by Bil Aulenbach

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What Is Evil?

I was in a Sunday morning adult education class about the book of Revelation (I call it the book of Revolting) when someone suggested that this book was a study of good versus evil. I asked the class who gets to decide who or what is good or evil.

Dictionary.com defines evil as “morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked.”

Most of the world says that Hitler and the Nazis were evil.… Read more >

I’d Flunk Out of Seminary Today: Part 3

This is the third part of a six-part series about an imaginary journey to an Episcopal seminary where I ask hard questions about Christianity and priesthood. Without twenty-first century answers, I may have to drop out. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I am attending my first New Testament class to learn about Jesus and his message.… Read more >

Bad Idea—He Died for My Sins

My class is still charting the twenty-first-century reformation. Getting this reformation off the ground isn’t easy. The biggest obstacle is the image of God as a white man sitting on his throne in his mansion above a flat, three-tiered earth, running everything and judging everyone. Even with photos from the Hubble Space Telescope of at least two trillion galaxies and no signs of God, heaven, or hell, the ancient image remains in our minds, prayers, preaching, and teachings.… Read more >

Jesus the Dogma Killer

As reported in last week’s blog post, the people in my Charting the Twenty-First-Century Reformation class and I are combatting the anthropomorphization of God (giving him human qualities) by renaming this power or force Creation or the Ground of All Being or Higher Power.

This creates a huge problem for the institutional church, which has built its theology on the ancient model of a flat, three-tiered earth with God living in a mansion above it.… Read more >

Bound Consciences

While visiting Jerusalem in November 2017, I attended an interfaith book launch for a book written by a Palestinian Arab Christian. At the reception, I spoke with an Evangelical Lutheran pastor about her church in Jerusalem and asked how Jews, Christians and Muslims treated the LGBTQUI community in the Holy Lands.… 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 >

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 >

Is It A-gáp-ē or A-ga-pé?

This Greek word describes the highest form of love. How do you pronounce it?

I am reminded of the story of two women who visited Hawai’i and wanted to know how to pronounce it. They asked a local, “What’s correct? Is it Hawai-e or Havai’e?” He said, “Havai’e.” They thanked him, and he replied, “You’re velcome.”

My contention is that Jesus’s main message wasn’t about being the Sacrificial Lamb (Saint Paul made that up) but about the power of agape.… 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 >