Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tattoo You! The Next Youth Group Trend?
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:28).
I heard something today that, quite frankly, outraged me. I was so shocked when I heard it that I am not clear on the precise detail -- whether it actually took place at the church youth group or at a youth convention attended BY the church youth group. I'll have to ask about it again. The youth group in question is from a rather prominent, supposedly conservative church in my region.
Anyway, wherever this Christian youth group was, they had a "tattoo artist" present, and said "artist" was tattooing anybody who wanted one. Let me stress this. At a church youth meeting of some kind. Not in a red light district. Not in a tattoo shop located in some seedy part of town. A church event. Unbestinkinlievable.
I'd expect this kind of carnival atmosphere in the wilder of the Emergent churches. They seem to celebrate this kind of thing. But that wasn't where this took place.
If this happened without parental or pastoral knowledge, heads ought to roll somewhere. And you know what? It matters little to me whether the youths in question had signed permission slips to get tatted. If that's the case, the parents' heads ought to roll. Or at least get cracked together good and hard.
What in the bowels of the earth is going on here? Have churches and individual Christians entirely lost their minds? Have we really fallen so far to the point that we have to prostitute ourselves to the world's way of doing things, thinking that's going to somehow be a witness for Christ, who actually commanded us NOT to be conformed to the world?
I've even heard it said that some view their tattoos and tongue studs as worship. So, let me get this straight? We worship God by doing something to our bodies that He commanded us not to do?
Let me be blunt. This stuff really, really makes me angry. Why is there such a mad rush in the church--among Christian kids--to look as much like Frankenstein as possible? Christians have absolutely no business getting tattooed, cut, studded or body pierced. Having it done prior to salvation is one thing. But mature Christians are supposed to know better, and have a much more fine tuned sense of what God would want of His people. All of this violates the modesty called for in Scripture, as well as the high value we are supposed to place on our bodies -- His creation and His temple. For some time, Christian boys and girls have been less and less modest in their dress despite the commands of Scripture. Now we have this. Far from glorifying Him, all it does is draw attention to the person. And it looks really, really awful.
It's bad enough some stupid, wet behind the ears kids would be allowed to mark or carve up the body God gave them. Just wait until they're quite a bit older, and like most people who get tattooed, wish to heaven that they hadn't done it. Especially when the mouse they tattooed on their stomach begins to look more like a hippopotamus with cancer. And their parents signed off on it. That's real godly, parental guidance, isn't it?
We all do stupid things when we're younger. We do stupid things when we're older, too. And yes, we have a loving God who forgives repentant hearts. But Christians of all stripes and of all levels of supposed maturity ought to think long and hard about what constitutes a rebellious spirit. It's hard to sanctify rebellion. Real hard. Everyone blabs on and on about their "self expression." As Christians, we're supposed to reflect Christ. We are supposed to lift Him up, not ourselves. The church's problem today is that there is way too much attention on "self" and a lessening amount of attention on Him.
While the church is not under the Law of Moses and the Law is not salvific, any command of God in Scripture -- from prior to the Law in Genesis to the end of Revelation -- was given for a purpose. There are deep biblical principles in play here. When God told His people not to mark themselves up and cut their bodies, He did so for a reason. There is a spiritual issue in play here outside of the physical action. I'll elaborate on what I mean sometime soon in in another post, and not necessarily immediately subsequent to this one.
I've got to cool down first.