The Article: To Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?
The Source: Relevant Magazine
The Author: Matthew Lee Anderson
The Gist: The question of whether to get a tattoo should be a question of Christian discipleship, rather than purely individualistic forms of self-expression.
Parents and pastors may still have their objections, but most younger Christians don't seem to be very concerned. Discussions about tattoos have often been limited to a single question: "Should I or should I not?" While that's an important line of inquiry, it's not the only one. And answering it requires first thinking through what tattoos mean and why they've become such a prominent form of self-expression at this point in our history. Why not poetry or pixels instead?
The Christian faith is in a God whose concern for human bodies is such that He became one in order to accomplish salvation. The most basic intuition of American culture is that our "rights" allow us to treat our bodies how we want, but the Gospel sets forth a startling alternative: "You are not your own, but you have been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body."
So what does that mean when it comes to permanently altering a body?
The Bottom Line: "Younger Christians often want to shout 'every square inch' along with the Kuyperians until, apparently, we start considering the inches of their skin," Anderson write in a related blog post. "Then the exercise is apparently reduced to legalistic jockeying, an attempt to see who can become the most restrictive while ignoring all those verses about God caring about the heart." He notes that the debates over tattoos offer a chance to consider how evangelicals think about ethics, without "people throwing us over for being heretics." But ultimately, the debate is important because the topic is important: "Tattoos will continue to matter," says Anderson, "because bodies matter."
(Photo by PitbullTattoo on Flickr)