Missional Tattoos?

Crosstattoo4 For the record, I don't have any tattoos staining any part of my skin. I always thought of them as painful, permanent and tacky. Tattoos used to symbolize someone's time in the military service. Now, they are commonplace.

But are tattoos merely a matter of taste? Is it possible that there is a redemptive, missional use for tattoos that I may have completely overlooked?

This article from the Columbus Dispatch got me thinking.

"We want to speak the language of the culture," said the Rev. Nathan Feathers, 26, a pastor at the CrossLink church in Grandview. "Our culture speaks in tattoos. That's a great way to speak about God."

Rev. Feathers may have a point here. Take a deep breath, count to ten, and then post a comment and let us here at The Point know what you think (after reading the article from the Columbus Dispatch).


My daughter just tuned 18 and come home with a tattoo. Fortunately it is small and in a place that is not normally visible. I grieved over the fact that something I perceived as a perfect gift from God now has tattoo that could be considered graffiti on someone he created. Now I understand that some people would consider this art and I would agree but I would much rather frame it that put it on the wall then body that God gave me. I also understand this is more of a generational issue as stated above. I may be considered old at 45 in some circles. I also know that this does not make her less of a Christian but I would ask what separates Christians from the world. It seems to me that if you have one before you are a Christian that is a different matter. What concerns me is that small as this may seem to some people we have lost the fear of God in the small items? If God is a jealous God and he loves what he created who am I to permanently change what he gave me.
1. Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (a church striving for relevance if ever there was one) claims that Jesus will return with a tattoo on his leg. See Revelation 19:16. 2. A friend of mine got tattooed all over his upper body during his Navy hitch. (Think Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man".) Then he got saved. We'd be playing football at a men's retreat, with most of the guys shirtless, but Chuck (no, not him) would be sweating up a storm in a t-shirt, so he didn't offend anyone, cause them to lust, etc. 3. I recall a doctor's story of seeing a tattoo on a middle-aged patient's stomach. "Nice whale", he said. The patient replied with a wan smile, "Yes - it used to be a dolphin."
This whole issues of tattoos is a difficult one for my husband and I. Our then 19 year old son got himself tattooed while he was serving in the Marine Corps. What he did to his skin caused his father a near break down. The tattoos themselves are not what bother me, but the content. These are tattoos that cover his entire arm with ghouls, his wrist with a dragon, his knees and calves with Lord only knows what and a naked woman in a martini glass. But God is good and this same son is now graduating with a degree in Theology and is headed to seminary. He uses his tattoos as part of his testimony and has talked many people out of getting them. Most people don't know how tattoos tax the immune system of the body. Our son now has chronic skin allergies. It's not as simple as people think. I think the Lord made our bodies perfectly when we were born. We don't need improvement.
okay i have tatoos, and you know why i think people turn away from christianity is because of people saying that they dont judge, but relize one thing your not God you can talk all you want you can say whats wrong or right, and if i go to hell for my tats ill see you hippocrits there... BEN...
While I believe that Jesus did abolish the old covenant, that doesn't give us freedom to sin, it gives us liberty in Christ. I do believe that God sees our hearts, and their are many scripture verses to prove that. I am a youth pastor, am currently working on my degree in Christian Studies, and yes- I do have 2 tattoos. Does that make me less of a Christian? Does that disqualify my calling as a pastor? NO. It's time that we as a church stop picking apart every detail, and pointing out every sinner, and unbeliever, at least til the church is perfect. And by the way- we are not doing very well. Remember Ted Haggert???
Copt's have had a small cross tattooed on the wrist as a sign of their Christian faith for a while, it isn't trend following and it can get you killed. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=RNWE%2CRNWE%3A2004-48%2CRNWE%3Aen&q=coptic+tattoo http://poor-blogger.blogspot.com/2006/01/coptic-christian-tattoos.html
I viewed the wave of new tattoos as equivalent to the wave of new piercings, i.e. a "protest vote against whatever". A male family member got his Christian tattoos in a period of youth-angst/self-assertion, which sealed the opinion. The female bare-tattoo-display aspect is often problematic for good men trying to keep their minds on duty, but not much more distracting than the skin itself. At a beach setting, my taste-meter tilts to, "what a waste of art & abuse of skin", but what can you say once the deed has been done.
God forbids tattooing in Leviticus, but Christ has abolished the old covenant and given us a new one. Do those of you who say God disapproves of tattoos also eat only kosher foods? Do you tie blue strings into 236 knots and wear them on your clothing at all times? Do you sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of your sins? Probably not, because Jesus has abolished these laws, and he has sacrificed himself as the payment for our sins. Christ has given us a new covenant and we do not have to be Jews to be a part of it. The New Testament does not mention anything about tattooing, however it does still say that homosexuality is a sin, if that's what you're worried about.
It is hard to see how something which God forbids could be "missional" in a Christian sense.
I got my first tattoo last July. It is a gothic type cross on my left wrist. The artist who gave me the tattoo is himself a strong Christian who even has Bible studies at his shop. In the first couple of months of having the tattoo, I had four opportunities to share my faith. It has truly been a great way to help me step out of my comfort zone to share my story with those around me.
I think we should be more concerned about what's in their hearts and not on their skin. I know some very devout Christians that have tattoos. If we look down on those that have tats then we could miss a God moment where we can change a life. Who exactly does a doctor heal anyway?
First be willing to treat others as Jesus would. Second plan to share the gospel because you will get questions. Third be willing to be compared and criticized for every action Then think about what kind of tattoo you want
Well, if I WERE to get a tatt (both of my non-churchy brothers have one), it would be a cross. However (1) it would have to be seriously artistic, (2) obviously Christian, (3) tasteful. Oh, and the Mrs. would have to give me permission, of course. This guy has some FINE work: http://www.inklinestudio.com/ Binks
I think the question is not to ink, or not to ink, but rather are you emergent in your belief or not. Emergents are generally 20 and 30 something and more willing to look over the command in leveticus to not tatoo your body. An older more conservative person would not look at it as a way to share your faith, but as a transgression against God. The church mentioned in the article was almost certainly emergent because 1) the pastor was bivocational 2) It was a new church plant 3) it was small in size. 4) The demographic age matches an emergent church. these are four ear marks of many emergent churches today. What works for them in sharing their faith is fine I think, but one must have a good understanding of the levetical laws. In that same passage God tells the Isralites that homsexuality is wrong and a whole host of other things...do we let those fall to a relativistic world view as well?

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