by Bil Aulenbach

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Old Ideas, New Ways

What’s the “Word of God?”

Often when someone finishes reading a passage from the Bible, they’ll say, “The Word of God.” I find this confusing. What does that mean?

Perhaps the reader is quoting a letter from Paul, John, or James. I imagine this practice started because sometime in the church’s early history, someone found a letter written by Paul, who never met Jesus but put forth some strange ideas.… Read more >

The Immaculate Conception Equals the Immaculate Deception

I read a fun story in the newspaper last week about a congressman who received a lecture from a radio commentator because he confused the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with the doctrine of the Incarnation—an easy thing to do, since both are total foolishness.

One might call the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation fake news from long ago, but the church insists on continuing to market this fake news to its own detriment.… Read more >

Advent: “Coming” to What?

Advent, according to Dictionary.com, is a word of Latin origin with several similar meanings:

  1. A coming into place, view, or being; arrival.
  2. The coming of Christ into the world.
  3. The period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.
  4. Second Coming.

I like the first definition.… Read more >

Scammed—Almost

My wife and I travel a great deal, and before we go, we always read up on the latest scams. However, my most recent scam happened last week near my home. I was going to our post-office box, and as I was about to make a left into the store, a man in a truck started yelling and pointing to the front of my car.… Read more >

Why Guadalupe?

I have been a docent at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California for twenty-five years. This mission is home to the Serra Chapel, which is the oldest church in California and one of the oldest buildings in the state. It’s a beautiful chapel with a world-renowned, 450-year-old retable (a decorative stand behind an altar) called the Golden Altar, in which there are three rows of three niches with a statue in each.… Read more >

Unwed Mothers

In the late 1960s, Annie and I had three young daughters ages two, four, and six. The middle one was severely deaf with very limited vision only in her left eye, as well as a rather long list of other challenges. She was a high maintenance child. Annie also found that being the wife of a clergyman demanded her involvement with the parish.… Read more >

Meet My Hero

All my life, I have had people I have looked up to and wanted to emulate. They all have the same characteristics. They are authentic, real in every sense of that word. They talk the talk and walk the walk.

One of my current heroes is eighty-six years old, still here but unfortunately challenged by some health issues.… Read more >

Why a Cross?

As a child and teen, church was the center of my life. My dad was the rector, which made me a PK (Preacher’s Kid). I was an acolyte and loved serving at the altar. I was big into our youth group. If you wanted, I would give you a private tour under the church, in the pipes of the pipe organ, and in the bell tower.… Read more >