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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
the Rock Doc
By Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT, psychologist
Self-proclaimed Gun and Bible Clinger sticking to his guns
* Details contained in the original correspondence, or inquiry have been omitted or otherwise altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to make key spiritual/psychological points.
Dear Rock Doc:
Iím a record company executive thatís pretty well known in California and beyond and people in the record business are really into Phantom Tollbooth because it introduces us to artists we may overlook in our standard methods of talent scouting.
Based on the stuff Iíve read of yours in past issues of Phantom Tollbooth (which I absolutely love by the way) you seem to shy away from politics, so Iím not sure how this will be received or if you will take the time to respond to it.
A doctor once said that I was a functioning schizophrenic. You know that new song by Puddle of Mudd, called Psycho? Well, my ex-girlfriend would say itís about me. But the Bible says that in the last days, people like me will be persecuted, so is it paranoia if we read the book of Revelation, and take it seriously?
I had made up my mind that I was going to vote Obama to protest McCainís liberal past, but when I heard him go after folks he claimed were bitter and ďclinging to their Bibles and guns,Ē it really caused me to believe he could be the anti-Christ.
Doesnít the Bible say something about the anti-Christ being a reasonable, intelligent, smooth-talking dude?
I have 10 guns in my house, hidden in various places. No, Iím not a violent man, but when folks start to go after my beliefs in the Bible, I feel I have to have the guns there, just for protection. Am I bitter? Not at all, but Iím keenly aware that these are the last days weíre living in, and if we donít protect ourselves, who will?
Maybe you think Iím a nutcase, but that hasnít stopped me from finding and development a number of stellar artists that have made millions. I function great at home, and at work. I have 4 grown-up children who adore me, and Iím loved by everyone in the neighborhood. So are you now going to join the growing chorus of people who think Iím crazy?
Self-proclaimed Gun and Bible Clinger
Dear Self-Proclaimed Gun and Bible Clinger:
I swear I wrote this song before, not after reading your letter. But you may identify with the song:
One Hand on my Bible/the Other on My Gun
You might say youíve introduced several ďloadedĒ questions (pun fully intended). Actually, I donít generally shy away from politics, but I do shy away from using my religious beliefs to defend my politics, or my politics to defend my religious beliefs.
Corruption crosses party lines, and by entering into the world of politics, one has already begun a life of compromised principles, all in the name of getting those much-desired votes. Jesus was not a Republican, and he was not a Democrat. He did believe in bringing people together, however, and togetherness is not exactly the word I would use to describe the political climate that is all too common in our culture today.
Gun ownership is a tricky issue, and one that we canít resolve by whipping out a Bible verse. You obviously have a right to own guns, and to do whatever you can to protect yourself and your family in the event that you and/or members of your family are attacked.
But politics and guns are not my area of
specialty. Psychology is, and I also cling to my Bible even as I
search for principles of psychology that are consistent with scripture.
When a person experiences paranoid thinking, everything becomes part of a grand conspiracy. At some point the paranoid individual loses perspective, and loses his/her ability to be objective. The scriptures, on the other hand, are too be interpreted objectively, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit that guides us to all truth.
Sometimes, however, a mind that is governed by chemical processes that have gone awry, needs to be stilled before the spirit of God can enter, and reveal his divine truth to those who will receive it.
Thatís where psychiatry comes in. And thatís where psychology comes in. I canít tell you where your legitimate interpretation of scripture ends, and your paranoid thought processes begin, without examining you with a full battery of psychological tests, and the application of my own clinical judgment, based on careful observation of you over time.
As a matter of fact, I cannot say, definitely, whether you do, or do not suffer from Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type. I do not, as a rule, form definitive diagnoses on patients or prospective patients I have never examined.
But if others, including professionals, have come to the conclusion that you suffer from a mental health condition like Schizophrenia that impairs your ability to adequately test reality, you might take what they have to say seriously, and try to work with them accordingly.
For me, itís not a matter of whether or not youíre crazy. I prefer to avoid using disparaging terms like ďcrazy.Ē It misses the point that people suffer in different ways, and we must approach every person who suffers, with the utmost compassion. We must not substitute that compassion with cheap labels.
If you are being tormented and paralyzed by fear, chances are, that fear is not coming from God, or from the Bible. The Bible does speak of the last days, and it does so in ways we donít always easily understand. But it also says that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
So Iím offering this sound advice to you today. Stay in therapy, and stay in the word, but start with a book other than Revelation. Thereís a reason it is the last book in the Bible.
As for who to vote for, I canít tell you that. I can say with a certain degree of confidence that I know who would do the best job of protecting this country and the best job of protecting my values as a Christian.
After carefully researching the candidates, who make you feel most secure about your future. Vote for that candidate.
Also, if youíre merely using your guns for protection, in the event of an emergency, Iíd say keep putting one hand on the bible, and the other on your gun.
Iíve tried to be a straight-shooter here today (pun intended, once again). Let me know if Iíve answered your ďloadedĒ questions to your satisfaction.
If youíre a musician in distress, or a friend or family member of one, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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