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by Bil Aulenbach

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Don’t Split—Educate

When I grew up during the 1930s and 1940s, I had no understanding of the terms lesbian, nonbinary, transgender, gay (back then, it meant “happy”), bisexual, or undecided (pertaining to sexuality). I did know the words homo, fag, and queer.

I don’t think I knew anyone who was any of the above, and I only used those words in a pejorative way.… Read more >

My Pal, Pastor Paul

In 2008, Annie and I decided to leave the Episcopal church in southern California, which was most unwelcoming. We returned to the more welcoming St. Mattress.

One day, I was talking with a United Congregational pastor friend, and he asked what church I served. I answered, “St. Mattress.” He smiled but suggested that when Annie and I got too many bedsores, we might try Irvine United Congregational Church.… Read more >

Come See John’s Heart

I was reading the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, April 7, 2019, and this article caught my eye: “150-Year-Old Priestly Heart Tours the U.S.” I had to read the title again. Yes, that’s what it said.

Unbelievable!

It seems the real heart of a Roman Catholic priest, John Vianney, has been set in a little glass box with a cross on top and is touring the United States.… Read more >

Spoiled Brats

Usually when we refer to spoiled brats, we’re talking about children. Not in this blog post—I’m referring to the now-infamous parents who decided to “help” their children attend the college of the parents’ choice.

The journalistic name given to this travesty is the college admissions scandal, which currently involves thirty-three parents who allegedly bribed a man named William “Rick” Singer to perform all sorts of illegal and immoral actions to help their children gain admission to prestigious colleges.… Read more >

Jesus Loved Picnics

Jesus must have loved picnics. The Gospels recount two humongous picnics hosted by Rabbi Jesus.

The Gospels call them feedings instead of picnics, but that’s just semantics. Both picnics and feedings happen outside on the ground despite challenging weather and insects.

Mark’s descriptions of the two picnics are long winded (6:30–44 and 8:1–10).… Read more >

Can I Save Myself?

I recently read Damascus Gate, a novel by Robert Stone that talks about Israel’s four-thousand-years-long quest for a Messiah. At one point, a character says, “I am my own Messiah.” Interesting!

For as long as I can remember, the church has told me that I can’t save myself. Is that because I’m not smart enough or because the church wants to control me and every facet of my life?… Read more >

My Ski Retreats

Annie and I recently went to Big Bear Lake, California, for three days of skiing. The conditions were idyllic: sunny blue sky, forty degrees, six feet of snow pack, well-groomed trails, and not many people.

In 1975, after living in Hawai’i for twenty years, Annie and I moved to southern California.… Read more >

To Vaccinate or Not?

I am an authority on vaccinations, not by education but by on-the-job training. My wife and I are the parents of a rubella (German measles) baby, born fifty-four years ago. We still feel the effects, and life hasn’t been easy.

I also come at this issue from a Christian ethical point of view.… 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 >

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