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by Bil Aulenbach

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Adultery and Jesus

This past winter, I designed a new course entitled Learning the Art of Midrash (biblical interpretation) Using the Gospel of John. I’m a recent convert to the power of that Gospel (previously it never made much sense to me), and I wanted to use the many stories in John (none of which are literally true) to teach people how to use midrash to dig into a story and find the underlying truth often hidden in the details.… Read more >

What’s the “Word of God?”

Often when someone finishes reading a passage from the Bible, they’ll say, “The Word of God.” I find this confusing. What does that mean?

Perhaps the reader is quoting a letter from Paul, John, or James. I imagine this practice started because sometime in the church’s early history, someone found a letter written by Paul, who never met Jesus but put forth some strange ideas.… Read more >

Am I Anti-Semitic?

According to many Jewish folks, especially the Orthodox Jews, I am anti-Semitic. Interesting!

When I was young, I was anti-Semitic. I called Jewish people bad names and said unkind things about them. I didn’t personally know many Jews. I had a Jewish friend in prep school, but I never called him a bad name.… Read more >

Our Country’s Behavior Bar Is at a New Low

Every day after I finish my morning meditation, I read the newspapers. At times, this feels counterproductive, especially in today’s world. Maybe I should read the paper first, get all worked up, and then do my devotions and calm down again. As my favorite prayer says: Whatever!

I always save the best section of the newspapers for last—the comics.… Read more >

John the Anti-Semite?

For years, I refused to read any of John’s writings. I thought the Gospel of John was a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the Book of Revelation was full of craziness. Thanks to the Reverend Ken Wyant’s Bible study at Irvine United Congregational Church, I changed my opinion about the Gospel of John—but I still want to ban Revelation.… Read more >

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

Orange County’s latest project cost $35 million and is located on a ten-acre campus with state-of-the-art housing for up to four hundred homeless occupants. Each separate area is entirely soundproof and temperature-controlled. The five-star facility is two stories and over thirty thousand square feet. It features a large reception area with friendly greeters, large outdoor recreational areas, well-marked drop-off locations, outstanding medical facilities, and classrooms for educational activities.… Read more >

Is It Okay for a Man to Have Sex with His Father’s Wife?

I suspect the title of this blog post caught your attention right away! Why would someone ask such a strange question?

Paul did in the fifth chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians. He ranted about this situation for the entire chapter and told the Corinthians to expel the man who was living with his father’s wife.… Read more >