Welcome to my blog, “Frank-Answers.” I began posting articles on this blog on April 1, 2015. You can read about me and why I started this web page in “About Frank and ‘Frank-Answers.’”
Here’s how this blog works. I answer questions submitted by readers. Questions submitted from the blog platform come to me anonymously, so I don’t know who is asking the question. If the question is on a topic I’m willing and able to answer, I’ll do so. You are also invited to comment on my answers through the “comment” feature provided on the blog platform. But I get to approve all comments and your name or ID will appear with it. I want to keep the comments civil and informative, even on controversial topics.
An “answer” can be explored further through the comments section or it may prompt a new question. We can return to topics already discussed. The articles are archived, so comments made long after the date an article was posted are still welcome to keep the discussion going or to reignite discussion on the topic.
When I started “Frank Answers” on my church web site, I received a lot of questions such as church people might ask. Now that I’m retired from pastoral ministry and I’m “out there” on the worldwide web, I get different kinds of questions. Many of the questions I answer concern liturgy and worship practices because that has been my academic field of study and I’m still teaching and writing about liturgy. Many of my articles focus on the body—in liturgy and theology, as well as in philosophy and sexuality— because the body has become a particular interest of mine in recent years. I have an interest in yoga and environmental issues, so a number of articles deal with those topics. I’ve also posted a few sermons I’ve preached.
Unlike printed articles, blog articles are “living” documents, that is, evolving pieces. Sometimes long after an article has been posted I notice an error or think an idea can be stated better or I get a new insight or new information. So I don’t hesitate to go in and correct errors or rewrite a paragraph or add new information. So I invite users to return to a favorite topic.
I have enjoyed finding images for the articles. Blog writers usually break up their essay-type articles with images that enhance or support the topic being discussed. Hopefully the images are in public domain for free use. If one is not, please notify me and I will take it down. Sometimes when looking for images for a new article I find one that is just right for another article. So I may add or change images as I find new ones that seem appropriate, just as I do with words. You can’t do that in a print medium.
After a timid start, I began including illustrative images of nude bodies. I deal with a number of topics for which nude images are appropriate: Christ’s passion and resurrection, sexuality, swimming naked, yoga, etc. I have flagged those articles that display nude images by including the category or tag of “nakedness” or “nudity” among the topics addressed or represented in the article, to forewarn readers who might be offended. I’ve also indicated advisory: some nude images or warning: some explicit images at the top of the article.
I try to avoid blatant pornography, although some of the images may strike some readers as pornographic. Indeed, some of the Greek etchings, ancient Indian sculptures, and medieval drawings are pornographic! But they’re also illustrative of life and philosophy in those cultures. I do not regard displays of the nude body in art and photography sinful. The naked human body is how God created us; clothing is a cultural addition. It is a condition of what theology calls “our fallen state.” A condition of our fallen state is that we experience body shame. Many of my questioners and commentators have expressed their difficulties with this issue.
I admit that some of the questions I’ve been asked pushed me beyond my previous ideas, especially in areas regarding human sexuality. In preparing answers I’ve done research and have come to different conclusions, particularly in biblical interpretation. By critical biblical interpretation I mean trying to see clearly what the text actually says in the light of its biblical, historical. and cultural context, not what we think it says on the basis of conventional assumptions (often derived from our own historical and cultural contexts).
Since these articles are sometimes evolving pieces, I invite you to return again to answers on topics that interest you. They may be slightly different.
General comments about this blog are welcome below in the comments feature. I have enjoyed writing these answers. I hope you enjoy reading them.
Pastor Frank Senn
Updated August 15, 2021