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Ask the Rock Doc: 
Dr. BLT offers advice for a song to music-minded youth and adults in crisis. 

The following inquiry has been paraphrased, with certain details omitted and/or altered to protect the confidentiality of the subject.

Dear Roc Doc:

How can you represent yourself as a Christian doctor, when you listen to rock music and encourage others, even vulnerable young people to do the same? I don't believe that any rock music, whether it's secular, or so-called "Christian" rock, is of God. It caters to the flesh, and that cannot possibly be of God.


Dear BW:

I'm sure that your initials do not stand for "black and white," but, based on your question, it seems that you prefer to look at the world in "black and white" terms. In a world in which values are rapidly decaying, and moral absolutes have been replaced by subjectivity and relativity, I can understand why you might want to protect yourself with such a mechanism of defense. 

George Kelly, a prolific writer and vanguard in the cognitive movement in psychology, would describe your personal construct, or way of perceiving the world, as one marked by simplicity. Moreover, he would regard your construct of the world as one that is not particularly permeable. I do not want to cast judgment on such an approach. It is a useful one in cases in which imminent danger lurks on the horizon. Terrorism poses such a threat, and policies aimed at preventing terror attacks must go through a process of disambiguation in order to be readily understood and efficiently executed. Black and white thinking has survival value in a world in which terrorists are continually engaged in evil machinations aimed at wiping out the "infidels."

Rock 'n' roll can represent a psychological threat because it can be used as a tool for introducing a compromised set of values. It can promote racial hatred, misogamy, amorality, and a scornful attitude towards the Judeo-Christian values upon which this nation was founded. On the other hand, the apostle Paul was able to identify with so many disparate groups of people because he understood the art of "being all things to all people." He knew how to learn the language of those with whom he communicated in order to more effectively spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Rock music is a powerful language that, of itself, is morally neutral. As such, it can, and has, been used mightily as a tool for promoting positive values and for spreading the gospel. As a psychologist, I have found rock 'n' roll to be one of the most useful adjuncts to traditional psychotherapy. In the past few decades alone, bands like Evanesce, Creed, U2 and P.O.D. have demonstrated the power of music in shaping lives for the good, and inculcating a positive, Christ-centered message within young people. Thousands have come to Christ as a result of a rock 'n' roll delivery of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands have been emboldened to persevere in times of psychological and spiritual crisis through faith-based lyrics, emotionally delivered through the medium of rock 'n' roll. Rap is another genre that has redemption value. In fact, here is no genre that is beyond redemption.

A seminal Christian artist, Larry Norman (let's remember him in our prayers as he is presently beleaguered by severe medical problems), once said in a song, "Why should the devil have all the good music?" As the band Petra said in a song that would later be covered by the band, Kiss, "God gave rock 'n' roll to you/gave rock 'n' roll to you/put it in the soul of everyone." 

What would happen if Christ-centered rockers extracted the raw power of Jet's “Get Born” and transferred it into a Jet-inspired album called Get Born Again? What would happen if Christian artists delivered the message of Christ with as much passion as Jet's avatars, AC/DC, delivers their chillingly devilish message in Hells Bells or Highway to Hell? The world would turn upside down.

Groups like AC/DC, and their most passionate album to date, Back in Black, make it tempting to be held back in a world of black and white. But I'd encourage you not to get stuck there. Listen to the music of the Man in Black--Johnny Cash, a born again Christian, and a "walking contradiction," who embraced the blood-red cross of Christ while he colored the world with bold strokes of gray. He saw the world for what it was: black, white, grey, and, after the rain, bursting forth in the brilliant colors of the rainbow. When it came to rocking the world, he didn't play it safe. He bravely walked the line. So why don't you?

If you are a musically-minded person in distress, write Dr. BLT at

Special Announcement:
Dr. B.L.Trivia Contest Winner

Last month, Dr. B.L.T. invited readers to identify Rolling Stones song titles appearing in subheadings and embedded in the body of his article, When the Stone Rolled from the Tomb.  This month we have a winner and he is:
DARRYL ENS of RICHMOND, BRITISH COLUMBIA.  DARRYL is a solo guitarist, and former member of the Canadian Christian rock band, Samson.   Congratulations, Darryl!  As the winner of the Dr. B.L.Trivia contest, you will recieve a CD copy of When the Stone Rolled from the Tomb, the one-song soundtrack to the article from the forthcoming CD, Stone-ground Dreams, a CD containing songs about the Stones, written from a Christian perspective by the author of the article.  

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 



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