Archive: William Edelen, The Contrary Minister



WILLIAM EDELEN (1922 – 2015)
The Contrary Minister

William Edelen was born in West Texas and spent his boyhood there and in Oklahoma City. He flew for twelve years as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, flying both fighter planes and transports in World War II and Korea. This included one tour of duty as one of five personal pilots assigned to the staff of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Washington D.C. He requested a discharge and returned to Oklahoma State University where he received the Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture. He then entered McCormick Theological Seminary (on the campus of the University of Chicago) where he received his Masters degree in Theology.

After serving Presbyterian churches for six years he received a grant to do further studies in the Graduate School of Anthropology, the University of Colorado. Concluding two years there he returned to the active minisstry in the Congregational Church. He taught Comparative Religion and Anthropology for seven years at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. During those same years he was the minister of the First Congregational Church in Tacoma.

In 1990 he received a grant from the Annenberg Foundation to promote religious literacy through writing and speaking. His home base was Palm Springs, California.

He wrote regular weekly columns for many Western newspapers including The Idaho Statesman of Boise, Idaho, The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, California, The News Press of Santa Barbara, California, The Chiefton of Pueblo, Colorado, The Herald of Everett, Washington, The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa, California, The Navigator of Bodega Bay, California, and the Tacoma News Tribune of Tacoma, Washington.

In 1990 he started a Sunday Symposium at Oakmont in Santa Rosa, California, a weekly meeting where he lectured for 445 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of discussion.

In 1994 he moved to Palm Springs, California where he started a similar Sunday Symposium at the Palm Springs Tennis Club. For three years, he had a regular, hour-long radio talk show on KPSL Palm Springs. He also wrote a blog and lectured widely in the Western states.


[I enjoyed Bill’s column that ran in the local newspaper when I was living in Sonoma County in the 1980s. When the Press Democrat dropped his column, I lost track of him.  In 2012, one of his columns showed up in a local newspaper in Mendocino County where I live now and I discovered that he had a blog and was still producing columns. Within weeks he mentioned in his blog that he needed help producing his posts and I volunteered to add his columns to this blog. I was already producing Gene Logsdon’s blog named The Contrary Farmer, so I suggested that we name Bill’s posts The Contrary Minister, which he heartily agreed. Bill and Gene are both gone now, but their superb writing lives on… ~ds]

A selection of articles from William Edelen’s books and blog…

· Proud To Be A Humanist
· Embrace the Mystery
· The Sacred Life
· The Tyranny of God
· Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism
· Mother’s Day and the Bible
· Ancient Prophecy, Modern Ignorance
· Jesus and Wives
· Abe Lincoln Loved Preacher jokes
· Biblical Stupidity and Politicians

· Cults and Real Religion
· Robert Ingersoll
· More Robert Ingersoll
· Thanksgiving Thoughts
· It’s In the Genes — The Bright Light of Truth
· Dispensary to the Soul
· The Fourth of July and Freedom
· Krishnamurti —The Sage of Ojai
· Sacred Humanism
· Free of the Biblical God

· 2000 Years of Disbelief
· Reflections On My Own Death
· Gabriel Garcia Marquez
· Courage and Controversy
· Myth Plus Ritual Equals Religion
· President’s Day
· James Madison on Christianity
· The Truth of Nature
· The Bible and Scholars

· The Torpid Endless Mass
· Joseph Campbell — Metaphor and Religious Mystery
· Homo Storialus
· The Horror of Biblical “Gods”
· Mornings with Heraclitus
· No Violence… No Dualism… No Absolutes
· To Live With Wonder
· Hebrew Mysticism
· Jews Without God
· Congregations with Frontal Lobotomies
· The Ten Commandments — A Cultic Code of Taboos

· Is There a God Out There?
· Many Who Say, “Lord, Lord,” Ignore Jesus’ Message of Love
· Thomas Paine
· Euthanasia
· Free of the Biblical God
· Myths of Creation
· Can Prayer Requests Change God’s Will?
· Time… and the River Flowing — Reflections at Age 93
· The Female Supreme Being (The Goddess) and the Continuing Destruction of the Female
· The Fourth of July and Freedom

· Leviticus and Homophobics
· Using The Bible To Justify Views
· The Sexuality of Jesus
· Worship of the Bible — A Malignant Disease
· Mark Twain and Religion
· Women Without Superstition
· ‘Bible’ Christians
· Jesus Was a Great Humanist
· Earth Day — A Love Affair With Nature
· Easter Mythology

· Moon Plays Role in Primal Afterlife Concepts
· Biblical Stupidity and Politicians
· The Future Requires Courage
· My Friend, Justice William O. Douglas, Where Are You Now?
· My Reading List
· Christian History 101
· Music — The Cathedral of the Human Spirit
· The Pulpit Needs Agnostics
· Pulpits and Courtrooms
· Surprised By Joy

· Feathers — The Breath of Life
· Desert Dawn… A Celebration
· Silence… Allows Intolerable Intolerance
· The Christ Myth and Solstice 
· To Live With Wonder
· From Pearl to the Jewel of Marine Aviation
· Apology for Christianity
· Holy Smoke
· The Sanitized Life
· Albert Einstein

· An Ultimate Role Model
· My Morning Meditations
· A Spiritual Union – Mountain and Desert 
· The Web of the Universe
· Albert Einstein and the Dalai Lama — Kindred Souls with the American Indian
· The Language of the Soul
· Reflections at Age 92
· Thomas Jefferson and the 4th of July
· My Zen Priest Brother
· The “Gift”

· Starting a New Day
· The True Patriot
· The Gate To Freedom
· Weavers of Wisdom
· Examining the Roots of Easter
· All Is Natural In The Dance Of Existence
· What Makes You Cry?
· What Makes You Cry? — Part 2
· Many Who Say, “Lord, Lord,” Ignore Jesus’ Message of Love
· Wild and Free as the Wind

· My Natural Habitat… A Writer’s Kiva
· My Writing Philosophy
· Buckminster Fuller
· Christmas Myth, Legend and Folklore
· A Christmas Party… For Jesus
· Destiny and Lotus Blossoms
· The Dream… Dreaming Us
· Prayer and Magic
· Biblical Stupidity and Politicians
· Ancient Texts Define A Zen Christianity

· Poetry, Puppies and Pleasure
· The Power of Poetry
· Red Slippers… Red Blood… A New Hope
· The Moon of the New Grass
· Christmas as poetry
· The Theology of Laughter
· The American Indian
· A Mantis Experience
· Christian Mysticism
· Physics and Mystics
· The Cosmic Dance
· Depths of Truth
· Reflections at age 90