Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My Unusual View of Christianity

by Robert C. Frank 

I have been a Christian my entire life, but in recent years I have been struggling with the question of what there is about my life that would make my view of Christianity different from that of others? Then it occurred to me one day that when I was a research scientist at the General Motors Research Laboratories in the 1950’s and 60’s, I was doing research in a new field of science called materials science. It is the study of the behavior of atoms in solid materials and it required me to develop an unusual perspective. I had to look at the behavior of billions of atoms and find explanations for why they were doing what they were doing. 

 As a result, when I studied Christianity, I looked at the behavior of billions of followers of Jesus and asked why they were doing what they were doing. That is very different from the traditional view of Christianity which is usually about our personal relationship with God. My view leads to a broader understanding of Christianity. It is like being on the International Space Station looking at the earth and asking, “Why are those billions of Christians on earth doing what they are doing?” 

 In 2009, I wrote the book Christ’s Team: A 21st Century View of Christianity based on my observations of Christianity in the current world. It provides answers to questions that most Christians never ask, questions like “Since God is our creator, why is what these Christians are doing important for the creation of an improved civilization on earth?” When you see how this viewpoint makes the whole story of Christianity fit together, it is a remarkable story.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Story of God Continuing the Creation of Civilization

by Robert C. Frank

The recent PBS documentary about the Mayo Clinic produced by Ken Burns and his associates is a reminder of the teamwork between science and Christianity that has often moved civilization ahead in large steps. A team of doctors consisting of William Worrall Mayo and his two sons Will and Charlie started a small clinic in the once small city of Rochester, Minnesota in the late 1800’s and were aided in their work by St. Mary’s Hospital, that was built and managed separately by Franciscan nuns. The documentary provides an opportunity to compare medical facilities as they existed in the 1800’s with medical science in the 21st century. It shows clearly that God’s creation of civilization has been continuing and often dramatically. Today the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester involves a 2,207 bed hospital with 115 operating rooms located on three campuses. 

The documentary clearly showed how important teamwork was for their achievement. Originally, the doctors maintained the Clinic and the nuns maintained St. Mary’s Hospital separately but worked together so closely that it seemed like they were one unit. Over the years, the doctors at the Clinic were noted for their exceptional compassion for their patients and treated them as their number one concern. They were also very open in their efforts to find solutions to medical problems and shared with each other and with doctors from all over the world. It was their ability to weave together a wide variety of medical skills supporting each other that made the Clinic the institution it is today. The website for the documentary about the Mayo Clinic is: https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-mayo-clinic

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Christianity-Science Team

by Robert C. Frank

An observable and indisputable truth is that civilization improved very slowly for thousands of years and now it is improving very rapidly. My view of why this is happening is that the rapid improvement is being produced by the teamwork between Christianity and science.

The servant leadership teaching of Jesus Christ during his life on earth made humans aware that every human life was important. He healed the sick regardless who they were and taught people to take care of each other. His death and resurrection brought forgiveness that provided healing of human relations. Unfortunately, without science, Christianity was limited in the tools it had to work with to carry out God’s plan. Science provides the knowledge required for technology and technology produces new tools to aid people with special needs. For more about science's contribution to Christianity see the slide presentation "How Science Aided the Spread of the Gospel" that is the second one on the right.

One example of Christianity-science teamwork is the construction of a children's hospital by International Health Partners at Zinga, north of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania . Leaders, Dr. Dennis Lofstrom and his wife Paula have been visiting churches in the USA for some time seeking financial support. Motivated by Christianity and aided by science the hospital developed slowly at first and now the buildings are going up more rapidly and being equipped with modern medical equipment. The development of the hospital is a remarkable example of the result of teamwork between Christianity and science. Read about the hospital at www.ihptz.org. The work is ongoing, but many African children are now beginning to receive the medical aid they need. (A revised version of an essay posted November 2016)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

When Faith Returns

by Robert C. Frank

In the raw emotion of the current turbulent civilization in America, Christianity seems to have accepted a position on the sidelines. There is very little teamwork and the truth is difficult to sort out. Judgementalism and finger pointing are rampant. To many of us it is reminiscent of the situation in America that existed in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. You can find many books in the library published in that period that challenged Christianity, our American government, and our educational system as they existed at that time. In that earlier period, the social turbulence was triggered by the murders of three great leaders, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. as well as the accidental killing of four students at Kent State University.  Today it is caused by the accidental introduction of a whole new form of government that doesn’t seem to have any relationship with democracy.

The social turbulence of the late 1960’s and early 70’s reached a maximum in May of 1970 when many of the major universities closed their doors and told their students to go home. Faith in Christianity, American government, and our educational system returned shortly after that and within a year or two, civilization began to improve again. I believe the current social turbulence will also reach a maximum and then faith in Christianity will return again. The history of Christianity is laced with misguided leaders who were self-appointed messiahs, but all have disappeared and the story of Jesus Christ, the servant leader and human expression of our loving God lives on. I am convinced that a new expression of Christianity will emerge and lead us into a wonderful new world with better lives for all people.



Friday, May 18, 2018

We Are Christ's Team

by Robert C. Frank

You and I are members of Christ’s Team. Our purpose in life is to assist God in the creation of a mature civilization on earth using the teachings of Jesus Christ as our guide. We are to depend upon our relationships with each other in our efforts just as the parts of our bodies depend upon each other to make our bodies function properly (1 Cor. 12). We all stumble in our efforts and need God’s forgiveness to put us back on the path that God has provided. Aware that there would be no Bibles available for each of us without science and technology, we must continue to use the gift of science and technology to improve communication and relieve suffering. A new wonderful world will be emerging, but it will require a team effort guided by the spirit of Jesus Christ, our coach.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Teamwork or Chaos

by Robert C. Frank

Those of us living today are being given a remarkable education. We get to observe the comparison of modern democratic governments involving teamwork with ancient imperial forms of government controlled by kings. Jesus Christ was a servant leader who taught others to be servant leaders and eventually, as people became educated, that led to democratic governments where all people have equal voice and take turns leading. Decisions are made by advice provided by many people with different views and finally there is thoughtful agreement of the group. In ancient imperial forms of government, one person made all the decisions with or without advice from anyone else and decisions could be altered and reversed at any time.

There are still remnants of democracies in the world today, but there are currently ideologies threatening to limit control of governments to small groups or individual leaders. Imperial governments work when most of those being governed are uneducated, but when they are educated, and communication is as good as it is today, it leads to chaos. The change in leadership that started in America a short time ago has involved too little teamwork and is in danger of becoming imperialistic, leaving people in the country stuck with chaotic decision making.

If the Christianity illustrated by Jesus Christ’s servant leadership does not prevail, we are all going to live in a chaotic world. That is why the teaching of Christianity is so important today. Christians have the ability to create a better world for everyone, but it must involve teamwork. The better world of the future will require Christ’s Team.