by Bil Aulenbach

Progressive Unity

The Pope Reads My Blogs

I just know he does. How? I talk all the time, along with many other progressives, about the idea that the church must change or die (Thanks, Bishop Spong, for that motto). The Los Angeles Times reported on December 21, 2019, that Pope Francis “warned . . . that ‘rigidity’ in living out the Christian faith is creating a ‘minefield’ of hatred and misunderstanding in a world where Christianity is increasingly irrelevant.”Read more >

Does Jesus’s Skin Color Matter?

I suspect some of you are saying, “Does Jesus’s skin color matter? What a ridiculous question!”

To me, this topic is not ridiculous but important. Here’s why:

  • I believe in the historical Jesus, not the mystical, magical, mythical one who reputedly lives with his father above a flat earth. He and his dad have many mansions (John 14:2) with large pearly gates manned by St.
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Am I Normal?

I like to say, “I’m the only normal person in the world.” Why? Because I believe that normal does not exist. My normal might be your crazy.

This blog post was inspired by my favorite column in the Sunday newspaper magazine Parade—“Ask Marilyn” by Marilyn vos Savant. (I doubt that’s her real name, but she is very smart.)… Read more >

Which Kind of A-theist Am I?

I call myself an A-theist. The big A means “against”—I am opposed to theism, which is the belief in a personal god UpThere. I also think that the hyphen—which looks like a minus sign—is an appropriate symbol of my negative opinion of theism and that the little t signifies how unimportant theism is in the twenty-first century.… Read more >

Can a Pastor Be an Atheist?

My church is currently searching for a new pastor, and in a discussion group, I asked, “What would you think if our new pastor admitted that she or he was an atheist?”

A few people replied, “No way!” Most were quiet. Did they respond this way because that idea had never crossed their mind?… Read more >

Easter Presence

My favorite holy day in the church year is Easter, which forms the heart of my faith.

I don’t believe in a literal, physical resurrection of a man who died by crucifixion. That is impossible—dead is dead. A body starts decomposing four minutes after death, and the process cannot be reversed.… Read more >

The Real Meaning of Christmas

I first encountered the Reverend David Keighley, an Anglican priest, in one of Bishop John Shelby Spong’s books. David writes Progressive Christian poetry, including “Leaving Home” in Bishop Spong’s book. I read that poem every Friday during my quiet time.

I asked David if I could use “Leaving Home” in my book Cramming for the Finals.… Read more >

What Do I Say?

I was the worship leader at my church recently, which meant I started the service, made announcements, read the scriptures, and sat up front looking saintly. I like doing that, but I am always stymied when introducing and ending the lessons.

I like to start the lessons by giving a little background on the reading because jumping into the middle of a biblical book can be confusing.… Read more >

I’m an Easter Guy

There are six church seasons: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.

Christmas is probably most people’s favorite. I like it as a secular holiday but not as a religious one—I see no reason to celebrate fairy tales. We have no idea where, when, or how Jesus was born, but we sure spend a lot of energy and money celebrating the unknown.… Read more >