The new normal …

The term the “new normal” is becoming more often used and I believe that most people don’t fully understand the implications and the dangers of this.

I’ve heard this term used when describing the unemployment rate which is currently around 9%. Not too many years ago the unemployment rate was roughly 5% and that was considered “normal”, but now 9% is talked about as the “new normal”. Really what people are saying when they use this term is that they don’t want to talk about the high unemployment rate all of the time, so they are just redefining “normal” so they, in my opinion, feel better about it.

The problem with this logic is that over time this redefinition will result in a “normal” that isn’t even close to what it started out as. it will change so gradually that few even notice the change. If 100 “widgets” was the “norm” a few years ago, now 80 would be the “new normal”, then in a few years 60 will become the “new normal” and a few years after that 50 will be the “new normal” and so on and so on until “normal” isn’t even close to what it started out as.

A few years ago (back in 2007) I saw this demonstrated by a pastor addressing a singles group when he said the following after playing the game of “Simon Sez” with us:

Now obviously the first thought is we can look at the life of Jesus, OK. But that’s really setting the standard high right out of the gate, OK. After all He was God, and it’s sometimes a little difficult to emulate Him exactly the way that we want to, to be Christ like is a great goal, but maybe tonight after this rousing game of Simon-Sez we need a little lower goal. So maybe we could move to Paul? Ehh, he’s so stinking smart, you know, I mean, everything the guy say [sic] is profound and insightful and …ahh… so, maybe that’s a little too intellectually difficult. So lets settle for somebody we can all relate to like, Simon Peter.

Just because you might not be able to reach a goal is no reason to stop trying.

We have all been asked the question of:

Is the glass half empty or half full?

but I contend that there is a third answer that in reality most people take. That answer is that the glass is too big. If the glass is too big, then of course you need a correctly sized (smaller) glass to make the (now smaller) glass full.

That may sound innocent enough, but over time as some of that liquid evaporates or disappears and the glass again becomes “half empty or half full”, yet another smaller glass is found and the liquid poured into it so the glass is again full.

As Christians this is a huge danger because this leads to compromise, becoming more worldly, and a moving away from Jesus and His Truth.

Imagine a very large boat representing “the world” and an island with a cross planted on it representing Jesus and His Truth. This boat is so large that few realize that they are even on a boat, but they are and this boat is sailing away from the island. From the perspective of the people on the boat it is the cross on this island that is moving away and not them. For the people on the boat, “normal” is always defined in terms of where they are right now. As Christians, though, our “normal” is Jesus Christ and He hasn’t moved nor has He changed.

As people become followers of Christ, or Christians choose to rededicate their lives to following Christ, and they jump ship to swim back to Jesus, the people on the boat are going to shake their heads wondering why so many are leaving “normal” to follow something that has, from their perspective, been moving away from “normal”. They don’t realize that it is they, on the boat, that is moving away and changing.

A popular author of children’s books ends one book saying that a day is coming when we must choose between what is good and what is easy. Oh so true. Do we stand up for what is right, true, and just, or will we just settle for what is easy and in the process redefine “normal”?

More on this in a future posting.

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