Common is not the same as normal

Often we think that because something happens a lot that it must be normal. But just because something is a common occurrence does not mean it is normal. Far from it.

Maybe it helps if I use a definition. Normal is something that conforms to a standard. Sometimes those standards are common. Sometimes they aren’t. Normal would be a situation in which things happen as they are designed to happen and should happen. Even that definition can be lacking. Sometimes really bad things are designed to be really bad.

When abuse, oppression, and exploitation are so common in peoples’ lives, they think it is normal. But it’s not normal. It’s just common. Normal would be none of those things happening because they are destructive. Normal isn’t about being destructive.

When these things are so common that their victims think that such things are normal, victims have a tendency to support abusive, oppressive, and exploitive policies, practices, and leadership because they think these ways and people are the normal ways of life. But they aren’t. They may be common, but they aren’t normal at all. But if that’s all you’ve ever known, how would know any differently. How would you even know that there are alternatives to abuse, oppression, and exploitation? Victims of these things can find a way out of them if they are able to envision a different ways of being, know there are options for living without abuse, oppression, and exploitation. But they have to know something beyond what has been common for them and their experience.

Abuse, oppression, and exploitation can happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes even in places that seem, at least on the surface, as the last place someone would expect to find these things. Like a church. Unfortunately, the history of the church is full of common occurrences of abuse, oppression, and exploitation throughout its history. So much so that there are many people who think that church cultures that are abusive, oppressive, and exploitive are normal. But the are not.

In some case, when abuse, oppression, and exploitation are common, there are some people who will not only willingly sign up for these things because they think they are normal and will benefit from them, but they will work to impose them on others because they believe that those who don’t see abuse, oppression, and exploitation as normal are the abnormal ones that need to change.

But none of this normal. Unfortunately, it is all too common.

But it doesn’t ever have to be common. All it takes is one person who refuses to just allow it to go on because of how common it is. Because they know that it is not normal and has never been normal regardless of how common it has been.

But common does not equal normal.

Let’s work to make what is common in this world uncommon, and work to make normal common.

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