Abigail Van Buren, (Dear Abby), known for her often wise counsel, died recently. Her real name was Pauline Phillips (1918-2013) which was something I never knew. I still read â€œDear Abby,â€ although my wife hates it. I like reading it because I am a â€œlife long-learnerâ€ and that comes from many sources, mostly books and training. Over the years, she gave many answers that were just wrong or based on limited expertise.
I remember one great answer that stuck with me for years. It was written by an older person, maybe a mother, who had adult children living with her in her 3 bedroom house. The writer was frustrated because her children, although adults, were immature, irresponsible, or just lazy. Sound familiar? It is a common phenomenon in any community where there is substance abuse. The young or middle age adult who canâ€™t seem to get out of the nest, are hampered because their lifestyle is too often about getting hammered. â€œDrinkinâ€™ and drugginâ€™ leads to lazy and slugginâ€™.â€ Anyway, I appreciated Abby when she said, â€œsell your place and rent a one bedroom apartment!â€
Abby was often on the upside of wisdom when alcoholism was involved. She referred many to the 12-Step programs and other support groups. I liked her common sense approach to reoccurring problems. Another wise writer, King Solomon, wrote that there was â€œnothing new under the sun.â€ (Eccl. 1:9). Many of the problems of those who wrote to Abby were the same sad songs being sung in a different year.
I often took issue with Abby advice, and even wrote her a few times to offer her a little critique of her counsel. In what little research I did, I could not find that she was a Christian. In her writing and advice I saw little or no evidence of a faith-based perspective.Â She was a very intelligent person writing responses to frequently foolish fans. She suffered from a need to be politically correct, or a lack of understanding of certain issues. A reoccurring point of confusion and contention was about homosexuality. She, like most journalists, believe in the â€œonce gay, always gayâ€ perspective.Â People can, and do change their same-sex attractions. Exodus Ministries, a Christian ministry, has thousands of examples of people who left the lifestyle. I met personally met another person two weeks ago, who is no longer gay.
I still read Abby because I can always learn a little more wisdom. It also reminds me of the confusion that litters the landscape. Too often the person will write in, â€œHe got out of prison a year ago and hasnâ€™t worked. Do you think I should continue with our marriage plans?â€ Abby is a valuable addition to our newspapers and websites. Often it does offer wise counsel in a foolish land. Unfortunately, based on what little I read about her faith, she may not have taken the ultimate advice of other just as wise writers, like Matthew, Mark, Luke or John!