I hear and read many posts / articles / emails that suggest much of the corona-culture will become a new normal. I don’t agree and I want to say so as publicly as I can.
It’s true that many have been exposed to technology – the creative use of technology – that will become part of their on going traditions. It may become a permanent option for some programs and groups. It should!
It’s also true that people have rediscovered the value of sabbath, quiet, even solitude.
People have found out what they can live without. All this is true and will be fascinating to observe unfold.
It will be trendy and profitable to sell business or products or services that are more sanitary, more protective (look for supplements and wearable paraphernalia that aid immunity). For a while, everyone will want everyone to know just how vigilant they are regarding cleanliness and safety.
There have always been germaphobes. There will be more. We may need show greater respect toward subconscious concerns about safe handling of food and other products.
However, I believe it is a massive mistake to assume that humanity will cease being fundamentally human.
We won’t avoid large crowds – not for long. I will wager that, soon, events will be held specifically for the purpose of just having large crowds together – for the energy of it – even for the “edgy-ness” of it. Fear is not a long term deterrent of social behavior. We’ve seen more deadly viruses, shocking and devastating plagues… but none of them have prevented humanity from being human – in the long run. We are risk takers. We are rule-breakers. We crave one another, often in copious portions.
A more immediate and urgent trend will be people seeking meaningful connection in person. Sharing meals together. Singing together. Sharing experiences together. We’ve always identified ourselves (to one degree or another) by our clan, our group, our people. People will crave and cling to groups.
And church: I don’t believe people will drift more toward or settle for screen-time. We SHOULD continue online presence and proclamation!! But there will never be a substitute for the gathered community. There will be an increased desire for authenticity, for real presence, for God’s presence, for participation over presentation.
Some will remain impacted by the fear and trauma. Folks that lived in the Great Depression kept certain spending and saving habits. But those habits soon evaporated (within a generation) in the heat of human nature’s desire for ‘more.’
Hope. Hunger. Passion. Joy. Community. These cannot be restrained, not at length.
History, anthropology, sociology, and THEOLOGY are better guides for navigating the future than are trends, fads or fears.
We will be more human, not less, after all of this. I plan on it anyway.