NBC debuted its new program, “The New Normal” last night. Produced by Ryan Murphy, “Normal” tells the tale of a gay couple that secures a surrogate from Ohio to bear them a child. As the surrogate arrives in California with a child and acerbic grandmother in tow, we are introduced to the “New Normal Family.”
Family organizations have decried the show as another example of the erosion of traditional family values. Hollywood and other leaders see the show as a shining example of how the understanding of “family” is shifting in our culture. What may have been “traditional” or “normal” in eras past cannot be said of the family unit today.
Unfortunately, the idea of family is being eroded. What once was extremely abnormal is now sanctioned or outright encouraged. From a Hollywood director affirming incest as an appropriate expression of love to California’s push for new laws to allow for multi-parent families, traditional values have been shoved to curb as irrelevant at best and bigoted at worst. By highlighting aberrant family structures and making them the new normative definition, the idea of family will never have a solid foundation and simply shift with every cultural tide.
As Christians, we should not be shocked when those who do not embrace Jesus Christ reject his design. And it’s not just in the arena of family where God’s design is rejected. It’s in our business practices that elevate financial gain above people. It’s in our medical practices that overlook the value of life at all stages of development. It’s in our political structures that service power brokers and ignore those who truly need help.
None of this is new. Christians in every era have dealt with the realities of broken systems. On some level it reminds us that this life is not the ultimate goal. We have a promise of eternity with the Creator; and much like creation groans for redemption in Christ, so do we! Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!
The Apostle Peter, writing to the churches of the first century, warned them that Jesus, the Great Cornerstone of our faith, would be a “stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” (I Peter 2:8) In other words, Jesus himself will trip people up. Jesus’ definition of “normal” flies in the face of what humans want to make normative. When “they stumble because they disobey the word as they were destined to do,” don’t be surprised.
Ok. So we can expect rejection from those who reject Christ. Even Jesus told us the world would hate us because it hated him first. (John 15:18) But what should we do about this? Many of you are feeling more and more uncomfortable with this world and the shifting values you see.
Actually, that’s great! You should feel uncomfortable. We are not called to be “Normal” in the sense that the world wants to define the term. Continuing with Peter’s encouragement to the churches, watch this:
We don’t belong here! Peter calls us “strangers and aliens” (2:11). For many of us, we are so caught up in this life and this place, we forget that our inheritance is eternal and is found in Christ himself! The stuff of this world never compares to the riches of the Glory of Christ! We live differently because that is who we are! We are God’s possession and chosen by Him to be a royal priesthood! (2:9)
Ultimately, we have a higher standard of rules to follow – the rules of God’s Kingdom! Our sexual ethics, our business practices, our very lives are supposed to be examples of the reality of Jesus as Lord so unbelievers “may see your good deeds and glorify God”! (2:12) When our lives point to the reality that we are marked by Jesus, it sends shockwaves through our culture! When our marriages show Christ’s love, when our parenting shows Christ’s love, when our businesses show Christ’s love, when our lives show Christ’s love, God uses us! Peter makes it clear: “this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” (2:15)
As we increasingly look abnormal to our society, rejoice! We are living as God intended. We are following His definition of Normal.
It just happens to be weird to the “New Normal” crowd.
John Mark Yeats