Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Dr. Phil Of The Jerry Springer Crowd

Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil in the same title, tell me it can't be true. Well it is true, and I am sure the contribution today will raise more than a few eyebrows.

I have a confession that runs the risk of gaining a few friends, and losing a few others. I have to admit, on occasion when flipping through the television channels, I stop and watch what some call the worst show in the history of television, The Jerry Springer Show. I could take it a step further, I have actually studied The Jerry Springer Show and while I often have serious issues with the program, I have come to really appreciate Jerry Springer's mastery of how to control an audience, and his ability to interview and create situations that at the very least, in a controversial way, creates riveting television.

On the other hand, I have on occasion also watched Dr. Phil. I have to admit, I am not a big fan of what I call "Junk Psychology" but Dr. Phil is a master at being able to give some resemblance of help to people who need it in varying situations in a short period of time. I actually appreciate what I consider his Gestalt techniques at times and know that for many a viewer and many a guest, he has indeed been responsible in helping make a difference in their lives. Having been a student of psychology and counseling, and a counselor myself, I have also studied the approach of Dr. Phil.

I have often wondered, how in the world would you take an approach like Dr. Phil and address the people who are more in tune with Jerry Springer, after all, it is no secret these are two distinctively different audiences. Recently while flipping through the channels I found myself stopped at a particular program, impressed with someone offering sound, solid, and appropriate advice to the Jerry Springer Crowd. Someone who I felt was filling a niche that hadn't been met.

Steve Wilkos, a former marine and beat police officer stands 6' 3" tall and has a talent that causes him to be what I consider the Dr. Phil of the Jerry Springer Crowd. For fans of the Springer crowd you will simply know him as Steve, the bald headed chief of security for the Springer show. As of recent he has been hosting various shows ranging on various topics. I have to admit, Steve's approach is one I really appreciate, and one completely different than Jerry Springer. In fact, when Steve is hosting a show, one might say it doesn't resemble The Jerry Springer Show, it is totally different, with a different focus and a different approach. Sure there are some of the overt Springer events, the handing out of the Jerry Beads, pole dancers and those types of things, but it is obvious this don't fit so much into the personality of Steve as it does the producers of the television show. In fact, at times, it is obvious Steve is not comfortable with this direction of the show when hosting it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not endorsing The Jerry Springer Show, even when Steve is hosting, I am saying I find value in Steve's approach and I believe he is helping people, both on screen and off screen who are members of the Springer fan club. Steve in essence, with his background as a police officer, and years of observing Jerry Springer work a room, may have found his true gift in life, being the Dr. Phil of the Springer Crowd.

I am amazed at how people are different. There is the white collar crowd, the ones working Wall Street, involved in investments, living in the suburbs, drinking Heineken and on and on. Then there is the blue collar crowd, the ones working in the factory, living in panel houses or housing projects, those who drive cars more than 10 years old and drink Pabst Blue Ribbon. The sad thing is it seems as if society places a higher value on one group of people over another, which is a shame; it is a shame because in the eyes of God, both groups are of equal value.

The truth is, it is just as important for the fans of Jerry Springer to have sound advice, in their language, and in their world that can offer a glimmer of hope. While ultimately that hope comes from God, it is nice to know that some folks like Steve Wilkos is there at least making some level of progress. Whether he is helping a hooker get off the streets, or offering advice to a pregnant daughter to develop a more appropriate relationship with her mother, the advice can be solid and of benefit. Again, not just to the person on the screen, but to the viewer at home who is attracted to this type of program.

In the Bible, we often read analogies of how Christians are like a family, brothers, sisters, that type of thing. We also hear of an analogy of growing up, being like a baby, drinking milk, and then becoming more mature where you can eat more adult types of food. There is another analogy that fits here though, that is the Church, or people of God being like a body. Here you have a body that has hands and feet, fingers and toes, arm pits and, well you can imagine. All are important parts of the body, all are needed, all are essential to helping the other parts do their jobs. Sometimes that body is dirty from working dirty, difficult jobs, sometimes that body is clean but mentally drained from working on detailed, organizational jobs, but, they all serve each other, and all are needed to truly bring about a complete and perfect body. I find it sad, that often times people ignore the dirty, the so called insignificant, and in return there is little respect for the one who never seems to get their hands dirty. The truth is we need each other.

There are numerous passages in the Bible that help illustrate this, today, I want to close with looking at the entirety of 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12. After reading it, ask yourself, what kind of gifts can I give? What kinds of things can I do to help others? How can I do it in a way that allows me to be who I am? Then after answering those questions, apply and start work towards your answers. I'll tell you right now, if God can use the Dr. Phil of the Springer Crowd he can certainly use you. I don't know for sure, but I would suspect that even Steve Wilkos, Jerry Springer, and Dr. Phil would agree on that point. Here is the chapter to read, think about, and apply.

1 Corinthians 12
Spiritual Gifts
(1) My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts. (2) I want you to remember that before you became followers of the Lord, you were led in all the wrong ways by idols that cannot even talk. (3) Now I want you to know that if you are led by God's Spirit, you will say that Jesus is Lord, and you will never curse Jesus.
(4) There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but they all come from the same Spirit. (5) There are different ways to serve the same Lord, (6) and we can each do different things. Yet the same God works in all of us and helps us in everything we do.

(7) The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. (8 ) Some of us can speak with wisdom, while others can speak with knowledge, but these gifts come from the same Spirit. (9) To others the Spirit has given great faith or the power to heal the sick (10) or the power to work mighty miracles. Some of us are prophets, and some of us recognize when God's Spirit is present. Others can speak different kinds of languages, and still others can tell what these languages mean. (11) But it is the Spirit who does all this and decides which gifts to give to each of us.

One Body with Many Parts
(12) The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. (13) Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God's Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. (14) Our bodies don't have just one part. They have many parts. (15) Suppose a foot says, "I'm not a hand, and so I'm not part of the body." Wouldn't the foot still belong to the body? (16) Or suppose an ear says, "I'm not an eye, and so I'm not part of the body." Wouldn't the ear still belong to the body? (17) If our bodies were only an eye, we couldn't hear a thing. And if they were only an ear, we couldn't smell a thing. (18 ) But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best.
(19) A body isn't really a body, unless there is more than one part. (20) It takes many parts to make a single body. (21) That's why the eyes cannot say they don't need the hands. That's also why the head cannot say it doesn't need the feet. (22) In fact, we cannot get along without the parts of the body that seem to be the weakest. (23) We take special care to dress up some parts of our bodies. We are modest about our personal parts, (24) but we don't have to be modest about other parts.

God put our bodies together in such a way that even the parts that seem the least important are valuable. (25) He did this to make all parts of the body work together smoothly, with each part caring about the others. (26) If one part of our body hurts, we hurt all over. If one part of our body is honored, the whole body will be happy.

(27) Together you are the body of Christ. Each one of you is part of his body. (28 )First, God chose some people to be apostles and prophets and teachers for the church. But he also chose some to work miracles or heal the sick or help others or be leaders or speak different kinds of languages. (29) Not everyone is an apostle. Not everyone is a prophet. Not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone can work miracles. (30) Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. (31) I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way.


1 Corinthians 12:10 and some of us. . . present: Or "and some of us recognize the difference between God's Spirit and other spirits."
1 Corinthians 12:13 Some of us are Jews. . . that same Spirit: Verse 13 may also be translated, "God's Spirit is inside each of us, and all around us as well. So it doesn't matter that some of us are Jews and others are Gentiles and that some are slaves and others are free. Together we are one body."
1 Corinthians 12:31 I want you to desire the best gifts: Or "You desire the best gifts."

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