Thursday, September 17, 2020

Christianity, Science, and the Coronavirus

by Robert C. Frank

The special coronavirus, Covid-19, that is spreading around the world is producing an enormous amount of anxiety, and many people are dying. It appears that Christianity and science will both be needed to bring the virus under control. Christianity provides the compassion, teamwork, and discipline that are needed, and science provides the technological tools required for medical applications. Science has taught us that Covid-19 will disappear when we love each other enough to wear masks and create social distances. That requires discipline.

Today, Christian church congregations have spread over the entire earth and have become the largest network of mutual trust in the world. During his life, Jesus Christ was a servant leader who taught his followers how to be servant leaders. Today to continue social distancing, Christian churches around the world teach people about Jesus using a method called “streaming” that was invented by science and where members remain in their homes and receive the messages on their computers.

The former American President and his followers taught people to look out for themselves first. However, the international attack of Covid-19 has helped us understand that the best defense against the disease requires a combination of Christianity, science and teamwork. If we are going to create better lives for all people then it will be necessary to focus our attention on this combination. The book Christ’s Team: A 21st Century View of Christianity is designed for that purpose. While the book was written long before the Covid-19 attack, it provides tools that strengthen civilization on earth and help people work together.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Road Back to a Better Future

by Robert C. Frank

We were sailing along. With better communication, our world was beginning to improve more rapidly. Christianity, aided by science, had spread over the entire earth providing a more peaceful and stable civilization in the world. Christians were gradually becoming aware that our understanding of teamwork and government by democracy was traceable back to the servant leadership life of Jesus Christ. That came across most clearly in the Apostle Paul’s comparison of the followers of Jesus with the function of the parts of the human body in 1 Cor. 12 in the Bible.

Unfortunately, since 2017, America has had a President who would prefer to lead a monarchy rather than a democracy and Christian integrity and teamwork have been pushed into the background. As a result, the government of America has become more like the governments of monarchs and dictators of the past. Progress has slowed because everything depends on the approval of the boss.  The President’s Cabinet of advisers has been in a constant state of change.

Lois Capps wrote a book published in 2018 and available on Amazon that is about her Christian life while serving in the US House of Representatives from 1997 to 2017. It is called Keeping Faith in Congress: Why Persistence, Compassion and Teamwork Will Save Our Democracy. The book illustrates the value of Christianity and teamwork in democratic governments. If we are going to restore a rapidly improving civilization in the world, we need to return to our earlier well-functioning democratic government in America. Then Christianity, aided by science and teamwork will again help produce a smooth road to better lives for all people.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Teamwork, Teamwork, Teamwork

by Robert C. Frank

The whole world needs better teamwork including families, churches, governments, and international relations. It is a subtle part of the Christian gospel that has been hovering in the background for thousands of years waiting for it’s time to be acknowledged. It is related to the servant leadership teachings of Jesus Christ during his life. Teamwork requires people to work together in a very special way noted by the Apostle Paul when he compared the followers of Jesus to the parts of the human body (1 Cor. 12 ). 

Each part of the human body is different and has a different function but must make its contribution when needed or other parts of the body will not be able to function properly. If the lungs aren’t doing what they need to do, the hands can’t do what they need to do. All of the members of a team depend upon each other. A baseball team cannot do what it has to do if the catcher isn’t there.

In spite of the Apostle Paul’s brilliant analysis of what is expected from the followers of Jesus, Christian leaders have not placed much emphasis on interdependency. Christianity has mostly emphasized each individual’s personal relationship with God. As a result, the members of church congregations tend to function as loosely connected volunteers. The interdependency of members is rarely mentioned in sermons so weekly attendance at church services is typically in the range of 20 to 30 % of total membership

Perhaps it is time for Christian leaders to take another look at the Apostle Paul’s comparison of the followers of Jesus with the Body of Christ and study it from that perspective.
(This is a repeat posting of an essay posted in October 2016) 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

When the World Becomes the Body of Christ

by Robert C. Frank

For the past few years we have had an opportunity to see how hateful and disconnected life can become when love and teamwork are lacking. Love and teamwork are closely related, but not the same. Love makes teamwork possible while teamwork makes love functional. 

Love can be defined as a deep feeling of affection or attachment. Love brings people together. When asked which commandment was the greatest, Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbor as yourself.” The word love is mentioned many times in the Bible, so it is well understood in Christian circles. 

While not using the word “teamwork,” the Apostle Paul provided an excellent example of it when he called the followers of Jesus the Body of Christ in 1 Cor. 12 in the Bible. He was anticipating that they would work together in a manner as well coordinated as the parts of the human body. In our world today the characteristics of a team are the following: (1) Each member has a different skill, a different task, and a different view of the team effort; (2) The activities of the team members, however, must be coordinated so they support and don’t interfere with each other; (3) All members of the team must work toward the same goal. These characteristics are why teamwork is so important
Despite periods of dysfunctionality such as that recently experienced, civilization on earth seems to be gradually moving toward a point when love and teamwork will prevail. Someday in the years ahead, when the mission of Christianity is fully understood and followed, civilization on earth will become the peaceful Body of Christ. Thoughts to ponder at Christmas. Perhaps theologian Richard Rohr's new book The Universal Christ will help.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Richard Rohr's View of the Universal Christ

by Robert C. Frank

Popular Christian writer Richard Rohr’s new book has the title, The Universal Christ and greatly expands our understanding of Christianity. Christian tradition, perhaps unintentionally, tends to focus Christianity at the foot of the cross. In his book, however, Rohr sees the presence of Christ everywhere and considers Christ to be part of God’s creation in which we are God’s assistants. 

 At one point, in theological language, he says,(1) “If we see the Eternal Christ Mystery as the symbolic Alpha Point for the beginning of what we call “time,” we can see that history and evolution indeed have an intelligence, a plan, and a trajectory from the very start. The Risen Christ, who appears in the middle of history, assures us that God is leading us somewhere good and positive, all crucifixions to the contrary. God has been leading us since the beginning of time, but now God includes us in the process of unfolding (Romans 8:28–30).” 

 While Rohr uses a different approach and different language, his writing provides support for the book Christ’s Team, which is also about the role of Jesus Christ in God’s creation. The Prologue to Christ’s Team includes the statement, “Christian tradition emphasizes the role of Jesus Christ as redeemer, but human history has verified that he also came to teach humans how to work together and care for each other. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, his followers have become a Team dedicated to carrying on creation, improving human life, and managing our planet.” The book emphasizes that as God’s assistants, we are aided by science in our effort.

 1. Rohr, Richard. The Universal Christ (p. 95). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Christ's Team Was Designed for Christian Outreach in an Evolving World

 by Robert C. Frank

The Holy Bible, the major book of Christianity, is actually a library of books used by pastors for sermon topics in their churches. It contains over a thousand pages of stories of wisdom and conflict. Christian organizations sometimes hand it to new members to introduce them to Christianity but due to its great length and complexity, it is poorly designed for Christian outreach. Even when studied by theologians and Bible scholars, it often leaves the reader with many unanswered questions.

A book designed to be handed to people who have minimal or no Christian background should be short and well-focused on the basic principles and practices of the followers of Jesus. It should also be written in the everyday language of the people who will be reading it and not sprinkled with words from the ancient language of the church.

Christ’s Team was specifically designed for Christian outreach in an evolving world. It is a short summary of the basic principles and practices of Christianity, written in common secular language, and laid out in a simple and logical manner. It also includes brief statements about how science has aided the spread of Christianity.  In addition, it contains answers provided by human history to some questions not treated in the Bible, such as, “What impact did the teaching of Jesus during his life have on the history of civilization?” After reading the book, Dr. George L. Murphy, author of  Toward A Christian View of A Scientific World  wrote, “I think the book should be helpful especially for the increasing number of people who don't know much about the faith and are unfamiliar with the traditional language.”