Thursday, August 2, 2007

Workout 8/1, Part 2

An interesting topic of conversation came up among many other issues when I ran with Dan this afternoon. With seven and a half miles in front of us along the cooler lakefront, what better thing is there to do than talk about our lives and deeply held opinions. Today's Topic: TATTOOS. A Harris Poll taken in 2003 showed that about 16% of all American adults have a tattoo. In my age range (30-39 for you nosy people), the percentage of tattoo wearers is 28%. Most surprisingly, nearly a third of all people 20-29 have a tattoo, and I can just look around my classroom on any given day and see that teenagers are very likely to have a tattoo. So, what's the big deal? As Christian men, we were trying to figure out how to apply the verse in Leviticus that states, "You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourself." So here's a predicament for Christians with tattoos; is it a SIN to have a tattoo? My opinion is NO. Put the verse in context. I could go on and on about this topic, and I might just do that in another posting, but I don't want to bore you with my arguments right now. So here's what I ask of you; leave me a comment about your opinion and/or your favorite tattoo or tattoo idea. And take the poll you see in the right column.

Run: 7.5 miles (1:12.32; 9.40/mile pace) Not Bad for a Hot Day!


Radman said...

As a tatoo wearing christian, I'd have to say that tatoos are of the devil (thick sarcasm).

Ok, here's what I think.

First and foremost, Leviticus is the law. Christ, fulfilling the law and not abolishing it, frees us from slavery to it; he set up a whole new deal. He called the law, the old way and he said it's past. There's new wine to be drunk and it's gotta have new wine skins. There's a slippery slope here, but it allows us to interpret the law through the lens of grace, and a personal revelation of all of God in Jesus. He said that he fulfilled the law. He also vehemently opposed legalism and warned people that the letter of the law misses the bigger picture.

Secondly (in light of the bigger picture), in the ancient days, I should speculate getting a tat was a pretty dangerous thing, given that it was probably unsanitary or crude tools were used. The Smithsonian also mentions that in ancient days, tats were generally spiritually significant or religious in nature, which would pose a problem for Hebrews trying to make God their sole spiritual occupation. So they may have posed a physical risk to oneself, as well as a spiritual declaration against Yahweh. Both of these things seem to be things the Law attempts to prevent in a codified manner.

Moreover, the law seems to be a tool God uses to set his people appart (why else would he require of them to chop off their foreskins? eeek!). He tells them certain ways to eat meat, how not to have sex, rules about money, etc. All of this is creating a framework of life that blesses them and makes them different from everyone around them.

Jesus comes along and drastically changes everything. He also declares that God's for everyone. In light of that, should people with tats in the ancient church be told to painfully remove them? Didn't the early church also allow uncircumcised people in? Wasn't circumcision a key aspect of belonging to the greater community?

Soapbox warning. Sorry.

I think that the culture in Western civilization (and Japan too) surrounding tats has drastically changed and they aren't as dangerous to obtain. So go ahead and get one; but don't get one that declares something other than God to be God (duh). But I also think that if you're doing ministry in a country that looks down on tats, a tat could be a hindrance to your ministry and that should be carefully thought about.

As with all things in the Way of Jesus, we are free to love God and we are no longer bound by the law, hemmed in. Love God, love your neighbor, and decide through that lens.

Radman said...

One of my latest ideas is to have my children's names tattooed on my hand. The only bummer is the pain factor. That and I wouldn't be able to cheat on exams anymore because I'd have considerably less palm real estate for notes!

Mr. Mirek said...

Hey, just be thankful you're not in high school anymore...note on the hand are totally old school. Well, here's my idea for a tattoo:

2 arrows crossed in an "X" with Evie and Ezra's names on each.

A three-corded, braided rope holding then together to signify our marriage.

Maybe the reference to Psalm 127: 3-5

Big enough to take up much of my to add more arrows if more kids are born to us or adopted by us.

Here's the deal though: I can only get it if I don't bite my fingernails for a WHOLE YEAR...countdown to August 2008 has begun!