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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity Archives

It’s a Secret, but Many Christians Do Distrust God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 We all approach life from a certain world view. And while the dictators of politically correct doctrine decry bias as a bad thing, it’s really just a realistic thing. No matter […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Christians Who Choose to Leave “Church”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” Hebrews 13:13 If you’ve ever done anything in contrast to the status quo, you’ve no doubt been shot with criticism by those who remain in the […]

Contemporary Corporate Christianity

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land […]

Does It Bother You, That People Lie to Us?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:3) For many years, like many people, I was contentedly asleep, focusing the majority of my time on minor, day to day things, allowing those things to swallow up an […]

Why Do We Follow These Leaders?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) Jesus did […]

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 […]

Where Does All the Tithe Money Go?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.” (Acts 4:32) If you attend conventional church for any time at all, you will […]

Corporate Christianity: 5 Ways to Stop Thinking Like Office Workers

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Family, teamwork, community — for years these words have circulated through our corporate business culture as a means of convincing people that the workplace is warm, caring, fuzzy, and cuddly. What’s intriguing is that the same words are employed within Christian […]

It’s Comforting to Be Wrong

posted by Carolyn Henderson

It is an never-ending source of comfort to be me that I am so frequently wrong. Never-ending, because on a daily basis I manage to miss the mark more than once, whether I’m talking about the weather or making a […]

You Don’t Belong to Any Church: You Belong to God

posted by Carolyn Henderson

You don’t have to be a student of political science to recognize that there is no perfect, man-made governing system. Even democracy — which is not what we live under in the United States — works better on paper, or […]

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 […]

Three New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The problem with New Year’s resolutions isn’t that they’re easy to make and difficult to keep — which is true on both counts — it’s that we feel like such failures when we fall, and give up, mid-February, on the […]

“If I Leave Church, Will I Lose My Friends?”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

For many people, the one thing that stands between their leaving a church situation that is not working for them, or staying within and being unhappy, is friendship. Understandably, wherever we spend our time is where we make friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and […]

Are You in the Process of Leaving Church?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Leaving church — whether a specific fellowship or the industrial model altogether — is not a decision people make lightly. Nor is it one that others take well, and if you are in the process of dropping out of a […]

God — Coming Out of the Closet

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Some unknown,  unnamed, presumably existent person, long ago, said that we should never talk about sex, religion, and politics. Aside from this eliminating pretty much everything interesting worth discussing — including the weather since, with the growing mantra of “Global […]

The Inadequacy of Corporate Prayer

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Although it’s been years since I’ve been in a regular church situation, I can still conjure up the feelings of dread I felt at “prayer time,” sitting around a circle (we’re told it’s “intimate”) and sharing details about our lives. The worst part was […]

Why Do We Follow Celebrity Christians?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I have spent a goodly portion of my life working past, and through, an impatient, calloused, uncaring, indifferent, and unlikable God, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only spiritual seeker with this issue. The Querulous God is regularly taught […]

Why Standing up for Yourself — at Church — Is So Important

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Just how obedient are Christians expected to be — and who expects them to be this way? In recent posts, I’ve been discussing Christian submission toward leadership (Must We Obey Church Authorities? and Is It So Bad to Be a Lone Wolf […]

Stay Alert — Burnt Toast Is the Least of Our Concerns

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We are the infelicitous owners of a truly dreadful toaster. It has one setting — burnt and black — no matter where we turn the dial, and lately it has decided that it only wants to toast one side of the bread. Those […]

Is It So Bad to Be a Lone-Wolf Christian?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Self-defense is a good thing to know — many women wish we possessed enough simple martial arts skill that we could tumble an assailant to the ground, whimpering. But physically defending ourselves isn’t the only arena of importance, and even if we can’t find, or afford, […]

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 […]

Reading the Bible without Supervision

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Many Christians — myself included — have looked to various events and stories of the Bible as paralleling our own lives. We derive wisdom, teaching, instruction and comfort from the Exodus adventure and subsequent wanderings of the Israelites in the desert, […]

What If You’re Too Timid to Be “Bold for Christ”?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I became a Christian at 19. For the first 25 years, I diligently attended church services, which means that I came into regular contact with Christians comfortable in that setting, and for the last eight years, I have been transitioning […]

Free Yourself from Bible Study Myths

posted by Carolyn Henderson

“Why won’t you attend Bible study?” a man asked me once. “Do you hate studying the Bible?” Seriously, when you get a question framed like that, it’s best to just talk about the weather. The person asking will never understand […]

Looking for Your Ministry? 5 Ways to Find It

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Many Christians, especially in church settings, focus — obsess — about finding their ministry, and they pore through 1 Corinthians 12 searching for suggestions: “Do I have faith? or a message of wisdom? I’m pretty sure I don’t have the ability […]

The Purposeless, Driven Life

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians come in all shapes, sizes, and maturity levels, and the more honest we are, the more fun we are to be with, even if what we’re saying or working through is painful. The other day, someone told me: “I’m so […]

Christian Misfits: “You Have a Beautiful Face”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I’m sure that most of you, at some time, have found yourself in public in a somewhat disheveled state. “Nobody I know will see me,” you tell yourself. And, of course, that’s when too many people you know do, indeed […]

Is God Calling You?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In our church days, when I sat in an interlocking chair, stared ahead at the big white screen, and sang words that flashed by, I used to wonder, vaguely, if God was calling me to do something, and I wasn’t hearing. […]

Is Singing in Church the Only Way to Worship?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

If you’re a Christian, and you’ve attended church, then you probably recognize the term: “Worship Service.” This is the time, just after the announcements and immediately before the sermon, when the congregation corporately sings — from the hymnal or off the PowerPoint […]

Frightened, Freaked Out Christians

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Like various government, corporate, and financial agencies, I scroll through Facebook to get an idea of how the populace is thinking, and the other day someone posted a video clip of Retired Air Force Lt. General McInerney — somber, serious, […]

“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 […]

When Mighty Church Leaders Fall, Do They Crush the People Underneath?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In our younger years, my husband the Norwegian Artist and I bicycled through small-town America, and for housing, we often asked a local church if we could camp in their basement. Encountering everything from open-armed hospitality to outright hostility, we ultimately found […]

Christianity Is Not a Political Party

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We have two sets of friends that we have always wanted to put together in the same room: Set A is classic U.S.A. Republican party, and they worship George W. Bush. The world ended on the day he left the […]

Longing for Success

posted by Carolyn Henderson

If you want people to read an article you write, or watch a video you post, just make sure that the title has the word, “Success” in it. (I know. I just did that. Did it work?) Fortunately, I am […]

Alone But Not Lonely

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I live in a society that is desperately afraid of being alone. So alarmed are we of solitude that we define normalcy by how many groups we belong to: “I go to church, Sunday School, and small groups.” “I volunteer through our Give-Back-to-Others program at […]

How Long Will We Let Other Christians Call Us Dogs?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Those of you who have lived with, or through, a fifteen-year-old girl know that adolescents of this age generally fight self-esteem issues. Call it hormones, peer pressure, society, or fat days, 15-year-old girls need a lot of love and reassurance […]

What Is Backsliding, and Are You Doing It?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Too many of us are acquainted with the word, “backsliding,” which, in its purest form, means to lose one’s resolve to follow a chosen path. A recovering alcoholic who re-enters the bar circuit is an example — surrounding oneself by temptation, and resuming behavior […]

Should You Question Authority?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Should you question authority? You bet. Generally I avoid words like “should,” “ought,” and “must,” because they are frequently misused to manipulate people into doing things that they don’t want to do, as in, “You should go to Sunday School.” […]

Business Advice from a Homemaker

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Recently, I spent an hour on the phone with a scam artist who was pushing an extremely expensive, vastly overrated SEO service onto an unsuspecting client of mine. A 30-second Internet search brought up four top stories about the questionable ethics of […]

Once You’re Awake — Now What?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

The other day, I found myself in the middle of a church picnic. It was totally unintentional, and I’ll tell you the story someday, but the upshot is, I was chatting with a safe woman from the group, when I tossed out […]

Are You Awake?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

  The Bible talks a lot about being awake, and all Christians like to think that they are so: “Oh, yes — I’m awake all right to the evils of the world around me!” Quite honestly, as much as we would like […]

Thriving on Spiritual Abuse

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Years ago in my little town, there was a restaurant that was known not for the quality of its food (above average), the ambiance of its surroundings (cheap chic), or the professionalism of its staff (non-existent). It was famous, and wildly […]

3 Reasons America Does Not Need — or Want — Prayer in Schools

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians, like all humans, fuss about things, and a central fussing point of the last many years is prayer in schools. “Our country is falling apart because we no longer have prayer in schools,” people say, emphasizing the point with […]

“My Church Is Being Stolen!”

posted by Carolyn Henderson

If you belong to a warm, embracing, encouraging and fun church congregation, today’s post is not for you. All I can advise is this: keep it that way, and you do this by limiting the size and power of leadership/management. When these people control as opposed to […]

False Leaders, Speaking in Our Name

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In our younger years, prior to children, the Norwegian Artist and I traveled through and lived in South America, where our most fervent hope was that we would be thought to be Canadians, Danes, Australians, or anything other than Americans, […]

What Kind of People Leave Church?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Years ago, when we still attended weekly church services, a longtime acquaintance (that’s generally what we are in church situations — we’re rarely given time to freely mingle and get to know one another as friends) left. If you attend […]

Four Lies Creeping into Today’s Christian Church

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Apostasy is nothing new in Christianity. Two thousand years ago Jesus warned that false prophets “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7: 15) Given that we, the people of God, are frequently referred to as […]

The Business of Christianity

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I was in the big city, waiting to pick up air travelers who were three hours late starting a three-hour flight, and I had time in my hands. There’s only so long you can sit in Starbucks without a digital […]

Sometimes, Normal Is Abnormal

posted by Carolyn Henderson

As Christians, we are exhorted to be “in the world but not of the world.” (John 15: 19, Romans 12: 2) This is far more difficult than Liking, or Sharing, a Facebook meme. Too many Christians are convinced that they no […]

The Wrong Gospel and How It’s Chasing People out of Church

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I know a lot — a LOT — of people who were raised in a church, no longer attend, and want nothing to do with God. Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist — it doesn’t matter the appellation, these people are on […]

We Say It All the Time, but What Does It Mean to “Follow Jesus”?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We Christians have a lamentable habit of using esoteric language, which is an erudite way of saying that we speak phrases understood by a small, like-minded group of people with a specialized knowledge or interest. Given that the gift of Christ is […]

How NOT to Pray

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Prayer is one of those topics that is always in fashion. It doesn’t really matter whether or how you believe in God — even atheists these days aren’t amiss to tapping into the spiritual world, and in the name of science (or scientism), […]

What’s So Bad about a Comfort Zone?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

If you haven’t heard the term “comfort zone,” then you must never attend church. Or work in a cubicle. Or listen to politicians. Comfort zones — that area of life where we operate, well, comfortably because we understand our circumstances, […]

Money

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians aren’t supposed to freak out about money. Of course, Christians aren’t supposed to freak out about a lot of things, and we do, but there’s a difference between following what humans advise, and following God. If you listen to humans, it’s no […]

5 “Sins” That Aren’t Sins

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Christians frequently talk about grace, love, acceptance, and freedom, and indeed, these attributes are abundantly available to the person who follows Christ. Unfortunately, however, within Christian group settings (“community” is the latest buzzword), rules abound, all the more insidious because they […]

The Confident Christian, and Why He’s So Dangerous

posted by Carolyn Henderson

When I was a young woman and a new Christian, I used to swoon in the presence of the Confident Christian Male. I’m sure you’ve met these Alpha Omega types: they command a room as soon as they effect their […]

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 […]

Einstein Said That! Or Was It Jesus?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

You know, for a dead guy, Albert Einstein posts a lot of quotes on Facebook. The latest on my wall is, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more […]

How Many Friends Do You Have?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

In the highly controlled, conformist society into which I was born (the United States), how successful — and normal — you are depends on certain factors, many of which have to do with participating in groups. Indeed, one of the […]

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 […]

Missional. Intentional. Authentic: Meaningless

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Considering that we follow, serve, worship, and emulate the most radical individual to have ever walked on this planet — Jesus — Christians can be really boring. Oh, I ‘m not talking about people who are suffering, and suffering hard, […]

The U.S. Is not a Christian Nation — and It Never Was

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I was visiting a friend in the nursing home last week when I found myself trapped, holding my sleeping friend’s hand, forced to sit in the same room with a Christian television show. Those of you who read me regularly […]

Salvation Is Free. Our Time Is Not.

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Too many Christians have a thing about the word “free.” When it comes to the free gift of salvation that Jesus willingly hands us, we’re convinced that there’s a catch somehow, and it seriously can’t be as easy as it […]

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 […]

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 — […]

Who’s Your Guru?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Before the world of Facebook, we’d find ourselves at a bridal shower, say, and The Person in Charge of Embarrassing Games generally began with something innocuous, like, “List your five favorite books about sex,” or, if this were a church […]

The Dissident Christian: Does This Describe You?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

It doesn’t take much to be a dissident to today’s society. All it involves are two things: 1) Asking questions and 2) Refusing to passively accept everything that we are told. At an art museum, a dissident viewer is one […]

Break away from Controlling People

posted by Carolyn Henderson

It’s not too late to give yourself the gift that you will treasure throughout your life, wrapping it up as a year-round, realistic New Year’s Resolution as well: Aggressively and unapologetically learn to think for yourself. In a society that […]

A Nobody Who Was Somebody (Like You, or Me)

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Some bargains look better than others. Recently, at a consignment shop, I was drawn to a gorgeous Nativity set of tall, willowy statutettes, gilded with gold. That they were half-off because Christmas was over made them even more attractive. Of […]

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. […]

Your Right to Privacy: Protect It

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I’ve been a Christian for 31 years, and in that amount of time you see a lot of trends and fads: The Name It/Claim it Blab It/Grab It movement that damages the pure sense of trust we have in God’s […]

“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 […]

Your Christian Mission Statement

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Have you noticed how everyone has a mission statement these days? Ironically, the central term (mission) has been applied for years by for-profit corporations, who have statements that look like this: “Our passion and goal is to provide quality products […]

Eliminating Creativity

posted by Carolyn Henderson

Creativity is a funny thing. It’s not something you hold in your hands and squeeze, but it is something that you can destroy by handling too much and forcing to behave a certain way. Lately, the familia has been re-watching […]

Should Christians Think?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

I don’t mean for this to sound like the first line of a cheesy bar joke, but do you know how to get Christians reading your blog post, buying your book, or listening to your sermon? Use a title with […]

Unchurched, or Church Free?

posted by Carolyn Henderson

We are a society that parses words, and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing — consider the difference of implications between “anti-abortion” and “anti-choice” — and how we phrase things makes a huge difference in how our listeners or readers […]

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 […]

Previous Posts

If I Were Taller, I'd Look Thinner, and Other Bible Truths
"Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?" Matthew 6:27 I ran into this verse the other day, and I'm embarrassed to admit that I'd never seen it before. Oh, I've seen one like it -- my New International Version ...

posted 10:22:15am Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Christian Sheep: We Can Learn from Goats
I'll never forget the first time I milked a goat. My best friend from college, whose degree was in animal husbandry but who more importantly kept goats and milked them herself, was convinced that my family needed two of the animals, because ...

posted 11:21:08am Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

It’s a Secret, but Many Christians Do Distrust God
"Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27 We all approach life from a certain world view. And while the dictators of politically correct doctrine decry bias as a bad thing, it's really just a realistic ...

posted 10:39:06am Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

Abusive Christianity
"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 ...

posted 12:07:53pm Apr. 15, 2015 | read full post »

Are You Ashamed of Your Job Title?
"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 ...

posted 11:49:00am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

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