Friday, April 17, 2020

God's Miracle in the Spring of the Year 2020

by Robert C. Frank

On Easter Sunday morning in the year 2020, except for a few rare cases, there were no gatherings for worship services in Christian churches as had been the custom for thousands of years. This unusual situation occurred because Christians had been alerted to the fact that a disease caused by viruses was spreading around the world when people were in closeness to each other. The cancellation of the gathering of Christians for worship on Easter Sunday morning was a massive undertaking because Christian churches are now distributed over the entire earth. To achieve the purpose, God performed a miracle with the aid of science.

Most Christian churches now have their own websites on the Internet to keep their members informed of their various activities. The members of the churches who took care of the websites were aware that during the past year, colleges and universities were using their websites to permit their alumni to watch sporting events on their computers and iPhones using a process called “streaming.”

So, on Easter morning in the year 2020, churches around the world began streaming their church services that were being held with only the pastor and a few musicians in attendance. Anyone with a computer or an iPhone anywhere on earth could tune in to the service at any church and receive the gospel message. Since it involved churches all over the world, it was another of God’s miracles that was carried out with the aid of science. God is still creating civilization on earth with the aid of Christ’s Team and science. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Christianity and Science Are Both Needed in Combating 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 people are dying. It appears that our best chance of bringing the virus under control will benefit from the assistance of both Christianity and science. Christianity provides the compassion, integrity and teamwork that is needed, and science provides the technological tools needed for medical assistance. Christianity has a long history of involvement in the improvement of medical practice. Only a century ago, many of the best hospitals in the world were Christian hospitals.

Today, Christian church congregations are located 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 mingled with the people and helped all those his life touched lead better lives. He healed the sick and helped the poor. Today his teachings train his followers to become servant leaders like himself who continue to care for the sick and the poor.

However, as the book Christ’s Team: A 21st Century View of Christianity helps us understand, it is the connection between Christianity and science that has proved to be so important in the improvement of the quality of human life. They each make important contributions, but they depend on each other to fulfill their purpose. It was science that made it possible for Christians to have their own copies of the Bible and it was Christians who encouraged people to learn to read. Today, to combat the global attacks of coronavirus, COVID-19, both the worldwide Christian Church teachings and the powerful tools of medical science will be needed.

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