by Bil Aulenbach

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Old Ideas, New Ways

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 >

Am I a Christian?

My father was an Episcopal clergyman. He thought he was a Christian. My mother was born and baptized a Methodist but became an Episcopalian when she married my father. She, too, thought she was a Christian. I was baptized when I was three weeks old in the Episcopal church, but my parents said later it was a Christian baptism done Episcopal style.… Read more >

Dead Man Walking

I have never been attracted to science fiction. It’s too far-fetched. I’ve tried to read Harry Potter—three times. By the second chapter, I’ve lost interest. Whenever I hear one of those preposterous stories told in the Bible, I cringe for fear that people will literalize it. For example, all the stories about Jesus’s resurrection, which I have nicknamed “Dead Man Walking,” after Sister Helen Prejean’s book and movie about her work on death row.… Read more >

What Happens to D&D When God Is Promoted and Jesus Is Demoted?

D&D is short for Dogma and Doctrine, which reminds me of a riddle: Why don’t cats go to church? Too much dogma! (Shame on me!)

Watch what happens to most of the D&D when the theistic god of yesterday is promoted to encompass the entire universe. One can no longer think about a small Master Puppeteer but more in terms of a force that some call Creation or Ground of All Being.… Read more >

What’s an Evangelical Today?

When I went to seminary in 1957, the Episcopal Church Evangelism Society gave me a scholarship because I was going into the mission field to share Jesus’s concept of agape love and to teach people how to fish, not just give them a fish.

About thirty years ago, I learned that the word evangelical had become a code word for fundamentalist.… Read more >