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Love Him in the Morning: Reflections on God's Faithfulness
Author: John Fischer
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. B.L.T.

This is a book about a song. I'm going to talk about the song shortly, and then I'm going to talk about the book. In fact, I was so inspired by the book that I might even write a song about "the book about the song," but first let's talk about the man behind both the book about the song, and the song itself.

Though I have never had the honor of meeting him, John Fischer is a man I can relate to. He is a self-described "morning person." He wakes up the same way I do--not to a familiar tune coming from a clock radio, but to a fresh, new tune jumping out of the lake of his unconscious mind like a spirited fish bursting forth from a fresh, mountain stream. The biggest "fish" Fischer ever fetched, fried, and served up for breakfast was the "All Day Song"--a song that has become a breakfast staple in Christian circles all across the world, ever since Fischer released it in the early seventies.

It is no accident that John Fischer's initials are J.F., the same as the initials for the term "Jesus Freak." I was an 11-year old boy when folks like Fischer began to make the news. Like Barry McGuire's "Eve of Destruction" (see here Part 1 and Part 2) (but on an admittedly less grand world stage), Fischer's "All Day Song" helped to define the brightest spot in the radical '60s-cum-'70s counterculture. Today's generation of youth was exposed to the term, "Jesus Freak" via the popular title song on a CD by Christian rock supergroup, DC Talk, whose members borrow the term from a bygone era. Back in the day, the term "Jesus Freak" meant something similar, but it was tied more specifically to the Jesus Movement of the late 60s and early 70s. A "Jesus Freak" was a born-again, Jesus-loving hippie who had traded in the drug-laced-free "love" hippie lifestyle for the chance to travel around with a band of like-minded-long-haired-Bible-in-hand believers. I read with dewy eyes about "Jesus People" or "Jesus Freaks" (the terms were used interchangeably, the latter in more disparaging contexts) in magazines. Coming from a strict, conservative Christian family, I had great admiration for them, and thought they were the coolest thing since The Monkees. I was a wannabe Jesus Freak and, ironically enough, I began to love the "persecution" and ridicule I experienced when I began to carry my Bible to school. I felt like one of "them." But I wasn't. I was too young, my hair was too short, and I had no realistic way of paying my dues.

John Fischer, on the other hand, was the real deal. He was one of the cognoscente. He was legitimately accepted as one of the "freaks," and his one-way ticket to acceptance was his simple song, the "All Day Song." As it turned out, the song outlasted the movement. The song's staying power grew much longer than Fischer's hair. It stuck around long after the U.S. soldiers came back from Viet Nam to the dubious welcome of jeers, sneers, and shouts of "baby-killer!" It outlasted platform heels and butterfly bow ties. The streaking fad came and went, but Fischer never had to flash his stripped-down song. It simply survived--and thrived.

DJ-cum-one-hit-wonder, Rick Dees' "Disco Duck," raced up and down the charts so quickly that you might as well say it was dead on arrival. But the "All Day Song" stayed alive. Unlike the song "I Will Survive," the "All Day Song" didn't have to tell you what it was determined to do. Saturday Night Fever and "Staying Alive," the disco-era-defining song it spawned, quietly slipped away, but not the "All Day Song." The Sex Pistols almost killed the Queen of England with their new version of "God Save the Queen," but she survived, and so did the song. The Sex Pistols crashed and burned while disgruntled fans shouted "Disco sucks!!!" The Pistols joined the Clash in permanently crashing the disco party. All the while, Christians were opening their worship services with the "All Day Song." All the while camp kids were turning to Jesus while the "All Day Song" was being sung around campfires of Church-sponsored summer camps and youth retreats. The song simply wouldn't go away. Lips Inc.'s "Funky Town" turned to a ghost town. "Flash Dance_ turned into a flash-in-the-pan. The elder Bush served his single term with grace, and then came Election Day, his coup de grace.

Nevermind Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." What about Milli Vanilli? What about Vanilla Ice? Things came, things went away, but the song remained the same. It stayed. The so-called "members" of Milli Vanilli were lynched for lip synching. Vanilla Ice went into melt-down mode when he was excommunicated from the rap class for his lack of street legitimacy. But The Beat Goes On, and so did Fischer's song. I'm clearly getting carried away. I need to fast forward, or we'll never get to essence of the book. Everything changed on 9/11, but the song never went away. It moved even closer to our then broken hearts. It was a source of healing for many who suffered directly and indirectly from the events of that horrific day.

I've used far too many words to simply say that the "All Day Song" has stood the test of time. It's still standing and showing no signs of diminution. So isn't it time somebody wrote a book about it? Thankfully, somebody has. Thankfully, the writer is none other than the songwriter, Mr. John "Jesus Freak" Fischer.

Some of the simple Bible songs I used to sing in Sunday school have stayed with me over the years, and have been a source of comfort to me. One of those songs is "Fishers of Men." It contains a promise of God's faithfulness: "I will make you fishers of men, if you follow me. . . ." God has richly blessed Fischer's "fish" and has used the "scales" (pun alert) of this song to make Fischer a fisher of men and women--a fisher of souls, if you will. God's magnification of this song is a manifestation of God's faithfulness to who lay their gifts at the altar and offer them to the service of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

By their loyalty to the song, people have been begging for something more from Fischer. I believe they have been asking for daily bread, and, as Jesus said, "If a man shall ask you for a loaf of bread, will you give him a stone?" We are about to receive that loaf of bread. Love Him in the Morning: Reflections on God's Faithfulness, is the bread that goes with the "All Day Song"--Fischer's fish.

I'm not a prophet, just a humble shrink, but I do have a prediction: I predict that Jesus will take the "loaf," Love Him in the Morning: Reflections on God's Faithfulness, multiply its magnitude, and magnify its message to the masses. God will use Fischer's meditations on the song, and its implications for daily living, to miraculously feed and nourish the masses, just as He did in New Testament times when he multiplied the loaves and fishes that the disciples feared would be insufficient, leaving the folks famished.

The book, like the "All Day Song," identifies the common denominator that so many divided denominations do not seem to realize: the love of God--freely given, humbly received, and freely reciprocated by the receiving agent--a sinner saved by grace. Through the thoughtful, insightful integration of scripture and the deft incorporation of Fischer's memories and reflective associations, the book gives the song a context--a Gestalt figure/ground setting to complete the message. Its message is so elegantly delivered, yet so simple, and formulated so close to the heart of God, that I believe the book will be mightily blessed, just like the song. And all those who approach the book with an open mind will find the mind's door opening even wider, wide enough to accommodate the big heart of God.

Love Him in the Morning is a rich meal, but like the "All Day Song," it can be re-visited again and again, and it will still be there every time you come back to receive its blessing. It will taste every bit as fresh as it did the first time you partook of it. When Fischer wrote the "All Day Song," he didn't know it would be an unsinkable fish that would feed the masses. Now that the second course of the meal has been served, the loaf of bread, and there is still plenty of fish left over, maybe we can all get together to make a giant fish sandwich. That is one sandwich that should keep our spiritual appetites at bay for much more than just one day.



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