The new normal
A Christian Science perspective: Finding a stable foundation in a world that is continually rocked.
It's common these days for people to describe accepted behavior as "the new normal." As a result of progress, advances in technology, and other factors, things we now do have replaced things we used to do – and are now the new normal.
But just what exactly does "normal" mean? In society, the term "mores" is used to describe accepted normal behavior. As society changes, mores change. Behavior that may have previously been considered unacceptable may now be judged as normal. Normal behavior is often what has become average and commonplace. In that light, even what is now considered unacceptable behavior may eventually move into the mainstream and become a new normal. Considering behavior in those terms, normal is determined by popularity and is subject to change.
Because social normality is so fluid, using it as a measure of right and wrong can leave a person feeling uncertain. It could well be that much of the unhappiness people feel results from not having a solid sense of normality.
But there's a spiritual standard for normality that has never changed: the Christ, all the goodness that flows from God, infinite Principle, which results in happiness, health, and freedom. And because the Christ is always the same, it's the old normal, the new normal, and the always-will-be normal. It's predictable, reliable, and always available to us.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote: "The advent of Jesus of Nazareth marked the first century of the Christian era, but the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, – the reflection of God, – has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love." She continued, "The divine image, idea, or Christ was, is, and ever will be inseparable from the divine Principle, God" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 333).
Referring to the ever-present, unchanging Christ, the letter to the Hebrews says, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).
On a practical level in the changing world of social mores, the Ten Commandments remain a solid set of rules that provide stability to society and that promote honest and loving behavior under all circumstances. They're the framework of civil law and offer a foundation of constancy in a world that is continually rocked by misbehavior. The Ten Commandments are based on spiritual principles, and can be counted on to guide us to normal behavior, regardless of the circumstances confronting us.
In a sea of moral uncertainty – and changing normality – we can always find answers in the Bible that give us a deep understanding of spiritual principles that bring stability and certainty to daily life. In that light, the old normal is still the new normal.