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By In Culture, Wisdom

Decorating The Body

As we approach the Christmas season, people all over the world are decking halls with holly branches and donning gay apparel. Trees, lights, nativity sets, snowmen, St. Nicks, and reindeer are symbols that tell the story of Christ’s birth. It is truly good, right, and beneficial to decorate our property in this way. The very nature of humanity is symbolic, as we are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Everything we think, say, or do is symbolic in some sense. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we are decorative people. Christians have a rich tradition of symbolism tracing back to our Israelite fathers, the flood, the garden of Eden, and even to the six days of creation. Symbols beget symbols. We create images and make associations with them. This is what God does, and we mimic him.

When it comes to body art, however, controversy arises. Tattoos and piercings are common in the broader culture and have become quite acceptable within the church, too. But you still hear claims that they are sinful, childish, and narcissistic. Most of the arguments are genetic fallacies, guilt-by-associations, hasty generalizations, and appeals to fear or consequence. These arguments may express valid concerns but they fail to prove anything objective. Neither do they address the biblical data. Similarly, arguments in defense of body art often lack biblical scholarship. How then should we approach this topic? (more…)

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By In Culture

Tattoos: A cry for help and a longing for relationship

Guest Post by Rev Dr Steve Jeffery, Minister at Emmanuel Evangelical Church, London, England (BlogFacebookTwitter)

Someone who wants a tattoo is trying to say something. And sometimes, I’m afraid, I fear it’s just a form of narcissism: “I just can’t be happy unless there’s something about me that makes me different, that draws attention to the uniqueness and individuality of me, to the unique and individual claim that have on your attention. Please can we talk about me now – my life, my loves, my experiences?”

This remains the case whatever particular design of tattoo the young Narcissus has in mind. Indeed, this is exactly the point: Some people like wildlife, so they want a dolphin tattoo on their ankle; some people like death metal, so they want a 6-inch tarantula crawling across their face; some people like Christian Cool, so they want El Shaddai in Hebrew spanning their C3 to C6 cervical vertebrae. Whatever. But in every case, the message is the same: “This is me, please will you notice me.”

This tendency is strongest in teenagers (and adults who are still acting like teenagers), who naturally go through periods of (often understandable) insecurity, and is good reason for any parent to say to an under-18-year-old (and any wise friend to say to an under-30-year-old), “No, you can’t (shouldn’t) have a tattoo now. You really will grow out of it.”

Sometimes, however, there’s something else going on. This narcissism can be a sign of a deeper relational pathology. People just don’t have friends – at least, they don’t have friends they feel able to talk to about things that really matter to them. In such instances, the tattoo is a cry for a particular kind of relationship, one in which we can get beyond the superficial and talk about our deepest, most intense, most joyful, most painful experiences.

This need is understandable: Of course a teenage girl wants to talk about the fact that the LORD alone has been her Almighty One, her Shaddai; of course the newly-engaged 22-year-old Joshua wants to talk about Judy; of course a bereaved couple want to talk about the death of a child. But the solution to these needs is not to parade them across our bodies, but to pursue the kinds of relationships that will meet them.<>продвинуть в гугле

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By In Culture

What’s wrong with tattoos?

Guest Post by Dr. Steve Jeffery, Minister at Emmanuel Evangelical Church

Of the many issues worth considering here, one that’s well worth reflecting on is the issue of permanence. A tattoo effectively freezes the wearer in time. Whatever he (or she) is saying with the tattoo at the moment it’s done, (s)he’ll be saying for ever.

This is most obviously a problem if the design is inherently sinful – an explicit picture, a pagan religious symbol, or some profane language, for example.

But other seemingly more innocuous designs can also create problems. Your teenage girlfriend Julie might love the design, but Wendy will probably be less impressed when you finally marry her ten years later.

Even things that appear harmless can, with the passing of the years, end up as badges of immaturity: a profound slogan can quickly become banal, and a teenager’s edgy motto can be childish on the arm of a 35-year-old.

The bottom line is that growing up in every aspect of life – from basic Christian godliness to cultural appreciation – is an important part of Christian living. And a tattoo simply puts the brakes on.<>seo продвижение  ов

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