A tantalizing thing to ask ourselves is what is really normal? I can tell you this for certain, and Jesus pointed this out distinctly, if you think you are "normal," you are not. So what is the real normal in 2018?
Addiction, this is n0w the normal. More families are using together. More doctors are writing prescriptions for opiates. More young people are dying from overdoses than natural causes. The new "normal" is what used to be abnormal. More people are hiding behind masks of prescription drug use in upper class families, and just as many kids that go to Christian schools are stoned as the ones who go to public schools. More people are using alcohol or drugs to cope with everyday life than ever.
When I mention this to those who think they are normal, they shake it off as if it does not exist. Sounds similar to the "whitewashed tombs" Jesus spoke about. This reaches into the very hierarchy of society although those up there blame it on the poor, the dysfunctional, and the unfortunate. Normal is now a moving target that bounces around and is most confusing and elusive if we are seeking it.
And the convenient solution we offer (and please understand I say this reluctantly and sadly) is a relationship with Jesus. I would agree with that if it was the 1st century Jesus, but it is now 2000 plus years later and we have altered our concept of him without totally understanding why. Suddenly that loving, redeeming and grace filled Jesus now has a new corporate white washed look that seems to be sanitized. To the outsiders who are now flocking away from church, he is now also too elusive because we have made him that way by the way we conduct our churches and our worship.
By thinking you are normal and they are not, there has become a divide that says you must do things my way to be set right. In truth our my way, may not really be Jesus way. Are we ready to really eat with tax collectors and sinners in their house, not ours? Are we ready to sit next to felons and tattooed five time heroin relapsers for more than one Sunday at church?
That 1st century Jesus would and so would his apostles after a few years of chastising. Normal? He was anything but that. In fact he was abnormal. He was God and he still is the way, the truth and the light, just maybe not like we portray him to be today.
There were no flashing lights back then, no special programs, just a Jewish carpenter rolling up his sleeves to meet people where they were at in the down and dirty part of their life.
Maybe, he was trying to show us what normal was supposed to be.
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.