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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

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Submission to Authority — and the Gag Reflex

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:17) On Facebook, which is as good a source of national news as any, I ran across a post lambasting our present president […]

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Too Many People Are Going to Hell

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” Ezekiel 33:11 I intensely dislike my phone company. Every month they send […]

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Eating with Sinners — It’s Not So Difficult

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” (Luke 15:2) One of many accusations leveled against Jesus by religious leaders was that He consorted — and actually seemed to enjoy being […]

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Why Many Christians Doubt That God Loves Us

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.” (John 14:7) The 1980s was a big time in establishment Christianity, and as college students, my husband the Norwegian Artist and I attended the closest thing to a […]

Isn’t the “Good News” Supposed to Be Good?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.” (2 Timothy 4:13) A central aspect of the gospel — which means “good news” — is that the news, indeed, should be […]

Is America Doomed?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Live a life worthy of the Lord and . . . please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power.” (Colossians 1:11) It’s difficult to take a […]

God Gave You Your Birthday. Celebrate It!

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you.” (Isaiah 43:4) We are celebrating a spate of birthdays in our household these days, events that don’t necessarily stop with cake. The person of honor is […]

Abusive Christianity

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) Any time we are in an abusive or controlling relationship, it takes effort to emerge from it, our independence and self-worth repaired and brought back to health and normalcy. Information that we […]

Are You Ashamed of Your Job Title?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’” (Matthew 9:18) How we define ourselves matters. All too frequently, we squeeze ourselves into little boxes, ones set before us by a corporate society that […]

Does God Care If We Are “Excellent”?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears.” (Hosea 6:4) It’s difficult keeping up with the latest buzz words of contemporary […]

Please, Think Twice about Passing out the Bible Tract

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22) I ran across a bawdy joke the other day that is definitely not the thing one shares with acquaintances or distant […]

“Foreigners” Are God’s Children, Too

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.” (Ruth 1:16-17) As a Christian […]

Three Things God Wants Us to DO

posted by Carolyn Henderson

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) Those of us who attended church in the 1980s […]

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8) Whenever I tell an appalling church story, I am sure to be scolded. “Not all churches are like this!” is the general response. “You shouldn’t be so harsh […]

Family and Friends Are Not Dysfunctional

posted by Carolyn Henderson

People matter. “Of course they do,” we all nod our heads emphatically.  A ridiculously easy way to bring people to tears is to show them a clip of a politician, movie celebrity, or extraordinarily rich and famous businessperson wiping their eyes and […]

Psychotic Cats and God’s Love

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I am writing this with a psychotic cat sleeping on my lap. I recognize that, to people who don’t like cats (and even to many who do), ALL cats are psychotic, but this one is a rescue kitty, chosen by one […]

Finding the True God When We’re Worshiping the Wrong One

posted by Carolyn Henderson

There is a tiresome joke among Christians about patience that goes like this: “I don’t want to pray for patience, because by golly, God will send me all sorts of circumstances to try it!” Ha Ha. What’s not so funny […]

Four Thoughts about Thanking God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Saying Thank You to God does not have to be a chore — but then again, given the way we are instructed to do things within a cold, contemporary, corporate Christian environment, it is a bit difficult: “We must thank […]

Forgiveness Is a Promise, Not a Contractual Agreement

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Too many Christians spend too much time trying to placate a God who will not be satisfied with anything they do, simply because He dislikes them so much. Despite this being an inaccurate understanding of the intimate relationship between a loving, […]

5 Things to Know about Forgiveness

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The first time I heard this sentence: “Jesus talked about hell more than anything else,” I knew it was inaccurate, but hadn’t read the Bible enough to say so with confidence. Now that I have grown up, as a Christian, […]

Anxious and Troubled about Many Things

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-41 is a familiar one to many, especially women. The other day, I even ran across the term, “Martha Syndrome,” which I’m sure I have, because of a pronounced tendency (according to every […]

No Fear — Experience Christ’s True Love

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Jesus is love.” How often do we hear this? If we’re around Christians, or within Christian circles, then we’ve probably heard it a lot. At the same time, however, it wouldn’t be unusual if we were confused, because, though people talk about Jesus, and […]

We Don’t Need Celebrity Christian Permission to Stand up for Ourselves

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I don’t tend to keep up on “Christian News,” because it pretty much looks like the standard misinformation and disinformation that the rest of the media world puts forth, only with the words “Jesus” and “God” thrown in enough to […]

Practical Christianity: Tangible Things We Can Do to Live Our Faith (Part 2 of 3)

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In Part 1 of this miniseries, we looked at the Great Commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). It shouldn’t come […]

Practical Christianity: Tangible Things We Can Do to Live Our Faith (Part 1 of 3)

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Several times, I have had people write, or say to me, “I want to live my life for Christ, but I don’t know how. It seems too difficult.” It is, and it isn’t, and at base, living for Christ involves […]

The Discipline of God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Discipline is an ambiguous word, easily misunderstood because its two major applications are so at variance with one another. In a good sense, discipline is what athletes do — training their bodies to achieve top performance through practice, hard work, persistence, […]

“Jesus Loves You!” — Enough, Already

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being told, at every store I enter or order from online, that I am receiving the lowest prices — ever! The statement is made so much and so sweepingly, that […]

Are We Being Bullied to Think a Certain Way?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Think of the term, Judeo-Christian values. We bandy it about, especially we Christians, and the idea is that, because Jews and Christians share a common heritage (the Old Testament, and Abraham as our collective father), we should support one another, without question […]

Accidents Happen, but You’re Not One of Them

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In case you’re wondering why my typing is all off and squiggly, I cut my finger last night while I was slicing bread. Like most accidents, it happened quickly and was definitely unintentional, and yes, I know that it was […]

5 Blessings You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Enjoy

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Years ago, I spoke with a new mom about being lonely, and mentioned that I had experienced my share of that painful condition. “Oh, I’m not LONELY!” she shot back, as if we were discussing leprosy or something. You get the same reaction when you admit, “I would […]

Are We Stuck with Our Bad Choices Forever?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Tough love. It’s an oxymoronic — or maybe just moronic — psychological phrase that has crept its way into Christian thought. We’ve been told it’s the solution to codependent relationships, another psychophrase bandied about more frequently than words like grace, mercy, charity, patience, or […]

When the Prodigal Son (or Daughter) Is Yours

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15: 11 – 31) is a familiar one to many — sometimes because we’ve been the person who has broken our parent’s heart ourselves, other times because we are that hurting parent. The principle message […]

What Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that sound good, but get so taken over by marketers and manufacturers that its true meaning gets lost. People are subtly, or not so subtly, nudged into buying the perfect gift, and celebration turns […]

If You’re Not Jewish, Why Do You Act as if You Are?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Because someone, somewhere will be quick to take offense, let’s waste the first paragraph of this article by stating that I have nothing against Jewish people, and if you are Jewish, I’m glad for you. I’m not out to convert […]

Despicable You? No, Not True.

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Are you a Mary? Or a Martha? Actually, it’s a dumb question, especially if you’re male, but if you’re female and you’re in an emotionally charged women’s Bible study focusing on your inhibitions and failures, doubts, anxieties, insecurities, and foibles, you might […]

Desperately Need a Place of Rest? You’ve Got One

posted by Carolyn Henderson

One recent weekend, I made mental plans the eve before for gentle recreation: a little quilting, time in the sun with the strawberry plants and their weeds, a game or two of cribbage with whoever in the family isn’t afraid of my prowess […]

Your Learning Curve, as a Christian

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“When God dies, does He fall down from the sky?” I’m sure it doesn’t take long to identify a few theological misconceptions in this question, but when you consider that the inquirer was a four-year-old, you have to admit a […]

Why Are Christians So Weird?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

On one of my blogs (not this one, so don’t freak out), I can see what phrases people type into the search engine to find me. One that frequently shows up is a variation of this: “Why are Christians so […]

Child of God: You Are Much Beloved

posted by Carolyn Henderson

My niece has a friend whose son has tumors. At a recent visit to the children’s hospital, they passed by a little girl — 3 years old — surrounded by her stuffed animals. As my niece wrote on Facebook: “She […]

Angry Jesus: I Don’t Want to Follow Him, Either

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I ran into a statement the other day that knocked me back on my fundament (isn’t that clever? I managed to not use the words, “butt,” or worse, “ass,” and thereby avoided offending anybody). The discussion had to do with […]

Do Negative Thoughts Affect Your Prayers?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

There’s a difference between the gods of the world and the one, true, eternal God. While that sounds like an obvious statement, it doesn’t seem so when you talk to many Christians who, purportedly, worship the latter. A colleague of […]

“Reading the Bible Makes Me Fall Asleep”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I was chatting with a gracious and dedicated person the other day who blurted out, “I can’t read the Bible for 20 minutes without falling asleep!” You know, not many people are this honest, and if more of us were, […]

Jesus Isn’t All You Need — He’s All You’ve GOT

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a social situation, somebody asks you how you’re doing, and since the most significant event in your life lately has been the loss of your job, or the diagnosis of a serious […]

Christianity, and the Problem of Hell

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Most people, Christians or not, don’t like to talk about hell. Many seekers abhor the subject because they ask, quite logically, “How can a God who professes to be loving, kind, faithful, and merciful toss anyone into hell? I mean, […]

“God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” Yuck.

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Okay, let’s find a Bible verse. Ready? “God helps those who help themselves.” I’ll give you a few minutes to look, but to save you time, you’ll find it in 2 Obligations 13: 36,  right before the “Cleanliness is next to […]

Is It Okay to Talk to the Grave of Your Loved One?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Those of you who have read me for awhile can probably guess the answer to any question I posit that begins with, “Is it okay to . . .?” Yeah, the answer’s probably yes, unless the question is something like, […]

This Article Really Isn’t about Sex

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Let’s talk about sex! Oh, don’t shudder, or salivate, depending upon how the word — and the concept — affect you. Sex is a gift God gave us, and we’ve obviously used it, given the 7 billion of us wandering […]

Nasty, Biting — Unintentional — Things We Say

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Want to make a positive change in your world, today? It’s fast, it’s easy — okay, so it’s not necessarily socially convivial — but it involves nothing more than saying a simple sentence, along the lines of, “Wow. That was […]

God, the Dentist

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Yesterday, I spent two hours in the dentist’s chair. Like many professionals these days, the dentist, and her crew, were all considerably younger than I. Maybe it’s because I remind them of their mothers that they were so solicitous, gently […]

Reading through the Bible in a Year (YAWN)

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I did the most deliciously naughty thing in the bathtub last night. There. I knew we couldn’t communicate until you put your coffee cup down and focused on me. I read a book while I was soaking, which isn’t naughty […]

Just How Naked Do I Have to Get?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When you’ve been a Christian long enough, you start to see a theme in discussion material. One of the laments you frequently hear is, “There’s no UNITY! If we were truly one in Christ, there would be no denominations!” Another […]

When You’re Not as Happy as You Wish You Were

posted by Carolyn Henderson

It’s not wrong, unusual, or evil to want to be happy. If it weren’t such a basic human drive, the pursuit of it wouldn’t have been mentioned as an inalienable right in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. And yes, my […]

Money, Power, Fame, and Name

posted by Carolyn Henderson

It is a driving factor of human existence that we crave being loved and valued. We’ve got one shot through this life, and within the years we have been given, we ache to know that our lives have meaning — […]

Christianity Is Simpler Than You Think

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I know some people will jump all over this one, but I find my most effective time to pray is around 1 in the morning, when I have been awakened from a sound sleep and am still in a somnambulant state. […]

“I’m a Christian, but I’m not Religious”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Have you ever said this? I have: “I’m a Christian, but I’m not religious.” Religious, as an adjective, isn’t a particularly complimentary word, because it implies that the person participating in it is too focused on outward trappings: saying Thee […]

Two Reasons Why the World Hates Christians

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians have a bad reputation for being unkind, intolerant, harsh, judgmental, and self-righteous. Oh, and uneducated. Now of course, anytime you speak about, or live, moral absolutes, you’ll get attacked by people who don’t want to be told — either […]

You’re a Name, not a Number

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I have just spent the last 45 minutes on hold waiting to talk to a representative from a government agency. At the start of the call, I was asked to enter my personalized identification number, which, in accordance with the […]

Self-Acceptance: Why Is This So Difficult?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Self-acceptance is one of those universal human issues that Christians aren’t supposed to talk about because, as we all know, we shouldn’t be worried about “self” anymore. And therein lies the problem — not the worrying about ourselves, but in […]

Quit Yelling at Your Brother

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In our family, we have lively discussions about everything, and because we love one another, we don’t let disagreements get in the way. This is fortunate, because if we did, we would all be living in separate houses. No, it’s […]

Surviving the Holidays

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Tradition is both a good thing and a bad. In a world, and a life, in which so much is out of our control, holiday traditions offer a secure, steady foundation of things that never change. Our employment situation may […]

Feeling Abandoned?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Let’s face it. Most of us wandering around on the planet today have not seen Jesus in person, nor have we audibly heard his voice, emanating from the sky or from the back of the laundry room. The vast majority […]

Baaaaaaaaadddd Christians — Redeemed!

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Within Christian circles, we enjoy stories about people who have really, really messed up and then, through Christ, turned their lives around. You know, former gang members, Mafia hit men, millionaires who lost it all and lived in the streets, […]

The Four-Year-Old Christian

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We were building sandcastles at the beach — the Norwegian Artist, Tired of Being Youngest, Small Person, and I — when an argument arose about the green and red plastic seahorse molds. Other than the colors, they were identical, but […]

Praying for Miley, Britney, and Lindsay

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan — Hollywood’s sweethearts have their issues, and we, for some reason, feel as if we have to deal with them. “We need to pray for these young women,” I have heard, and read, over […]

Only . . . BELIEVE!

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I love chick flicks, and if we’re going to have a long-term relationship, you’re going to need to accept this. In the 2010 flick, When in Rome, five people stuffed into a Vespa 400 microcar are careening toward the glass doors […]

Three Halloween No-No’s for Christians

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (see, The Big Halloween Bash), not only because it’s always been a truly fun, family affair in our household, but because so many legalistic Christians decry it. I know, it’s naughty of me […]

Not All Homeschoolers Are Christian

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I garden, and knit. In case you were concerned, I wash my hands after weeding the zucchini and before I pick up the cashmere. As a well rounded person who gardens and knits, I do recognize and accept that some […]

Don’t Be Afraid of What You See

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Without my glasses, I’m as blind as a rock. The myopic gene with which my father gifted me is so bad (“How bad is it?”) that I got into an argument with an ophthalmologist once about when I first needed […]

Snipping and Sniping at God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

My most recent bureaucratic nightmare involved securing a piece of paper from the local school district. As a homeschooler, I have fortunately not had to often enter the establishment’s hallowed halls, but this last week made up for years of […]

The Statement No Christian Should Make

posted by Carolyn Henderson

As a Christian and a human being, I avoid the word “should,” because it’s generally used by Person A against Person B, to get Person B to do what Person A wants. So when I use it, I’m serious. And […]

Praying: How Specific Must We Be?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I live in a household where the husband changes the light bulbs. It’s not that it’s beyond my job description; it’s just that I seriously don’t like ladders and I’m not particularly good at dismantling overhead light units without breaking […]

Previous Posts

Three "Christian" Teachings That Jesus Didn't Teach
"For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week's assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes ...

posted 11:45:01am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

How Come God Never Speaks Directly to You?
"Then the voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 I'm sure many of you have had the experience of someone accosting you and announcing, [caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignleft" width="351"] Frequently, ...

posted 11:30:31am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Does Jesus Get Mad When We Complain?
"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Some of the most insensitive sayings, passed on via social media memes, are posted by people who call themselves Christians. There is a lamentable desire to encapsulate ...

posted 1:51:31pm Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

When Christian Leaders Say, "Jump!" Do We Leap?
"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you." James 1:5 For many years, my literary junk food was celebrity people magazines. Once every two weeks I headed to the ...

posted 12:51:02pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

How to Recognize a False Prophet
"Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11) Recently I ran across a blog from a mega-pastor who was refuting the teachings of another mega-pastor. Mega-Pastor B had some decent things to say about grace, mercy, ...

posted 1:41:02pm Aug. 07, 2015 | read full post »

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