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Book Review of Living the Fruit of the Spirit: Lessons from Barney Rubble


The Jesus Cure is Reviewed in the April 7 and November 18, 2004 Issues of Catholic Review

From "Barney to the "Jesus Cure"

By Christopher Gaul

 The last time I saw Kevin Fontaine, Johns Hopkins psychologist and parishioner of St. Clare, Essex, I found him deeply disturbed by society’s descent into moral relativism. His concern had prompted him to write a book about Christian living, choosing as a role model, of all people, the cartoon character Barney Rubble of “The Flintstones.”

Barney, gentle, generous, modest, honest Barney, he thought, was a really good example of someone who lived in the fruit of the Spirit as described by St. Paul.

It was a delightful and instructive book, but already Dr. Fontaine was working on another, one that would focus on our urgent need to connect with the greatest role model of all time so that readers, as he put it, can “learn a new way to think, feel, and act to forge a life of integrity.”

Quoting Charles Dickens’ famous opening to “A Tale of Two Cities,” Dr. Fontaine reminds us that we are living in the best of times and the worst of times.

“Although we enjoy the greatest standard of living in history, we have never been plagued more by the gnawing sense that our lives have little or no purpose or meaning,” the author said. And so, he has come up with what he calls “The Jesus Cure: The 4 Keys to Living a Life of Integrity, Significance, and Peace.”

As charming as the Barney book was, Dr. Fontaine’s latest work is more profound in its spirituality and more practical in how we can apply its Jesus-based moral lessons to our daily lives.

Noting that, at least for many of us, our lives in this new millennium are marked by distress and feelings of emptiness and that society’s moral decay “only seems to be accelerating,” Dr. Fontaine assures us that there is an answer in the life of Jesus, “the most perfect human being who ever lived, the fulfillment of optimal human qualities.”

Dr. Fontaine explores the roots of our distress and emptiness, and presents the four keys that Jesus used to live a life of integrity, significance, and peace.

His “little book,” as he describes it, can be easily summarized in three words: God, others, self.

“Live your life in that order – for God, for others, for self – and you will live a life of integrity, significance, and peace that will exceed your wildest expectations,” Dr. Fontaine advises us. “God will use you in ways you could never believe; and, in the process, you, like Jesus, will experience a rich, varied, and exciting life.”

There is nothing pedantic, preachy or condescending about Dr. Fontaine’s “little book.”

It is, rather, exciting and very enriching. And it provides us with a simple yet effective way of living that can break “Satan’s sword,” Dr. Fontaine’s apt definition of moral relativism.



November 18, 2004 Book Review

To Kevin Fontaine, Johns Hopkins psychologist, St. Clare, Essex, parishioner, and self-styled Christian writer, moral relativism is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous “virus of self-absorption” in the history of mankind.

Put simply, moral relativism posits that there is no such thing as right and wrong; everything is permissible provided we believe that it is right for us. Of course, it increases personal freedom but unbridled personal freedom; freedom without a conscience, freedom without regard for how what we do affects others.

Just watch any television sitcom or reality show, says Dr. Fontaine, and you’ll see traces of moral relativism, total disregard for standards of right and wrong.

Dr. Fontaine’s antidote to the virus of moral relativism is Jesus. Jesus is the cure. And that’s what he’s called his latest book: “The Jesus Cure: The 4 Keys to Living a life of Integrity, Significance, and Peace.”

How is Jesus the cure?

“Jesus’ life and earthly ministry provides a model of how we should strive to live,” Kevin explained. “His life was the antithesis of moral relativism. Jesus lived his life with a clear moral compass – there was right and there was wrong. His operating principle was love. But love didn’t mean ‘anything goes.’ Jesus’ example prompted those around him to become more fully human, more integrated, and more morally accountable.

In short, Jesus’ character rubbed off on those around him. His example changed lives, changed minds and hearts.”

You need to read Dr. Fontaine’s book to discover exactly what the four keys are, but it’s important to know that they are interlocking and build upon each other. That is, the first key provides the foundation and each subsequent key builds on the previous one until you’ve got four interlocking and interacting keys that, if practiced consistently will, “help you forge a life that smolders with integrity, significance, and peace,” Dr. Fontaine said.

Does that mean that if we practice the four keys we can be like Jesus?

Yes and no, Dr. Fontaine said. Yes, if we could practice them day in and day out. But that’s a big if. Because we’re fallible human beings we cannot practice the four keys with the sort of regularity that would make us anything like Jesus. We’re flawed. We’re sinners incapable of practicing the four keys in the way Jesus did.

But, Dr. Fontaine reassures us, even if we practice the keys in a haphazard and inconsistent way, “we’d still find greater value, joy, and peace in our lives than we do now.”

What Dr. Fontaine offers us with his four keys is a guide and a standard with which to measure our conduct.

“Although we’ll never be exactly like Jesus, at least we’ll have a better sense of what made Jesus the most mature and integrated human being to ever walk the earth,” Dr. Fontaine said.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of Dr. Fontaine’s book, you can call 301-695-1707 or go onto the internet at or

For further information or to schedule an interview with Dr. Fontaine, please contact him at:
Order online with SECURE shopping cart at Publish America or call (301) 695-1707.