There is an awful lot of talk these days about the “new normal” especially since NBC introduced “The New Normal” sitcom to its fall program schedule. I will not even begin to comment on the content and character of said program due to the adult and socially driven agenda of the series.
The media and news programs are also flooded with talk about what looks like the new normal in America. Here are a few examples of what we are being prepared for as more of the “normal” than the exception in the new America.
8% + unemployment
50% of Americans on public assistance programs
Continually falling wages and buying power
Retirement at later and later years, if at all
Muslim leaders entertained in the White House while our long time ally, Israel is snubbed
25% the new standard for tipping
The new normal in America is generating enormous amounts of concern and elevated levels of disgust. How have we fallen so far, so fast? Where will it all end? Is there any hope for a return to some of the healthier normal of the past?
All I can say is, there’s an election coming in a few weeks and if you are unhappy with some of the new normal talk and direction that we are confronted with and are experiencing daily, then get out and vote for the best candidate that is likely to change it. Otherwise, be quiet and just live with it.
The really sad news, though, is that the new normal is not just a disappointing direction of the country, it has infected the church as well. At a recent meeting of some fellow pastors our conversation centered on what seems to be the new normal for Christians. Here are a couple eye openers.
- The average American Christian gives 2.6% of his income to the Lord or an average of $17 a week.
Here’s a piece from Crown Financial Ministries that features a sermon by author Randy Alcorn. A summary: Randy says we’re living in the most affluent society the world has ever known. American Christians control 70% of the world’s Christian wealth. The average American Christian gives 2.6% of his income.
The average amount of giving by an adult in a Protestant church is $17 a week, which is $70 a month, or $840 a year. A full 96% of American Christians don’t tithe or give 10% of their income.
Crown includes this in the piece as well: The average Christian gives 30% less than the average churchgoer in 1933 during the Great Depression.
- Less than 20% of Americans regularly attend church. That figures out to a once every five weeks church attendance for the average Christian. That might be a little lower than your attendance patterns but it reveals an alarming condition. And the trend is trending downward all the time. Is this the new normal for church attendance? Is the church no longer a priority in the life of a Christian? Is the church relegated to a bottom five classification when it was once #1?
These and other statistics reveal that Christians are just going the way of our culture instead of shaping and leading it. It seems that lowered standards, commitment and values, that our society has embraced, have made their way into the church and Christian’s hearts as well.
Isn’t it time for the church to be the church and Christian to be just that, Christians who are serious followers of Christ rather than drifters. Isn’t it time for real Christ followers to be trend setters rather than trend followers? Isn’t it time to return to the normals of the past that were far better and more productive, both personally and for the kingdom of God? How about beginning with these two?
- “A tenth of all you produce is the Lord’s and it is holy.” Leviticus 27:30
- “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do.” Hebrews 10:25
Join with me in rejecting the new normal and sticking with the time tested standards of old.
Enough said. Let’s do it!