Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tattoos, Babies, Your Church Sucks

Here's a few things that have caught my attention lately.

Christian Tattoos
My brother calls himself a Christian because he walked an aisle when he was young, signed the card, was baptized and the minister declared him "saved." He also has a tattoo of Jesus on the cross covering a large portion of his chest. I think he believes it (the tattoo) makes a statement or something about his faith. Sadly,he is an alcoholic and a bad father and husband, which speaks a whole lot louder than the tattoo.

I don't have any tattoos and don't intend to, but it appears that there are a lot of Christians that have them. They have their own association. There are several websites that advocate tattooing for Christians. This guy has an entire page devoted to defending "Christian tattoos." His defense is mostly "we're no longer under the law" and tattooing was "a normal aspect of society." He even has a section on how your tattoo can be an evangelism tool. Another guy that defends "Christian tattoos" states on his website: "If you want to be a good person with tattoos, God will still love you." I'm not sure where he's going with that. One of the last comments on his site is even more puzzling: "PS: I am not a Christian..." So why is he defending CHRISTIAN tatoos?

Here's a fella (picture) that has a pretty interesting tattoo(s) depicts the empty tomb, a cross made of spikes, a white dove (reference to the Holy Spirit I would assume), a cup/chalice, bread, the ten commandments, and a snake. The "entire Bible" on his back!

I was reading the paper today and I noticed that, in the birth announcements:

  1. There were 42 babies born in area hospitals yesterday.
  2. Thirteen (13) of the babies were born to parents who did not share the same last name. (approx 30%)
  3. Six (6) of the babies listed only one parent (the mother). (14%)
I have an opinion as to what these "statistics might mean. You draw your own conclusions...if you want.

Your Church Sucks
Slice of Laodicea posted the following re: a church's latest radio commercial.

Calvary Fellowship is a small church plant that's looking to grow. One of the ways they've sought this growth is a radio commercial on a local (secular) Rock Music station. The commercial starts off with one guy asking another if he's going to church. The other guy responds with "I'm not going to church because church sucks". The first guy replies with "well here's a church that doesn't suck". The commercial, which has the kind of music in the background that's right at home on this radio station, ends with a voice saying "This isn't your Grandmother's church". There's a link on this page to listen to the commercial. The church's website also has sermon titles on it like "Everybody Must Get Stoned", and as if to verify that all of these types of churches are enamored with each other's "innovative" sermons, they also have the Wonderbread sermon as well.
Ingrid Schlueter, who writes the blog, commented: "Yes, Jesus ate with sinners, but I have to ask - how far did he go in conforming to their worldly ways in order to seem relevant to them?" One blogger was quite upset by Schlueter's comments. I think Schlueter is dead on.


Cheatwoods said...

So are you saying christian tatoos are bad?

Keith said...

I'm saying a couple of things:
1. I don't understand why anybody would WANT a tattoo.
2. Most all of the websites advocating "Christian tattoos" use the line that we are no longer under the law--and they go to great lengths to defend their position with Scriptures referring to "the New Covenant", Jesus statement that "you are to love the Lord your God...and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10:27), etc. The main thrust of their argument is that, we are not bound by or to the Law that God gave the Israelites, especially Leviticus 19:28. If that is so, then are we no longer under the law that forbids beastiality? (Leviticus 18:23)
3. A tattoo won't send anyone to hell, but like it or not, we are judged by our appearance to some degree. When I see someone with an armful of tattoos, my first thought is not "Sunday School teacher." That may not be fair, but it happens. I have a very good friend that served in the Military, during which time he got several tattoos. He was not a Christian then. He wishes he hadn't gotten tattooed. He's also one of the most Godly men I know. I just don't see it as something "beneficial."

Cheatwoods said...

i understand what you are saying. God says he is the one true judge and I think you might be contradicting yourself by saying "not a sunday school teacher" Anyways I have a heart and a butterfly tatoo, both can be hidden wich was important to me and I know God is going to ask me who I shared his good news with instead of why I got a tatoo, i like tatoos. I think they re pretty, people do go verboard tho!!! Anywho, just a hought! I do enjoy your blog.

Keith said...

Fair enough. Making instantaneous judgments (maybe a better word would be assessment) has probably caused me to view some people in an unfair manner. Thankfully God is God, and I am not. That's one of those areas God is still working on. Ironically, I used to have a pierced ear, so I know how people view things that seem "out of the ordinary" to them. I don't wear the earring anymore.

Isn't it amazing that two people can discuss a topic where they both are essentially on "opposite sides of the fence," and yet, nobody screamed or called names? Thanks for stopping by.

My youngest son likes your "profile pic." He is anxiously awaiting the release of "Nacho Libre" (same people that did Napoleon Dynamite).

Oh, and congrats on you baby!

Cheatwoods said...

thankyou, we are excitted! I like coming across chritian blogs, they make me happy, just to see God in his glory. Being praised and people being real not "Spper Christians!!"

Baxter said...

Wow, this is a tough one. There is a line in the movie To Sir With Love, where Sir says, "Every new fad is a form of rebellion". That's what I tried to tell my children. The long hair on guys, the bell bottom jeans, the one piece bathing suit, which later became the two piece bathing suit (but no belly button), then the bikini, and now the thong. It just goes on and on, and WE as believers are forced to accept each new deviation from modesty or we become "judges". I'm with Ingrid and have said this many times, "Yes, Jesus ate with sinners, but I have to ask - how far did he go in conforming to their worldly ways in order to seem relevant to them?"

thebeef said...

i am unsure why i decided to leave a comment, since i just stumbled across this blog. (actually searching for something you have blogged about. The high school teacher and the cult thing.) But like a true insomniac i have read countless blogs and this one screamed at me. so, there ya go. I am a young guy (24) not exactly the strongest believer these days, but the promises of God, so precious and true, still apply to me. and i am very grateful for that. I attend a Tulsa area presbyterian church. Anyhow, my reason for commenting, myself and many of my dearest brothers in the faith are "proud" (i guess you could say that.) owners of tattoos. most have a religious context to them, and this doesn't make us "super believers" that are afforded a lifestyle above the law of God. the law, after all, is the very thing that should drive the believer to his recognition of a need for a redeemer. So, indeed, I (think) we would be in agreeance on the fact that being in a new "covenant" apart from old testament law would NOT be a good defense of Christian ink. But I do believe the life of Christ has radically changed the course of history inside and outside of the church. So, in my case, a "Christian" tattoo would fall more into a gray area of interpretation than an issue of lawful vs. unlawful. As to why anyone would want to get one, even I am a little stumped by that one. My gut reaction would be because I am young, dumb, and have some spare cash. But I would also say there is some spiritual element to it. Maybe more of a this is how my personality chooses to display the Redeemer is so love to exalt. Not sure. I know its ridiculous to talk about a permanent mark on my body in such an apathetic way... But, I will say, that a tattoo is definitely not for everyone and should be a decision rooted in thought and deliberateness. And i do HATE the attitude of tattooed people being "holier than thou" in their illogical stance that they are somehow the "stronger" brother (1 cor. 8 1-13). Anyhow, I feel i am doing too much rambling at this point. I do like to read your posts, they are quite interesting/entertaining to me, and i will be bookmarking this site. thanks for letting a stranger peek in like this... God bless.

Keith said...

thebeef: Thanks for stopping by. This is definitely one of the subjects that brings out some interesting emotions/attitudes, etc.

I'm sort of an oxymoron on this subject myself. On the one hand, I don't understand why someone would want a tattoo...but years ago, I got my ear pierced (don't wear the earring anymore). So, I do understand yours and others thinking on this subject. For me, tattooing is just TOO permanent. I can take out the earring...

I guess the sadder part of the topic is--as I've already stated--that people judge by the way we look. I don't like it BUT at the same time-- I DO IT!!! And not just with tattoos. We assume lots of things about the way people dress (a suit and tie--he must be a preacher or a successful business man, etc.) I really need to work on that one.

I'm an "older guy"--you probably figured that out by my profile pic--and there are days that I'm "not exactly the strongest believer," either. God is good though. He gives you and me the strength to make it through each day He gives us. Hang in there. Trust in God.

I am curious. Why the interest in the "cult thing?" I've noticed more traffic on the blog lately re: that subject.

Stop by any time.

thebeef said...

interest in the cult thing, well... My girlfriend worked next to a guy in this particular cult and she was telling me about this girl that came into her shop. She is the girl that is being led down a slippery slope as it seems. it infuriated me and deeply depressed me. not so much that a teacher in the school system was "recruiting" (or whatever you might call it) her but that it is clear relevance that satan lurks about waiting to devour souls. it is truly sad. it made me so mad i wanted to scream cuss words, but as i thought about more i realized, that it is just as easy me being led astray by less "cultic" things. i.e. money, or popularity. the list goes on and on. it interests me because it IS a commentary on my life IN Christ. daily i am led away from the straight and narrow. and daily i am corrected. (THANK JESUS FOR THAT!) but i do appreciate your confession of being perhaps a little closed minded to tattoos and what they mean "nowadays". i can completely relate to being very hypocritical of others because they are other than me. I think what strikes me most about the character of Christ is His allowance of us to sin against Him. That he would let us get our ducks in a row (seemingly) and then He would come and kick them out of order again. And again our reaction is to shake our fist at Him. but it the very act of Christ's kicking that makes us want Him more. its a divine paradox, if you will. And i did notice by your profile picture that you are an "old guy" but that aint bad. my generation has lost sight of the fact that much can be learned from the previous generations. but only if it is checked and weighed by the balance of scripture.

Keith said...

thebeef: You make some very astute observations. Thanks for the info re: the cult.

Anonymous said...

I have always wanted a tattoo. I really think they are cool. I have never gotten one and really don't know why. Maybe I haven’t gotten one because of the cost, risk of being allergic to the ink, my mother's heart or maybe just a moment of clarity? Who knows?
I was taken by a “church” to a cult years ago. It was out of state, and was under their direct control (communal living) for four years then indirectly controlled by them when I moved out to make money. I gave them money and recruited for them for over 25 years. I shared their message with others and sang their praises. One day God made me aware of the bondage I was in and I began to become aware that I did not have to have the profit’s permission to do everything. I could actually decide how much money to send, if any. I could choose my own life. I was set free. Before I truly felt the freedom, I was terrified. Was I “turning my back on God”? Was I opening the “door to Satan”, making m ea risk for demons to enter me and attack me in any way. Was I no longer under God’s umbrella of protection? I was so afraid of everything and everyone. I truly thought the profit had different masks and was spying on me. She was watching me turn my back on them and now I was going to get it. Fortunately I have the best family in the world. My family was the ones that physically removed me from the group and the state they were in. My parents were so very supportive and willing to do anything I needed. Since I really didn’t know what I needed, they were just there for me. They helped me with a loan to pay for “exit counseling”. It is a costly process and at first I could not see how it could benefit me to warrant that cost. Today, I would go bankrupt and live in a shelter to have this level of freedom.
I began speaking to a family counselor about all of this. She referred me to Steve Hassan the founder of the Freedom of Mind Center. I began having phone consults with him and my local therapist. Once I was out of school for the summer, I made a trip to a place called Wellsprings Retreat and Resource Center. I did not unpack the first week, but in the second week, I had enough knowledge of mind control that I was able to see how it was used to manipulate me. Needless to say, ANGER arrived. Then I had PEACE about my decision to leave this group. I think about the group’s leader as well as thinking about the leader of other groups. To find love for any of them, I have to see them as individuals who are just as lost and manipulated as I was. A question came to mind one day when I was talking to a friend whose daughter is in a group and married to someone in a group that uses mind control. What if my friends are the only ones that can bring them to that moment of clarity? What If I am? What if you are? Steven Hassan has a book called; Releasing the Bonds it has a section that talks about: A Strategic Interaction Approach to help families help their loved ones out of cults. I like the idea of being able to do interventions on people without using the old “Deprogramming techniques” that can cause more physiological harm.
I recommend:
Steven Hassan, Freedom of Mind Center
Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center