by Bil Aulenbach

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Today’s issues

Bible Study in a Bar

Every Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., fifteen to twenty-plus people meet at our church for Bible study. The Reverend Ken Wyant, a fun and funny teacher with a great understanding of the Bible, leads the class. Almost all of us are members of Irvine United Congregational Church, but the group is open to all.… Read more >

Nos Encanta La Fiesta

Almost every year, we attend a party in Baja California about an hour south of the border. It’s held at a ranch and about 150 people attend. Ten percent of the attendees are gringos and the rest are Mexicans, most of whom try to survive in abject poverty. They live in shacks without running water, sewage, or electricity except what they “pirate” from utility poles.… Read more >

It’s Why We Have Trump!

Here’s a sad story that started with a snowstorm in Big Bear, California, which is a ski resort where Annie and I spend six weeks skiing every year. A young Asian woman was driving up the snow-covered highway on her way to an Airbnb, looking forward to a great ski weekend, when she received a text message from the owner.… Read more >

Why’s God So Mad?

For many folks, the recent horrendous weather tragedies are part of their god’s plan to punish people for doing something bad. One never knows exactly who is being punished or why—just that God is mad. The insurance companies call these tragic events “acts of God.”

Lately there seems to be one disaster after another.… Read more >

Thank You, Donald Trump—You’re a Great Teacher

I suspect that some of you might be surprised at the title as well as the object of my praise. It all started on Saturday, August 19, 2017, when I was on the treadmill at LA Fitness, watching the rally in Boston. Suddenly this idea popped into my head: Donald Trump, in his limited time in office, has taught us so many valuable lessons.… 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 >

The Prosperity Gospel = Snake Oil

I am a strong proponent of the separation of church and state. I don’t want any politician to tell me what to do in church. Unfortunately, today too many politicians are fundamentalists who are trying to do just that. That’s why I’m a member of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, whose job is to nip in the bud any activity that tries to circumvent that constitutional ban.… Read more >

What Stage of Faith Are You In?

One of my favorite subscriptions is a weekly called The Spong Newsletter. It’s distributed by ProgressiveChristianity.org, which I suspect is on the Forbidden to Read List for some Christian sects.

On March 9, David Felten, a Methodist pastor with a congregation in Fountain Hills, Arizona, published “How to Repeal and Replace Christianity’s Addiction to ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts.’” He lays out the problems and then suggests a solution that quotes from James Fowler’s book, Stages of Faith (Harpercollins, 1981).… Read more >

Neutered Old Men

A friend gave me What Pope Francis Really Said (Servant Press, 2016). Interesting book! Now, mind you, I like Pope Francis. He’s a breath of fresh air and an inspiration, especially compared to the last two popes who were trying to move the church back to the fourteenth century.

However, for me, the jury is still out on whether he’s a game-changing pope or not.… Read more >