by Bil Aulenbach

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parables

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 >

Overreaching

Sometimes when we read parables in the New Testament, we overreach by looking too deeply for something that is not there or making complex allegories (stories with hidden meanings) out of simple tales.

I’ll use the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) as an example. It starts with the words “For the kingdom of heaven is like .… Read more >

“The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography”

I kid ye not! The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography is a brand-new book cowritten by David Brody, a reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network, and Scott Lamb, a Southern Baptist pastor.

I’m being a little facetious, but I thought that maybe the book would be ten pages long with a big preface, a very full foreword by Mike Pence, and an extensive epilogue by Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son) with many pages of endorsements by the likes of Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, and Jerry Falwell Jr., all of whom have suggested that Trump “walks on water.”

I was wrong!… Read more >

Let’s Take Another Look

One of Jesus’s best-known parables is the parable of the talents, found in Matthew 25:14-30. The story is about a wealthy man who goes on a journey and loans three of his slaves some talents (one of which was worth more than a laborer’s salary for fifteen years). The first slave receives five talents, the second receives two, and the third receives one.… Read more >