Are tatoos wrong?

Jefferson Bethke has a youtube clip on
Thanks to Jason for trying. Amazingly ungracious response he got. I would have liked to have got in that discussion, but there were technical difficulties. This difficulty is itself illustrative. It is important to understand things in context. This Jason brings up.

Jefferson and I are coming from a similar place, of respect for God, and for the revelation to the Hebrews through Moses. A couple of details were a mistake, however. We never eat meat with blood in it today: we always bleed the animals before we cut the meat off the carcass. Further, the instructions were about the Israelites planting in the promised land, so that can not apply to us today. So context, yes.

Neither are most of us under the Mosiac law. Although Jason didn’t bring that up, but no big difference.

I agree, it is a wisdom issue. First off, about hygiene. Many things that are common practice in our society may not be so healthy. I just can’t believe that injecting a lot of ink into your body is all that healthy. The greater issue is cultural. What culture and what values do you want to align yourself to? Even within the contact of our own American culture, look, youth often don’t realize what message they are giving off with tattoos. I agree with Jason that tattooing Greek holy words is better than other things, but when an employer has a policy of not hiring people with tattoos, they don’t make that distinction.

When I was a teenager, a long time ago, I remember a respected preacher who would like to take off his jacket and roll up his sleeves. He never rolled them up very far. One day a child asked him why not. The preacher was then about 50 and said sadly to the child, “When I was young and foolish, I did something that I was not proud of.” So we discovered that brother great preacher had once been a seedy sailor.

Since at least the 1940s it has been fashionable to go slumming. There are ALOT of young people who may be very embarrassed later on by the kind of culture they aligned themselves with and that kind of values they espoused when they were young.

But the central message of Christianity is forgiveness. To the world, we are tasked with imploring people to be reconciled to God through Jesus. It’s all about the heart.

Some of Jefferson Bethke’s interlocutors just spewed garbage at him for his attempts. Perhaps they do not understand the central intention of Christians like Jeff? Or maybe they do and intend to reject? Or maybe they are being ugly because they are convicted in their heart? To them we say, come on home. There is love and mercy in Jesus, even for those of you who are not Jewish.

I think maybe, however, Jeff this time was addressing his comments to people who are Christians, and only thus would ask the question whether or not tattoos were sinful. It is not an easy thing to talk to everyone at once.

I think it is pretty hard to prove from the Bible that tattoos are okay. How a person gets saved, gets formed, and set to service is not so hard. Also not too hard to find Scriptures that talk about respecting the teaching of the elders and comporting oneself circumspectly.

I salute Jeff for attempting the discussion, for attempting to reach out to young people, and for attempting to study the Bible. Often I am more often speaking to parents and educators, maybe an older audience.

What do you do when your son or daughter gets a tattoo? What have you seen that has worked? Anybody want to talk about that here?

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