Dr. Foul–November 2, 2011

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Telling people that life is easy is misleading them into believing that nothing they are or that they possess will need to change.

Utterly ridiculous. 

Informing people that life is hard makes them reticent, a bit reclusive and frightened that change will be thrust upon them and they will be insufficient to the task. 

Equally harmful.

And telling people that you have the answers and that if they would just listen to your counsel they would be better is not only turning yourself into a false Messiah, but making them subservient to such a fictitious character.

Damnable.

There is a gentleman on TV who postures as a renowned psychologist and pops off advice in a homespun way, having very little understanding of the history of the people he’s talking to, while sharing some personal anecdotes about how he has overcome the same problem with a “tell it like it is” attitude, leaving people helpless to disagree with him, and therefore cowering in the corner, just waiting for the onslaught of his opinion to stop. They call him Dr. Phil. But to me, he’s Dr. Foul.

I know what you’re thinking. “Jonathan, you don’t usually come out with such blatant statements about individuals.” This is true–and I apologize for my lapse in procedure, but I’ve grown weary of television gurus who feather the nest of their reputation by using wounded human beings who are caught in a web of difficulty and deception to make themselves look like they are smarter than the average person and that they can fly high over the masses. Here’s the problem with Dr. Foul:

1.Change is a necessity and relationship is necessary to human beings, so the need for change within a relationship has to be worked out by the individuals who are involved in that covenant and cannot be simply handled in two quick stories and three platitudes. Dr. Foul likes to find the person who appears to be victimized and portray him or her as someone who needs self-esteem and is being torn down by the mean aggressor. It isn’t always that easy. There are people in this life who have declared war on the concept of change. Their “changeless” attitudes causes conflict, financial difficulties, problems and even illness. To tell them that they are “fine the way they are” is to lock them in a box of their own insufficiency and throw away the key.

2. He believes that conventional wisdom always works. It doesn’t. It’s why the Bible says that we “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” It is why the Bible also teaches that we “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.” Bluntly, that premise contends that if we need space for our pointy corners, then we must grant that same opportunity to our fellow humans. Knocking off the corners on people’s lives does not make them fit better into Godly containers. It just bruises them.

3. Not everything is a story about you. I realize that Dr. Foul is an entertainer who has neither the patience nor the time anymore to actually involve himself in   human contact with those in need. But presenting how YOU did something so well is not a motivation to make others do the same. It just makes them feel more helpless.

4. He doesn’t allow for an argument. It doesn’t matter how smart you get–people still on occasion are smarter than you. If you cannot listen to what they’re saying and give in to common sense, but rather, feel that you must maintain a position, then you have become useless to them. Dr. Foul is never wrong and becomes quite heatedly angry if you suggest otherwise.

5.  And finally, mixing philosophies together to form a hodge-podge of psychological babble is not conducive to establishing a good pattern for life. In the process of one show, Dr. Foul will bounce between Zen Buddhism, pop psychology, fundamentalist Christianity, Cracker Box chatter, hipster lingo and just man-on-woman chauvinistic superiority. Make up your mind.

For instance, when I run across fundamentalist Christians who only believes in the King James version of the Bible and they are ardent in their belief, I can have a conversation with them because I understand their hearts.  This is why I admire people who are against abortion, but also against capital punishment and war. It’s consistent. On the other hand, if you were to actually follow the advice of Dr. Foul, you would find yourself so uncommitted to any particular path of righteousness that your wishy-washy approach would render you insipid to the point of being comical.

Case in point: it is impossible to instruct people that women are the weaker sex or that women are the emotional arm of the species and that men are sexually driven, dominant and more powerful and think that you are going to establish any kind of relationship based on equality. Yet Dr. Foul persists in offering an Old Testament version of relationships between men and women while at the same time insisting that he is the modern Renaissance man who views both sexes as equals.

I do not share this with you today because I want to be mean-spirited to this gentleman. I just want to make it clear that you should not listen to anything anyone says, including this writer, without trying and testing it through your spirit, your experience and your willingness–your spirit because God speaks to you if you’re willing to listen; your experience because that which you’ve seen and heard is what you should declare to others; and your willingness–just because something NEEDS to be done does not mean that after you have counted the cost, you are going to be able to undertake it.

Dr. Foul does not allow enough time for these people to do this wonderful three-step process.  He tells them what their problem is, makes them accept it and sends them off somewhere for therapy as he closes the show with a smirk, to the roar of applause. When you are truly helping people it is no laughing matter and there rarely is ever a standing ovation.

As I said, feel free to disregard this humble author’s insights in this matter. But also please examine the counsel of anyone–no matter how many degrees they may possess–and ask God to show you what part of it has meat and what part of it is just dry bones.

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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