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What Does America Need for Its Post-COVID ‘New Normal’?

new normal

Are you one of those people who watches a movie over and over again? I’m not. In fact, I rarely watch any movie more than once. But there are exceptions.

The greatest exception for me takes me back to when I was a kid in fourth grade. I still remember riding my bike from our house on Willetta Street in Scottsdale, Arizona over to Los Arcos Mall.

I secured my transportation in the rack out front and hurried to the theater inside. The premiere showing of “The Poseidon Adventure” would soon start. I excitedly bought my ticket, purchased a soda and some popcorn, then settled into my seat.

That’s where I would remain transfixed for the next hour and 57 minutes as I watched a gripping story unfold about a luxury ocean liner full of passengers that was capsized by a tidal wave.

One minute the passengers were eating, drinking, and dancing, the next minute their world was upside down. Literally.

How would they survive? Would they survive? If they did, how could life ever be the same again?


A scenario similar to that occurred off the screen and all around the world early in 2020.

People were eating, drinking, dancing, and otherwise living their “normal” lives. The next minute, a novel coronavirus broke out and a pandemic, like a towering tsunami, turned the world upside down.

How would we survive? Would we survive? If we did, how could life ever be the same again?


Well, congratulations, you have survived a global pandemic. Not everyone made it, but most of us did.

Life, however, will likely not return — at least not fully — to the “old normal” we experienced prior to the onset of the pandemic.

And, truth be told, for most of us it shouldn’t. It certainly shouldn’t for much of Christ’s church.

I understand not everyone will agree.

When the pandemic first hit, we were all shocked and surprised, but initially thought it probably would be little more than a short-lived inconvenience.

As the pandemic lingered on, it was common to hear people (and especially church leaders) talk about how they couldn’t wait for “things to get back to normal again.” Going back to the “old normal” was priority one for many.

Now, more than two years since we first started taking note of the coronavirus, COVID-19 still lingers and many local, state, and national jurisdictions still have not officially declared the pandemic to be over yet.

If it isn’t, one thing that is over is the “old normal.”

Like it or not, we are already more than ankle deep into the “new normal” that has been a matter of great curiosity and speculation for people around the world.

If we can’t, or won’t, or shouldn’t return fully back to life as it was prior to the pandemic, what will the “new normal” look like? How will it be different? What changes that occurred in the pandemic should we keep? What from the “old normal” should we hang onto? How should we attempt to shape life moving forward from here?


You can’t make wise decisions about moving forward if you aren’t honest about where you’re coming from. The truth is, the “old normal” wasn’t nearly as “good” for people, or the church, as many like to remember it as.

And it’s all much worse now.

Prior to the pandemic, it was common for people to reduce their interactions with other human beings — including family members and the closest of friends, to text messaging. People commonly asserted, “If It can be sent in a text, don’t call.” That at a time when nations of people were reporting an epidemic of loneliness.

Before the onset of COVID-19, we had a pre-existing mental health crisis in America. Now, according to Dr. Tim Clinton, President of the American Association of Christian Counselors, that mental health crisis has morphed into a mental health disaster.

Before COVID-19 became a household name, not only were we mentally and physically unhealthy, we had significantly spiritually atrophied as well, and it’s getting worse.

In an effort to get a measure of what’s happening to us spiritually, and to Christ’s church, there has been a string of studies, surveys, and other research efforts, and the data collected isn’t good news. Some of the data being reported includes news that is nothing less than shocking. One researcher claims “We’re experiencing another reformation, but not in a good way.” Here’s some of the most recently gathered data garnered from people who self-identify as Christians:

  • Only six percent hold a biblical worldview.
  • Only 37 percent of pastors hold a biblical worldview.
  • One survey, which included more than 3,000 Americans between age 18 and 55, revealed that born-again Protestants experienced the greatest level of decline in Bible-based beliefs from 2010 to 2020. During that decade, the percentage of people who agreed with core Christian doctrines fell from 47 percent to 25 percent.
  • 62 percent say the Holy Spirit isn’t a real, living being.
  • 61 percent say all religious faiths are of equal value.
  • 60 percent believe if a person is good enough, or does enough good works, they can earn their way into heaven.
  • 35 percent believe in karma.
  • 42 percent believe “having faith” matters more than which faith you pursue.
  • 75 percent argue people are basically “good” rather than basically sinful.
  • 43 percent believe Jesus sinned during His time on earth.
  • 52 percent don’t believe in objective moral truth and the authority of the Bible.
  • 44 percent believe Bible teachings on abortion are ambiguous.
  • 34 percent don’t believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
  • One study found significant minorities of those who identify as “evangelical” don’t confess their sin daily, don’t worship God daily, and don’t pursue God’s will for their lives.