raised in Hawaiʻi. It’s spoken quickly and is difficult to understand unless you’re a kamaaina (local). I’ll share the part about the other brother next time—that story is not so nice!… Read more >

Who Was the World’s Most Famous Oenologist?

I suspect some of my readers aren’t quite so sure about the word oenologist.

How does one say an o and an e together? Is it pronounced o, then enologist? Do folks just forget the o sound and simply say or write enologist? I do the latter. It’s easier! Anyway, an enologist studies and masters the very sophisticated art of making wine.… Read more >

Are Christians Cannibals?

In the early church, when the Followers of Jesus had diverged from Judaism (about 88 CE), they gained the reputation of being cannibals. They were a mysterious group. They met in secret places like catacombs and had strange signs and signals such as a fish—in Greek, ichthus. If two people met on a road, one might innocently doodle a fish in the dirt.… Read more >

Today I Went to Heaven. It Was Hell Getting There!

In March 2017, Annie and I were in China cruising on the Yangtze River. Every day we disembarked and saw fascinating things. The day before we left the river for the city of Xi’an and the terracotta warriors, we took a short bus ride to a four-century-old Buddhist pagoda. It was next to very high rock that was too steep to navigate on foot.… Read more >

I’m Falling in Love—with John

I have been terrified of John for some fifty-five years. He’s complicated, threatening, outrageous at times, secretive, and almost unintelligible. I wanted to have nothing to do with him. He was poison.

Then a strange thing happened. My wife and I had been working with inmates at the local jail on Tuesday afternoons, but the jail changed leadership and didn’t need our services anymore.… Read more >