About Frank and “Frank Answers”

My name is Frank Senn. I’m a retired Lutheran pastor living in Evanston, IL. I was in parish ministry for forty years and taught in a seminary full time for four years. I served five different congregations in South Bend, IN, Louisville, KY, Chicago, IL, Lincolnshire, IL, and Evanston, IL. I was assistant professor of liturgics at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago 1978-81. I continue to teach occasionally and have been an adjunct professor at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. I have a Ph.D. in theology (liturgical studies) from the University of Notre Dame.

I am the author of about a dozen books, which are listed under “Publications,” and hundreds of articles and reviews in journals and encyclopedias.

Here’s the story of how “Frank Answers” originated. Toward the end of my pastorate at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Evanston, where I served for 23 years, I used my “homily time” at midweek Lenten Vespers for Q & A. I often gave homilies on the Catechism at Lenten Vespers, with the idea that Lent is a time for everyone to “return to the catechumenate” (or at least the Catechism). People wrote out questions in advance. I sorted through them, organized them, and gave answers the following week. It was well received.

Then a member of the congregation suggested that I ought to continue this kind of pastoral question-and-answer on the church web site. We invited questions from anyone, not just members of the congregation. We specified that the questions had to be related to some issue within my areas of expertise—theology, worship, religion, spirituality. All together I answered fifty questions by the time I retired in June 2013. As the former pastor of Immanuel, of course, I had to abandon the church’s web site.

Eventually, all the “Frank Answers” had to be deleted from the Immanuel web site. So they were lost to the internet. But there was continued interest in some of them. As I looked over the answers I had written I thought some of them ought to be salvaged.  So now in retirement (and really so far not lacking in things to do—especially writing and teaching) I thought maybe “Frank Answers” should come out of retirement. I rebooted this new series it by posting some of the old Questions and Answers.

This new blog was inaugurated with the same idea. Anyone can ask a question. You don’t have to be a church person, a Christian, or even religious. But the questions have to be in my areas of expertise—theology, religion, worship, ritual, morality, spirituality, parenting, maybe even yoga. (In retirement I’ve become an ardent yogi and have studied yoga history and philosophy.) I’m bold enough to give answers to what I know and have opinions on, but hopefully not foolish enough to write about issues in which I lack expertise (even though I might have opinions). I’ll keep it up as long as it’s fun for me. After all, I’m retired. I can do the things I want to do.

So please send your questions.

Pastor Frank Senn

3 Comments

  1. love the site. some real meaningful discussion. thanks Frank. love the piece about skinny dipping. awesome.

  2. I could identify with the piçture of the two adolescent boys wrestling in the communal shower after swimming. Such occurrence was prevalent in the course of cleansing off the chlorine after our swimming lesson. The picture of the packed shower with the two sides of students seemed quite disciplined in contrast. I remember some sponges having been hurled around when our form [grade] was in the shower. Occasionally one lad would bring in a coal tar soap bar and this was thrown from one side to the other! If it got a bit raucous the coach would intervene and call time on the shower session, but we were not time constrained as it was the last lesson of the day.

    • Frank Senn

      Thanks for your memories. The two adolescent boys wrestling in the shower is a stand-in for two adolescent boys named Frank and Gary wrestling in the pool during free time. I don’t think our coach Mr. Heis would have tolerated much horsing around in the shower. The “packed shower” photo was undoubtedly posed so that no frontal views of nude boys would appear in Life magazine. See “Frank Answers About Swimming Naked” to see the article being discussed here.

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