Sunday, September 27, 2009

Inked in church pews and pulpits

Leviticus 19:28 (NIV), "'Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.’” The Contemporary English Version says, “I forbid you to shave any part of your head or beard or to cut and tattoo yourself as a way of worshiping the dead.” But the last part probably relates more to the shaving, as noted here.

Dial The Truth Ministries says:

"Could [Leviticus] be any more clear?
Simple. . . Straightforward. . .Settled. . .God Said It. . .
I Believe It. . . That Settles It. . .Right. . .?
Not hardly. . . The clear statement from the word of God does not settle anything for this generation of disobedient, carnal, worldy, tolerant, non-judgmental, Christians."

This site goes onto label Satan as the “master tattooist." I mean, just look at it! Doesn't that look evil???

On the other side of the coin, one reformed theologian writes, “If these actions do not have evil associations in our own time, there would seem to be no reason to forbid them.”

A blogger at All Things Ink says, “Historical context is paramount. When Leviticus was written, tattooing was largely a pagan practice, done to mark slaves or to show devotion to a pharaoh. Since tattooing has evolved the rule may be outdated.” Here’s a word from the Jewish community about the history of their belief.

Considering both sides from a Judeo-Christian perspective, what are we to do with the tattooed??? Should we kick them out of the Church? Should we limit their participation in worship services? How do we respond to the clear message of that one Old Testament Scripture?

Heaven help us if our denomination were to come out and endorse “those who are inked.” What if they allowed “the inked” to be ordained and practice as full-fledged members of the clergy? Would we be able to bear it? Would they have to cover all body art in order to officiate services or partake in the sacraments?

You know, some hardliners, like Dial-God-up-on-the-phone-we’ve-got-a-direct-line Ministries, would question their Christianity. If their denomination were to give credence to “satanic” body art, they would probably have to denounce such action with great public fanfare and accordingly leave the denom. At a minimum, they would certainly quit funding it with their offerings.

The reformers, on the other end of the spectrum, might see such a decree as a welcome sign of change, acceptance and openness. They might embrace the inked into their churches, love them as Christ and welcome the value they bring to the communion table. They might not even have a problem sitting under the leadership and counsel of such a person. And they certainly wouldn’t pull their support, financial or otherwise.

Two sides of one coin, or in this case, one Scripture. Two very different responses. Which one do you think sounds more like the Spirit and letter of Christianity?


Vicki said...

Hey Chris,

Thanks so much for coming to my blog and using the image. Could you please it directly instead of linking to it so you don't take up my bandwidth?


history145 said...

I have two tattoos myself. The one on my right arm is of praying hands, and the one on my left arm is of an angel slaying a demon. My conviction has always been that if the tattoos honor God then they are acceptable, however, I do not believe that having tattoos all over is a good thing either.

Vaden Chandler
The Arete' Blog