What is normal? “The norm” these days seems to have taken some strange turns. To quote an old car commercial, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” Everything seems to be changing. What used to be wrong is now right. Things that once made us blush are “normal” conversation.
Matters that were never discussed from pulpits, like sex, marriage difficulties, divorce, abuse and abortion, are now sermons series. Issues and lifestyles once spoken of only in whispers are now shouted from the streets and paraded on national television. It makes you wonder—is anybody normal these days?
Well, here’s a little stat sheet on “normal” Americans. Look it over and see if you rate as a normal person.
· 30% of us can flare our nostrils. (Is that for show or when you are steamed?)
· 91% of us lie regularly. (If Satan is the Father of Lies, he’s got a lot of children.)
· 82% believe in an afterlife. Everybody who believes in heaven isn’t going to make it. Truth is, 100% of us will experience an afterlife, heaven or hell. It all depends on what you do with Jesus Christ.
· 13% have spent a night in jail. Should we add this as a question to our deacon survey? Of course, everyone in jail claims, “I didn’t do it.”
· 29% are virgins when we marry. If we can get the message of “True Love Waits” and the biblical principles of abstinence across to our teens, that number should go up. 29% is below “the norm,” but that 29% is right.
· 35% give to charity at least once a month. Looking at most church budgets, this percentage may be a little high. If the membership of the average church gave 10% and their medium income was $12,000 a year, they would oversubscribe their budget every year. normal in America is to rob God and hoard for self.
· Snickers is the most popular candy bar. That’s because most Americans have never tasted a Butternut.
· 30% refuse to sit on a public toilet seat. Is there a cleaning person in the house?
· 39% of us peek in our host’s bathroom cabinet. Of course, we have a hidden camera in our bathroom, so we know who’s peeking.
· 81.3% would tell an acquaintance to zip his pants. In a non-related survey, only 3% would tell a gossip to zip their lips.
· 29% of us ignore RSVP. But we all read the Publisher’s Clearing House “You are a winner…” letters.
· 71.6% of us eavesdrop. What did you say? Could you please speak up? I’m having a little trouble getting my misconceptions of the conversation straight for repeating it to others who have no business knowing this either.
· 44% reuse tinfoil. Does that include all of the spearmint gum wrappers?
· 57% save pretty gift paper to reuse. I’ll bet a higher percentage save those expensive gift bags we buy because we’re too lazy to wrap a present.
· 53% read their horoscopes regularly. They should be called horror scopes. It’s frightening to think how many people set the course of their days by the stars instead of the Son.
· 59% of us say we’re average looking. If this is the case, there’s a definite need for new and improved mirrors.
· 40% have married their first loves. It may be puppy love, but it’s real to the puppy.
· 20% of men proposed on their knees. If the survey had been more specific, the percentage would have been higher. Those who were on their knees when daddy caught them with their daughter and held a shotgun to their head would raise the percentage substantially.
· 6% proposed over the phone. With the internet, we’ve got people leaving their spouses for someone they met in a chat room. What’s that all about? This is worse than any blind date one could imaging.
· 80% sing in the car. And thank God they leave it in the car. Thank God for air conditioning and rolled-up windows. Thank God for improved sound-proofing. Be grateful—some things are better left unheard.
Unfortunately, the normal Christian is abnormal when it comes to the Word. The normal Christian doesn’t read the Word, spends little time in prayer, rarely shares their faith, does not take the commandments of God seriously on their job and in their family and would fail a basic Bible test. This is a sad commentary on the faith men once died for. Today, we fall asleep hearing about it. No wonder the normal American is a hell-bound pagan.
The normal Christian has failed to live up to what the Bible would call normal. Biblical normality is a person who is Spirit-filled, bears the fruit of the Spirit, loves God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, is a faithful witness, is a quick repenter and is pursuing holiness.
© 2006, Michael Catt
(published in 2000)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.