Are you normal?

Do you consider yourself normal?

If you’re like most normal people, you’ll normally say you’re not. C’mon, it’s fun telling people you’re not normal, you little jokester.  Who wants to be normal? We want to be above normal, post normal or even para normal.

Actually, normal isn’t a bad thing–as long as the normal is a good normal and not a bad normal. Now I’ve spelled the word normal so much it looks wrong and I have to check what I’ve written so far to make sure I’ve spelled every occurrence correctly.

Again, it’s okay to be normal. Just ask Justin Bieber.

To answer the question that just formed in your mind, yes, that is the first time I’ve ever had to write that sentence before in my pastoral career, or even my personal life.

Explanation: The Biebster surprised a group of people listening to a young girl play guitar on a street corner, or something like that. Of course, once people in the crowd realized who he was, they went nuts….and out came the phones. Okay, the phones were probably already out, but now they were perpendicular to the sidewalk. Tweets, pics, snaps abound.

Justin’s response? In part he told them to, “put down your phone and be a normal person for a second.”

++Click here to watch the surprise of a lifetime for these young fans.++

If you only read that statement you might think he was being rude. I’ve watched the video; he was not.  Unless, of course, everyone is right and he’s just so cute at everything.  At this point I want to clarify that I know this was not a young man’s brave moment to express his deepest thoughts to the world about the world. He was interacting with a few fans.

I just want to deepen his advice to help us move along as a species.

The young fans with the phones in their hands were quite normal already. I didn’t bother looking up statistics for you because you already know that “everybody has a phone in their hand these days.” That’s not a verbatim quote from a church lady I know, but close enough.  For a little context, her phone flips.  Still, she’s right and you know it.

And before you dump all the phone-addict talk on our kids, I’d be willing to look for (just not right now) the data for some of you older-than-teenagers adults who are just as likely to be on your phones while the rest of us are trying to enjoy a Chicken McNugget. It’s normal now to seize every boring second of a doctor’s visit, oil change or a shopping excursion with a quick glance or two (dozen) at the phone. Sorry, Biebs, unfortunately, those young fans were perfectly normal.

It would have been better to ask them to do something else. We should all try to do something else.

When it comes to…the people around us….the world we are inhabiting…the glory around us…our sanity….maybe we shouldn’t be normal. Hey, young fans, put your phones away and be present at this memorable moment.

That’s it.  Be present.

You don’t even do anything with all those pictures and videos anyway.

Stop watching your babies graduate solely through the lens of a 4.7″ screen; be present to their expressions and to the joy no digital device can capture.  Normal says I should take out my phone to record this awesome scene of nature. Being present says I’ll just sit right here and experience it.  Normal will help you miss what is most beautiful and sacred about the world.  Being present will allow you to draw closer to the glory of God.  Sure, with a picture you might remember it, but you will not have experienced it.

Read. My. Typing-Lips: I did not see throw your phones away or take any more pictures.  I did not say phones are evil.  I did not say you’re addicted to your phone.  Okay, I might have hinted at that last one.

I’m not suggesting we get rid of our technology.  It’s just that maybe we would do well to make being present the new normal.

Stay blessed…john

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