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Weapons of Mass Construction in the War on Terror:
Using your God-given gifts to fight a war of emotion
by psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, a.k.a. Dr. B. L. T., the Rock Doc
In the wake of September 11, the Red Cross was overwhelmed with monetary funds and donations of blood. The reason? Yes, heartfelt compassion for victims and surviving family members was a primary motivating factor, but other motives were present. People felt helpless, insignificant, and powerless in the face of colossal devastation. They felt they had nothing of personal value to offer to offer, so they gave something tangible, something palpable blood and money. Though Michael Jackson asked, "What More Can I Give?" in a song that was to have become the "We are the World" of the new millennium, controversy thwarted the release of the single along with the corresponding music video that was to include a gamut of pop and rock stars. But the question he aimed to pose lingered in the mind of every American citizen. Even as the anniversary of 9/11 came and went, and Americans watched as surviving victims wept, the question haunted nearly every heart and mind.
A less tangible offering of the exceptionally gifted would accompany another monetary flood of support that followed a definitive 9/11 benefit rock concert in New York City. "We Didn't Start the Fire," may have been a big hit for Billy Joel, but Joel and an impressive cadre of fellow rock stars fought the fires still burning at ground zero with a fire of their own. In a night of unprecedented grief, seminal artists such as The Who, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie launched some of their most powerful weapons of mass construction in a brilliant, heartfelt show of support for New York firefighters. How much more powerful the night would have been had righteous rockers like Creed, P. O. D., and DC Talk been recruited for this mission of mercy!
But you don't have to be a superstar to offer a personal gift to those who lost their lives on that terrible Tuesday. In fact, you don't need to be able to sing, or play an instrument. Consider the Old Testament character of David, the boy who would be king, in his quest to bring down Goliath, the giant Philistine. All David had was a slingshot and a few smooth stones. Goliath mocked him and his mission. Little did the mocking giant know that he was about to die laughing.
Evil world leaders such as bin Laden or Saddam Hussein are like Goliath, the mocking giant. You may feel that your chances, as an average individual citizen, of standing up to such tyrants of terror are equal or less than equal to David's chances of bringing down Goliath. Perhaps you are gifted at listening. This is a potential powerful weapon of mass construction on the psychological and spiritual fronts of the war on terror. You can make yourself and your gift accessible to a person grieving from the loss of a loved one in the attacks of September 11, or show compassion towards an Arab-American who has no identifiable ties to terror, yet has been unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. Maybe you have the gift of parenting and are able to serve as a role model to your children and other children who would otherwise live in fear of the threatening world they have been forced to face in the wake of 9/11.
Perhaps you have the gift of discernment and sound judgment, and are mentally equipped to model sound judgment at those post-9/11 situations in which those around you are tempted to act out of panic. Perhaps you have the gift of gab, and are equipped to offer invigorating words of hope and a spirited resolve, to those citizens who are bracing themselves for another terrorist attack. These are only a few examples of potentially powerful weapons of mass construction that you, as an "ordinary" American citizen possess in the psychological and spiritual fronts of the war on terror. Jesus was able to turn a loaf of bread and a few small fish into a meal that would serve thousands. God, by empowering David, was able to use a few small stones to kill a mighty mocking Giant. To what degree will you allow God to use your seemingly insignificant gifts or weapons of mass construction to combat forces of darkness? Admittedly, I am an aspiring rock 'n role model, but I must humbly acknowledge that when it comes to the music business, I am a David among Goliath's. My weapons of mass construction are my mind (in those rare moments when it is operating on all cylinders), my pen, my guitar, and my songs.
In the church, there is room (at least a modicum of space) for variegated views concerning the extent to which "turning the other cheek" applies to terrorists who seek to kill, mutilate and maim innocent Americans. As it pertains to the war on terror, I would prefer to model after the incident in which Jesus tossed around tables in the temple, over the despicable, but ostensibly less serious acts of moneychangers. When you approach the pearly gates on the other side of the sky you won't be given an entrance exam asking you whether you are a pacifist paragon of the peace movement or if you are a military commander. You may have been raised to eschew military combat of any kind. Your religious beliefs may prevent you from supporting the military campaign against terror. This should not keep you from seeking to thwart the plans of evil world leaders to spread fear among innocent American citizens. This should not stop you from signing up for a psychological and spiritual campaign against terrorists and those who would weaken our resolve by taking God out of the picture.
Like soldiers assigned to formally serve within the department of psychological operations (psyops) in the U.S. Army, you can be a soldier of the psyche and/or a soldier of the soul. You don't have to be Carl Jung, Billy Joel, the pope, or Billy Graham either. In fact, you don't have to be a psychologist, musician, or a religious leader at all. God's army is made up of a diverse band of even the most unlikely of soldiers. The apostle Paul said it best when he stated, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:19, NIV)."
Note from the Editor:
Dr. B. L. T., the Rock Doc has put this into action--his latest weapons are contained on a 9/11 retrospective CD entitled One September Mournin'. It features Sacramento Bands Together!, a multi-band made up of local bands and artists such as Tony Plum of Karmic Book Heroes, Practically Poetz, Stereotype, Sonny Flores, and Monique of All About Me. These musicians wield weapons of mass construction of their own, and they share a common goal. Their overriding goal is to use music as a psychologically and spiritually healing medium a soothing emollient to counter terror in its multiple psychological manifestations. Per Thiessen, "We intend to use our weapons to assuage grief and to instill a sense of enduring hope and courage in Americans besieged by the terrifying events of 9/11."