The world in a plastic bag

th-6I am a man of a few pleasures. I once wrote a song “Simple Pleasures” that outlined some of the simple things I enjoyed in life. One of them I hadn’t realized until lately when it occurred to me how much I love receiving the morning newspaper. It’s a daily ritual to attend to. It’s a simple walk out to the front yard, but it’s a little like Christmas morning to find the paper there, folded in half, wrapped in plastic and waiting for me to pick it up, bring it inside and unwrap its treasures. It’s a daily creation involving hundreds of people working together round the clock to get the most current stories to me. It’s a work of art created fresh every day. There are stories about what’s going on in the world, first-hand reports from writers and photo-journalists who are on site; there are opinions, comments from readers, cultural and social critiques, and writing on philosophy and religion. Not to mention the latest about my beloved Angels, where, even if they are not currently doing well (which they aren’t), hope still springs eternal on the page, and there is always another game tomorrow. All this gets thrown on my driveway fresh every day, and most of all, I like that it is tangible. I can hold it in my hand, spill coffee on it, take it to where I am and sit with it. I also like the fact that it’s local. There’s an identity that links me to where I live. It’s a sense of place, and each of the places I have lived is different. In San Francisco, it was the Chronicle; in Boston, it was the Globe; and in Los Angeles, it’s the Times. I have been known to write writers and receive something in return. I still have in my office a framed personally typed and signed letter from the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen thanking me for the copy of my book I sent him. He said it was “a good one.” To be sure I could get all of this information online with countless links to more places where I can get background stories, videos and instant reactions of eyewitnesses via social media, but I’m admittedly old school. I like the fact that someone has sorted through all that and provided me with what they think is important for me to know today. In short, a large team of people have presented the world to me in a plastic bag and delivered it to my door, and in spite of the vast resources of the Internet, I will always think that this is pretty cool. I sit at my computer all day long; but sitting for a few minutes with the morning paper is a luxury I can afford. God is presenting the world to you today. This is far more complex than the morning paper; this is what is called God’s will, and it will be your experience to live it out today. God is intimately involved with every piece of it — every twist and turn. There are no surprises for Him because He selected the events of this day and is allowing it to happen with you in it. It may involve great joy; it may involve tragedy and pain. You and I don’t know yet, but He knows, and in His version of your life there are no mistakes. We can’t possibly understand it all now, but we will, by and by. So walking by faith is like discovering God’s will for you. It’s already been thought out. He’s there ahead of you and He will meet you each step of the way. It’s a little like your life delivered to your door each day in a plastic bag. Someone’s prepared it for you. Someone’s thought it through. Someone has a purpose for everything that happens. And someone’s going to meet you in it. Guaranteed. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) th-2

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9 Responses to The world in a plastic bag

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Pastor John let me plz ask what book of your’s did you send to: “…the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen thanking me for the copy of my book I sent him. He said it was “a good one.”” Because i luv reading book’s and getting ready to plan for my June book of the month…

  2. Indeed, John! We get the paper delivered each day and also enjoy it’s diverse reporting over coffee. I’ve been meaning to write aside from your blog, and I will…right now we’re on our way to LAX, flying out to Japan for my husband’s very last flight before retiring from American Airlines. His pilot career there has spanned 37 years. I will also be working the flight..35 years as a flight attendant. Friday we will be pulling in and saying our very last set of goodbyes to our passengers together at the deplaning door. Bittersweet…a day of joy, gratitude, emotion, and love. God is so great!

  3. John VS says:

    I feel the same way about the paper. One of the simple pleasures in this life. Could you write a column on coffee? Goes great with the newspaper. Thanks, John.

    • jwfisch says:

      Better yet, I wrote a whole book on it: “Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian.” Amazon has it.

  4. Yes, John, there is something comforting about a newspaper – archaic as it may seem to post-modern sensibilities. Every year around Christmastime, our local Herald in Snohomish county re-prints this article from the “Ghost of Newspapers Past”. Enjoy:

    Dear Santa: Some of my friends say that newspapers are dead. Papa says, “If Santa says it’s so, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, Santa, are there still newspapers?

    Virginia O’Hanlan

    Virginia: Your friends are wrong. They have been struck dumb by twerking pop stars, made dull-witted by too many episodes of “Honey Boo Boo.” They do not believe except what they can read in misspelled tweets and Buzzfeed galleries of Justin Bieber’s changing hairstyles.

    Yes, Virginia, there are newspapers.

    Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no newspapers. It would be as dreary as if there were no subscribers. There would be no Dilbert, no Dear Abby, no crossword puzzles, no Jumble. We should have no enjoyment, except in cat videos on YouTube.

    No newspapers? Thank Gutenberg’s ghost, they survive, and will continue forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten times ten thousand years from now, newspapers will continue to miss the front porch by at least 15 feet, will still inform and entertain, delight and infuriate and leave black ink stains on fingers.

    Santa Claus 🙂

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