by Bil Aulenbach

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Testimonials

“This is a wonderful book for those who are trying to sort out their faith, their religion, and what they believe about these subjects. It is also great for anyone interested in what is happening to the church today. Be prepared, for Aulenbach does not hold back or mince words. It is, however, written in a way that is very personal and at times downright funny. Anyone leaning in the progressive Christian direction will love this book, and trust me, you will learn a lot.”

—Fred C. Plumer, President, ProgressiveChristianity.org

“In Cramming for the Finals, Bil Aulenbach has imagined ‘the church of our dreams,’ where questions are more important than dogma, social action is more important than liturgy, and real people can work out the most meaningful way to become Followers of Jesus by practicing agape right here and right now.”

—Rev. Ken Wyant, member, Irvine United Congregational Church

“As a person trying to sort out my fundamentalist upbringing, I found Cramming for the Finals helpful in navigating a new path forward. Bil outlines his personal journey of deconstructing an unhelpful dogmatic religion and then reconstructing a faith of agape. In a humorous but powerful way, Bil asks hard questions and deconstructs Christianity’s hiccups but also provides new solutions for the church and individuals going forward. As I work at reconstructing a new path forward free of unhelpful dogma and a theistic notion of God, I am encouraged by Bil’s ideas in reframing the practice of prayer and biblical interpretation.”

—Megan Dukett, Program Manager of Education and Interpretive Services, Mission San Juan Capistrano

Cramming for the Finals is the best explanation of progressive Christianity I have seen. I look forward to leading courses using this book.”

—Jacquelyn Marshall, author and Christian education instructor

“For readers looking to explore their own connection to faith, here is a fascinating account of an Episcopal priest who is not afraid to delve deep and ask faith-challenging questions. In this compact read, he invites readers along to open up and expand their thinking about the church, scripture, doctrine, a theistic god, and a divine Jesus.

Aulenbach’s study and story just might lead his readers to set out on their own to learn more about what it means to be Followers of Jesus in this new time to come.”

—Rev. Dr. Paul Tellström, Senior Pastor, Irvine United Congregational Church

“I am always looking for books that challenge me to critique my own thinking and encourage questions about traditional beliefs. Bil Aulenbach’s Cramming for the Finals is just such a book. It is an important contribution to the current discussion about analyzing and responding to the issues facing the world today.”
–George S Johnson, Lutheran pastor and author of Courage to Think Differently

“I have questioned some of the biblical stories since I was a child, so it is refreshing to find a book that gives answers. At times I have felt I was alone on my faith journey, but Cramming for the Finals lets me know that I am not.”

—Carol Getz, educator

“This is a challenging and provocative book that encourages discussion to facilitate a deeper understanding of one’s faith. I highly recommend reading it with an open mind and heart and trying on the ideas the book presents. If all people practiced ‘God is love’ theology, the world would be a better place.”

—Tamra Goris, artist, mother of two teenagers and progressive Episcopalian

Cramming for the Finals is a challenge to my present personal faith. As an encouragement for readers to examine their own faith journey, giving it 21st-century theological relevance, Dr. Aulenbach shares his personal nonclerical and clerical story. What is important today, he says, is how we do life, how we daily live life to its fullest. The Creation (God) and agape (Matt. 25:40) are key!”

—Rev. Canon Franklin S. H. Chun, Bishop’s Chaplain to Retired Clergy, The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai‘i

“Cramming for the Finals by William Aulenbach is a delight to read. The book weaves humor into the author’s narrative about religious beliefs, scriptures, what lies beyond this life, and the nature of God’s existence—all the big themes. Some might regard parts of the text as irreverent, but a careful reading will reveal the author’s lifetime of study and thought about human belief systems, the thoroughness of which allows a levity that’s so refreshing. I especially appreciated and recommend the section on daily meditation and prayer, which I regarded highly enough to start incorporating into my mornings.”

—Steve Goetz, retired faculty, Orange Coast College

“In my late eighties, I find myself searching for the experience of God in a scientific world. Cramming for the Finals is a road map for my own personal spiritual journey and also contains exciting ideas for the future of the institutional church.”

—Joan Thompson, MA, retired senior center director

“For years I had thought of myself as a ‘sort of’ Christian as I just could not accept many of the fundamental magical biblical representations, especially those referring to God and Jesus. Thanks to Bil Aulenbach, I have learned to see the biblical passages from a different perspective. I now rest assured that I can continue to think differently and still be a spiritual person of faith and a believer in the humanistic Jesus and his message that, through the practice of agape, we can all come together to make the world a better place.

Cramming for the Finals is a life-changing gift for which I will remain forever thankful.”

—Susan Sayre, lawyer, advocate for son with disabilities, and former social worker for adult protective services

“It is not often that people have the opportunity to see in advance an opening salvo for change. Cramming for the Finals is just that salvo. Bil has given us what some call ‘lightning in a bottle’—a faith-based approach for those working for the good of us all. I believe he explains that well with the one word: agape. I believe you will not only enjoy the read but be rewarded.”

—Ashley Herndon, President, People Resources, Inc.

Cramming for the Finals is a celebration of life and love, and in opening Pandora’s box, the author reveals Jesus in a new light. This book confirms the power of positive thinking and a new day for the church.”

—Jonathan Weil, adult educator and retired school principal and history teacher

“This wonderful book cleared up a lot of issues I have been working on for a long time. Everyone seeking an understanding of faith should read it. Even if you don’t agree with all the points Bil makes, it will expand your thinking and lead to new insights.”

—Darryl Marshall, retired business professional and active leader in several Episcopal parishes

“Dr. Aulenbach’s book describes how the awesome power of God’s love (agape) will renew Christianity.”

—Joe Mader, President, Water Techniques, and parishioner, St. Joachim Catholic Church

“Aulenbach takes us along on his lifelong journey to slash through the dogma of his religious upbringing and invites us to recapture and to live the true message of the fully human Jesus.”

—John Emerson, human resources, AAA

“To enjoy reading this book, readers must avoid contempt prior to investigation, resign from the debating society, and remove the phrase ‘yeah, but’ from their vocabulary.”

—Don Mansell, insurance executive

“I like the easy-to-read format and excellent examples and would recommend this book to all of my friends who have an open mind.”

—Tom Getz, attorney and mechanical engineer

“Bil looks at the Bible as a true progressive Christian, asking, How can we ignore what we have learned in the last 1,900 years, What was the credibility and reliability of the source of scripture, and Is the Bible the result of the most important ‘telephone game’ ever recorded?”

—Charles H. Jundt, former military intelligence analyst