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by Bil Aulenbach

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Peter the Pebble

The apostle born as Simeon or Simon was later in life called Cephas or Peter, both of which mean “rock.”

To me, Peter is an enigma. Most of the time, I see him as weak, dense, unfaithful, and confused, more of a pebble than a rock.

Most believe Peter was one of Jesus’s closest confidants and a great leader in the early church.… Read more >

Don’t Gag Gaga

About a dozen years ago, a young woman with outlandish attire appeared on the entertainment scene. At first, I thought Lady Gaga was a Madonna copycat, but as I watched her over the years, I found her to be a bright, articulate woman who has a social conscience as well as outstanding singing, acting, and songwriting skills.… Read more >

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

This old nursery rhyme plays in my head whenever I read about the women who were at the cross when Jesus died, most of whom were named Mary (Matthew 27:55–56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25).

To me, the most important one, and the only one named in all three accounts, was Mary Magdalene from the tiny fishing village of Magdala on the west side of the Sea of Galilee.… Read more >

Are Christians Monotheists?

The definition of monotheism is “the doctrine or belief that there is only one god.” Christians and Jews claim that their religions are monotheistic.

I was baptized (at three weeks old) and raised in the Episcopal church, which I loved until I went to college. There, I learned to think, ask questions, and doubt many of my core beliefs.… Read more >

“One Minute After You Die”

I was on my way to my spin class when I saw a pamphlet entitled “One Minute after You Die” on the ground. I picked it up and read it. Yikes!

It promised that one minute after I die, I’ll “either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching [my] first glimpse of gloom as [I] have never known it.”

Reality says that one minute after I die, I will start to decompose, and nobody will welcome me to the afterlife.… Read more >

This Stinketh, and Jesus Must Be Weeping

John 11 tells the story of Lazarus’s death and resurrection. In the King James Version (KJV), John 11:39 says that Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus visited his tomb and that “he stinketh.” John 11:35, the shortest verse in the King James translation, reads, “Jesus wept.”

Annie and I usually eat dinner in front of the television and watch the PBS NewsHour.… Read more >

Was Jesus Trilingual?

Jesus is one of the best-known names on earth, though we don’t know much about him other than he was Jewish, he was born in Galilee, he was an itinerant preacher who was crucified as a criminal, and his message changed the course of civilization. When trying to figure out who the real Jesus was, one often has to compare information from the Gospels and history and then draw conclusions.… Read more >

Evolving

This is the story of my life—and yours too, I hope. We are constantly evolving, if we allow ourselves to. Many don’t.

In my lifetime, I suspect civilization has evolved more than in any other era of history. Most folks don’t think they are evolving, it just happens—but we have come a long way from the Neanderthal.… Read more >

I Hate This Country!

Sorry. My parents taught me to never say the word hate—it’s mean and a cry for attention. I can almost hear my mom shouting from her urn, “Bil, I told you to never use ‘hate’ again!” Sorry, Mom! But the direction this country is going pains me. I constantly feel hopeless.… Read more >

Do You Really Want To?

John 5:1–18 recounts the story of Jesus healing a man at the pool of Bethesda.” I reviewed it the other day, and suddenly a light bulb turned on in my mind.

Don’t forget: Not one story in the Gospel of John is literally true. John is full of figurative truths, metaphors, and gross exaggerations but light on details, which leads to much speculation.… Read more >