A few times a year, I get asked about a tattoo. Not the little guy from Fantasy Island, but the skin altering art form. And I've always given a brief answer to the best of my little ability. But I've never had a good resource to point people to about a practical theology of tattoos.
Until now. Now, blogger Joe Thorn has done us a service by writing a short series of blog posts that go into the theology of tattoos and offers some practical wisdom.
Joe writes as a pastor with tattoos. He is pro-tattoo. But he also offers some strong cautions and things to keep in mind. I highly recommend this series.
Later today I'll be visiting my tattooer. That's right, not just a tattooer, but my tattooer. Some people have a barber (I obviously do not), I have a local tattoo artist, Aaron. ... But, what does the Bible have to say about tattoos? If it is permissible, is it wise? I will answer these questions and a few others along the way this week.
We need to look at more Scripture, and we need to work through a few issues, but as we start it looks like God doesn't condemn tattoos in and of themselves. Such marks, when connected to pagan theology and worship, were forbidden. But, God appears to have found them to be a fitting picture of how he remembers us.
When thinking and talking through the issue of Christians and tattoos we need to appeal to Scripture and sound theology, but we need to do so carefully. It's easy to for people on either side to cherry pick proof texts to support their position without treating each passage fairly and in it's own unique context. There are two bad examples I have seen come up a number of times.
When people, especially young people, start talking to me about tattoos I try to talk them out of it. I figure if I can talk them out of it they really have no business getting one. If they are set on getting one I then counsel them in the best ways to move forward. Here are my top 10 reasons to not get a tattoo.
OK, so you are set on getting a tattoo. No one is talking you out of it. (Are you really sure you want to do this?) I have talked people out of getting ink, and I have taken people to get their first. My father got his first tattoo at 50. His second tattoo is coming up (he's turning 70). My dad and I are actually going in for matching tattoos. We are having a custom "sacred heart" design created for us. Like my dad, I hope you will listen to a few pieces of advice from a guy who has a lot of tattoos and 20 years of of living with them.