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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Era (02/03/11)

TITLE: A New Era for Normal
By Robert Johnson


The new normal! What is normal anymore? A while back an acquaintance showed me a forwarded email he received from a friend titled, “Are you normal?” He giggled a little because he had already taken this email test and failed. This seemed to satisfy him and, in turn, aroused a disingenuous laugh in me as I began to ponder what we really considered normal these days.

It appears far too prevalent today that we delight in bad behavior and defiance. This behavior is routinely referred to in a goofy or light-hearted sort of way as if it is okay to be a little devilish, or outright bad.

Ironically, at the time, I worked as a Quality Supervisor in a warehouse facility where we specialized in shipping and receiving, as well as repairing dysfunctional automobile parts. From a godly perspective, the conversation in that facility was anything but quality as the norm was foul language, coarse joking, and pervasive talk about drinking and partying, as well as rampant pursuit of sexual immorality.

While I never took an official poll, it seemed well over fifty percent of the women had children outside of marriage and continued to be sexually active. Several had multiple children from multiple fathers and affectionately referred to these men as their “babies’ daddy.” One girl’s shirt read, “Good girls are bad girls who haven’t been caught yet.” Another girl’s shirt read, “Angel by Day, Naughty by Night.”

It’s amazing how we revel in being bad or disobedient to the point where it has become the societal norm. Those who try to live a life which is glorifying to God, or who are in pursuit of high moral standards are now soundly in the abnormal category.

Consider for a moment recently released statistics from the 2010 National Census which showed marriage and the traditional nuclear family at a desperately low rate representing only one-third of American households. While soundly in the majority, co-habitation has skyrocketed, homosexuality is up and divorce is the modern quick fix for minor disagreements and struggling marriages.

What strikes me as odd anymore is that people still joke about being bad, or being a rebel when rebellion has become the cultural norm. All they’ve really become is just like everyone else. No flag planting here, just business as usual.

You could more easily argue that today’s rebel is qualified by a married person faithful to their spouse, a good parent to their children, a clean vocabulary, and faithful to God and country, or a single person who is faithfully waiting for marriage to have sex. Now there is rebellion indeed!

While both men and women are out working overtime to prove how bad they are; they are actually only in rebellion toward God, and most certainly not in rebellion to an American society that culturally has come to embrace such wicked behavior. So pervasive has evil and sinful behaviors become the norm, it is no longer acceptable or politically correct to define it as evil and sinful, but doing your own thing. We are told by our educators and political elites that we must tolerate and embrace those we don’t agree with even if their “normal” behavior is destroying our society.

Perhaps in the midst of all of this education we could stop and consider these words from the book of Isaiah, chapter 5:20-24 (NIV):

‘Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

When sober, let us not be fooled into thinking this somehow only applied to Old Testament Jews and that somehow God is not consistent in dealing with his people. However, as we go on and do what we feel we must to not only express, but embrace our rebellion, let us please not laugh and giggle anymore about our bad behavior because in reality, we’re normal just like everyone else!

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This article has been read 377 times
Member Comments
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Leola Ogle 02/10/11
Wow! Quite a sermon in this story. I was cheering and applauding you for your insight. Thanks for sharing, and the writing was excellent!
Norma-Anne Hough02/11/11
I truly enjoyed reading your article, and loved how you brought it together at the end. i so agree with all your sentiments and it is not only the americans that think like that, sadly it is becoming more and more "normal| to be naughty, bad or offensive. The other day I heard two radio hosts laughing about a guy who had written in saying at 30 he was a virgin and waiting for the right girl. I was disgusted at their attitudes that this guy was seriously dysfunctional.
Good read my friend:)
Fern Brown02/11/11
Excellent message - we need to hear this loud and clearly, practice it and help others do the same. Good job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/12/11
I'm reminded of the words my husband once said.- compared to other kids, ours are well-behaved. My answer was I want them to be good kids based on our standards not the world's. Your article reminded me we need to hold ourselves to a high standard.
Mildred Sheldon02/13/11
What an eye opener. This needs to be taught in every church around the world. Great writing.
Kate Oliver Webb 02/13/11
An absolutely (and unfortunately) honest and true article which should be a loud wake-up call to us first as Christians and then as Americans. Let ALL our voices ring out against the immoralization of society today! And...great writing!!
diana kay02/15/11
i liked your angle on the them and it is salient how "norms" change with the times. This is as true in England as in the States so there is alot here that i can relate too.
Christians in the UK are certainly becoming the "abnormal" in society
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/17/11
Congratulations for placing 7th in level two!
Bob Hays02/18/11
Sadly, this is a well written commentary on our society now days.