About the Author: Bil Aulenbach

Born at the end of the Great Depression in 1932, Bil Aulenbach was the son of a Philadelphia clergyman. A graduate of Episcopal Academy, Bil went on to serve in the Korean War as a Marine Corps Captain, he next attended seminary in Berkeley, and later earned an MSW from the University of Hawai‘i. Bil and his wife, Annie, have three children and live in Southern California. Now retired, they love to travel, having already visited sixty-seven different countries.  They are members of Irvine UCC and are involved in local projects, as well as in Mexico and Ecuador. Cramming for the Finals is Bil’s fourth book; he is the author of How to Get to Heaven Without Going to Church and What’s Love Got to Do With It? Visit Bil’s blog, Peace Love Joy Hope.
  • By Published On: September 22, 2023

    My hope is that you are interested in changing and evolving in your life. In order to change, we need to know where we came from, what we were originally taught (in religious school or by our parents and teachers), whether it is still applicable today, and what new directions we might want to follow.

  • By Published On: September 11, 2023

    This book will help you examine your beliefs--where they came from, whether they are still applicable today, how they have changed over the years--and decide what new directions you might want to pursue.

  • By Published On: May 1, 2023

    I have a caveat: never read the Bible without some sort of reliable scholarly information by your side.

  • By Published On: February 6, 2023

    I wanted to share a teaser about what makes real men , and it’s not being a marine or cowboy or smoking a certain brand of cancer-sticks.

  • By Published On: August 20, 2022

    It was the faith-based community that ended slavery. It took a long time, but they did it. I believe it is the faith-based community that could transform our present penal system.

  • By Published On: January 27, 2022

    Celibacy was not compulsory until Pope Gregory VII declared such in 1074. However, inside information suggests that this edict was not about sex but inheritances and lots of free labor. Since celibate priests don’t have families, now their inheritances go to the church. Celibacy = money.

  • By Published On: December 7, 2021

    The word epiphany means “a manifestation, a showing forth.” Starting in the third century, January 6 became the Feast Day of the Epiphany, when Christians celebrate the Magi finding the baby Jesus with his mother at their “house” in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11). The Western churches use Luke’s story (2:1–20) and December 25 to celebrate this birth.

  • By Published On: August 20, 2020

    I have been a docent at the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California since 1991. I conduct walking tours for fourth graders studying Californian history and adults who want to see this well-preserved historic landmark, which was built in 1776. I also give special tours explaining the mission’s collection of religious art.

  • By Published On: June 10, 2020

    I’ve been waiting for over thirty years for this to happen, and I often wondered why it didn’t before now. I’m referring to the death of George Floyd and the resulting demonstrations and riots.

  • By Published On: May 28, 2020

    I call myself an A-theist. The big A means “against”—I am opposed to theism, which is the belief in a personal god UpThere. I also think that the hyphen—which looks like a minus sign—is an appropriate symbol of my negative opinion of theism and that the little t signifies how unimportant theism is in the twenty-first century.

  • By Published On: December 20, 2019

    I have never liked Luke 6:20, which says “Congratulations, you poor!” in newer translations. I think that’s demeaning.

  • By Published On: October 24, 2019

    I suspect you have heard people say “Turn your troubles over to God,” implying he will fix them.” I’ve also heard “God save the King or Queen” or “God bless America” or “God bless you” or “God loves you.”

  • By Published On: May 27, 2019

    I believe every adult must be her or his own Messiah or Christ and choose a foundation stone to live her or his life by. One could choose money, power, crime, sex, pornography, drugs, a religion, or a cult—to name a few. For me, the historical Jesus is the guru who provides my foundation stone, agape.

  • By Published On: March 29, 2019

    “Are you a Christian?” is a question I hear often because I label myself as an a-theist. That means I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god living in a mansion above a flat earth. My answer to whether I’m a Christian is more complex than a simple yes or no.

  • By Published On: February 28, 2019

    I still have this burning question: Why do women go to churches that don’t allow women clergy? Ladies, don’t support churches that make you second-class citizens!

  • By Published On: November 15, 2018

    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.

  • By Published On: October 20, 2018

    Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Or is this a fairy tale? This issue, along with who God is, could keep the twenty-first-century reformation from moving forward.

  • By Published On: October 4, 2018

    “‘It’s Really Hard to Be a Catholic’: The Pain of Reading the Sex Abuse Report” is an eye-catching headline in the August 16, 2018, issue of the New York Times. The world has grappled with the issue of Roman Catholic clergy abusing children for decades. The problem never seems to be resolved, and maybe it even worsens as more skeletons come out of the closet.

  • By Published On: August 30, 2018

    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.

  • By Published On: August 17, 2018

    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. The Orange County Board of Supervisors is extremely proud of this facility, and one of the county supervisors has publicly stated that this huge expenditure serves a critical need in the county. Did I mention that this facility, built on former a Marine Corps air station, is a shelter for dogs, cats, and other animals?

  • By Published On: August 3, 2018

    Did you ever read something in the Bible and wonder what you just read? So, you read it again. It still makes no sense. You try again. Nothing. Here’s an example from Matthew 21:18–19. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but he went to it, he found no fruit, only leaves. Jesus said to the tree, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the tree “withered at once.” Huh?

  • By Published On: July 7, 2018

    The other day, I officiated at a funeral, though we don’t use that word much anymore. Calling such events celebrations of a life is much more popular. The word funeral reeks of morbidity.

  • By Published On: June 15, 2018

    King David has long been one of my Biblical heroes—or so I thought. The story of David versus Goliath is a powerful metaphor for facing life’s challenges. The little guy takes on the big and the powerful—and wins. I always envisioned the great King David as the prototype for who and what the Messiah should be: a powerful leader, admired by all, who would lead the chosen people to achieve the highest standards. Then I bought the Great Courses DVDs on the Old Testament, which consist of twenty-four thirty-minute lectures by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, a Biblical scholar from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In lecture sixteen, Dr. Levine talked about who King David really was. That lecture was an eye opener—and not a nice one!

  • By Published On: June 7, 2018