The new normal

In the sermon for last Sunday, Pastor Douthwaite employed an interesting turn of phrase:

There’s been a new phrased coined in our civil discourse of late, and that is folks talking about “the new normal.” Is the constant threat of terrorism the new normal? Are gas prices around $4 a gallon the new normal? Is our current partisan divide and the seeming inability for our political parties to work together the new normal? Or in other words, are these things here to stay and so you better get used to them as normal now, or are they just temporary glitches or passing events? Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers to those questions.

But it seems to me that we can use that phrase when talking about the Christian life. That in Christ, there is a new normal for you and me. For in Christ, things change. In Christ, things are different. In Christ, we have been made new and so there is a new normal for Christians, which is truly a whole new way of life and of looking at life.

via St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Reformation [observed] Sermon.

Read what Pastor Douthwaite does with this concept, showing how the perfection that was “normal” before the Fall turned into a “new normal” of sin, which, in turn, was changed by Christ into a “new normal” of grace, forgiveness, and joy.

That’s the main point of the sermon, so I don’t want to take away from that.  But I am curious about other kinds of things that used to be “out of the norm,” but are now considered “normal.”  What are some?  How does something go from beyond the pale to become accepted as “normal”?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    If a second edition of the book, “Lutheranism 101″ comes out, Pastor Douthwaite’s sermon ought to be the prologue.

  • Pete

    If a second edition of the book, “Lutheranism 101″ comes out, Pastor Douthwaite’s sermon ought to be the prologue.

  • Michael B.

    “But I am curious about other kinds of things that used to be ‘out of the norm,’ but are now considered ‘normal’.”

    Since abortion is a common topic brought up on here, I would like to point out the wide-spread acceptance of birth control, particularly effective birth control. In a 2012 Gallup pull, 89% of all Americans said birth control is morally acceptable. The idea of family planning, having sex for the purposes of pleasure, divorced from procreation, and our 2.7 kids is a new development, and most people don’t quite grasp how radical their thinking was once considered. Go 140 years earlier, and look at what just about any American church had to say about birth control.

  • Michael B.

    “But I am curious about other kinds of things that used to be ‘out of the norm,’ but are now considered ‘normal’.”

    Since abortion is a common topic brought up on here, I would like to point out the wide-spread acceptance of birth control, particularly effective birth control. In a 2012 Gallup pull, 89% of all Americans said birth control is morally acceptable. The idea of family planning, having sex for the purposes of pleasure, divorced from procreation, and our 2.7 kids is a new development, and most people don’t quite grasp how radical their thinking was once considered. Go 140 years earlier, and look at what just about any American church had to say about birth control.

  • Trey

    Michael try 80 years ago. That’s when the Anglican Church caved at the Lambeth Conference and became the first Protestant church to accept birth control.

  • Trey

    Michael try 80 years ago. That’s when the Anglican Church caved at the Lambeth Conference and became the first Protestant church to accept birth control.

  • Abby

    “I would like to point out the wide-spread acceptance of birth control . . .” Yes, unfortuantely we all bought into the liberal lie of global population control many years ago. Kind of like, outlawing the use of pesticides in Africa to kill mosquitos — now killing people with malaria.

  • Abby

    “I would like to point out the wide-spread acceptance of birth control . . .” Yes, unfortuantely we all bought into the liberal lie of global population control many years ago. Kind of like, outlawing the use of pesticides in Africa to kill mosquitos — now killing people with malaria.

  • Abby

    And also, global warming is responsible for Hurricane Sandy. :)

  • Abby

    And also, global warming is responsible for Hurricane Sandy. :)

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Americans demanding that Government be our Great Farmer, and for us to be treated as a managed herd.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Americans demanding that Government be our Great Farmer, and for us to be treated as a managed herd.

  • http://significat.storenvy.com/ Daniel

    Sexuality as an identity.

  • http://significat.storenvy.com/ Daniel

    Sexuality as an identity.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “Normal” is always changing, quite rapidly when it comes to cultural/sociological issues.

    For instance, not so long ago, it was normal that when a man and a woman did exactly the same job, the man got paid significantly more.

    Some other notions though of a “glorified normal x amount of time ago” are wishful thinking.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    “Normal” is always changing, quite rapidly when it comes to cultural/sociological issues.

    For instance, not so long ago, it was normal that when a man and a woman did exactly the same job, the man got paid significantly more.

    Some other notions though of a “glorified normal x amount of time ago” are wishful thinking.

  • SKPeterson

    Fascism. We fought a war against it so we could implement it our own way.

  • SKPeterson

    Fascism. We fought a war against it so we could implement it our own way.

  • Andrew

    Another couple of new normals:
    Muslim = peaceful. those who kill in the name of allah aren’t representative. neither are the violent mobs in the middle east. or the imams of hatred. or the violent texts in the koran or hadiths.
    Christian = extremist. any christian who does anything speaks for all christians. Westboro can be used as the mouthpiece of what all christians hold to.

  • Andrew

    Another couple of new normals:
    Muslim = peaceful. those who kill in the name of allah aren’t representative. neither are the violent mobs in the middle east. or the imams of hatred. or the violent texts in the koran or hadiths.
    Christian = extremist. any christian who does anything speaks for all christians. Westboro can be used as the mouthpiece of what all christians hold to.

  • Andrew

    Normal: if you don’t agree with me, and my feelings are hurt because you disagree with me, you must hate me, and your speech is hate speak. your hate speak must be silenced in the name of free speech.

    (anyone else think that 1984 is being used as the text to reframe our language and our society? It was meant to be a warning not an instruction manual)

  • Andrew

    Normal: if you don’t agree with me, and my feelings are hurt because you disagree with me, you must hate me, and your speech is hate speak. your hate speak must be silenced in the name of free speech.

    (anyone else think that 1984 is being used as the text to reframe our language and our society? It was meant to be a warning not an instruction manual)

  • reg

    As the folk singer Bruce Cockburn has sung: “the trouble with ‘normal’ is it always gets worse.”

  • reg

    As the folk singer Bruce Cockburn has sung: “the trouble with ‘normal’ is it always gets worse.”


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X