There’s a memory I have of driving around with Emily and her friend Courtney in Fresno. We pass a restaurant that had a special on tempura. Next thing I know we are debating the correct pronunciation of tempura, karaoke and other Japanese words with the “r” sound. Emily finally resolved that since the majority of America pronounces it with the hard “r” sound, that has to be correct. Funny thing, when you look up videos online on how to pronounce “tempura” they use the hard “r”. I guess Emily’s right, whatever the majority identifies with becomes the new normal.
Normal seems to be an evolutionary concept. What is normal now, may not be normal in the future. Many social norms evolve over time. Hair styles that may have been normal a couple decades ago, are not normal now. Thankfully the NO HAIR style is in! Styles of clothing, tattoos, even language that may have been abnormal at one time now fits into the new normal. The invention of social media alone has created a new normal in society.
This change is true for more significant issues. Working in schools I see the “normal” presence of mental health concerns like ADHD, anxiety, and depression. Gender and sexual identity has developed a new normal standard that impacts our society. Social norms shape us all.
Close to my heart is the Church. I know that the Church is God’s desire for His people, but what I see leaves me uneasy. Like a punch in the gut, I cringe at our current state of churches. Businesses and man made institutions. Pastors that are CEO’s and spokespersons for these businesses and congregations that are consumers seeking a good product and a CEO that will manufacture it. Searching for the next fresh program or the next big hook we strive for ways to get people in those doors. I know, I was there, I was in it and I was a participant of it. I don’t believe this is what God desires for His Church.
When I discuss this with others, many agree. Most respond with “Unfortunately that’s just how it is.” Surrendered to the understanding that no church is perfect we just move forward and do our best. This is not really new. God’s people frequently went astray in the old and new testament. So I guess that’s just how it is, we accept this as our normal.