I got a jolt when I opened up the Sports section of the local rag the other day.
There it was: proof…in a disorienting sheath-of-newsprint…that the entire world has gone sideways.
“So, who’s making a call like this?” I muttered to myself. Who decides that it would a great idea to turn a perfectly serviceable layout convention on its ear?
“Yeah, sure: The vertically-designed broadsheet has worked well for hundreds of years…But hey, why don’t we see if we can aggravate our few remaining subscribers by going horizontal…and making today’s Sports section unreadable?
Don’t know for a fact, but I’m guessing that such editors/decision-makers tend to download most of their “content” on “devices.” They’re of a generation that’s practiced at simply rotating the iPad to get a better view. Make the same move with a 24-inch-tall broadsheet, though, and you run the risk of toppling a tumbler of orange juice all over the news.
Seems obvious enough to me that this is NOT a good idea. I certainly hope it doesn’t catch on as a newspapering “best practice.” At the same time, I found a measure of redemption in the editors’ odd choice when I overlayed it with the exhortation we hear from Jesus on the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He says, intriguingly:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to little ones…”
True, I may not be particularly “wise and learned,” but I do like to think I have enough common sense to know how a newspaper page ought to be laid out. There’s a right way, and a wrong way. And: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But as I meditate on the Christ-mystery we encounter in the gospel this week, I also start to wonder what sorts of things might be “hidden” from my ostensibly wise-and-learned mind. Here, for example, is something we hear about Jesus that seems a bit sideways to me:
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart…”
If I’m honest, I rarely consider “meekness” and “humility” to be the correct tools for getting things done. So do I really want to yoke myself to a Savior who insists on deploying these very tactics? Does anybody?
If my answer is “no,” then it occurs to me that I may still have a great deal to learn. As I stumble through confusing, unfamiliar terrain, could it be that yoking up with this meek-and-humble Jesus is actually better than trying to go it alone?
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.