February 3, 2014

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.”  Mark 1:6

While worshipping Sunday morning, I noticed the back of a young lady.

Female Cross Back Tattoo

I noticed it because she was making what I presumed to be a statement with her clothing.  She wore a blouse that had a strategic bit of fabric missing in the back.  The  small hole in the blouse revealed an oval of her back between her shoulder blades.  It is a type of shirt that I see many young fashionable ladies wearing. However, the absence of fabric is not what drew my attention.  My attention was caught by what was framed within that oval frame of fabric.  She had framed a tattoo within the center of that oval.

Tattoos are prevalent.  They are a much more commonly accepted mode of expression than when I was growing up.  They are so common that I am now more surprised by the ink-free athlete than by the inked.  A trip to Wal-mart will make one wonder if tattoos have now become adulthood’s right-of-passage.

I find tattoos an interesting case study of expression.  I am fascinated by the images people are willing to associate the remainder of their lives with.

Most images are frivolous and nearly meaningless.
Some images are purely evil.
There are images that appear to have hidden meaning.
Others are just an attempt at being cool and hip.

The choice that caught my attention at this Sunday service was that of a tattooed cross revealed by a fashionable blouse.  It was a statement.  I do not know how many blouses this young lady tried on in order to find one that framed her chosen expression but I assume that it was not mere coincidence.

Wei Tchou / Foter / CC BY

I realize that tattoos elicit strong opinions.  Regardless of the debate on tattoos, I appreciated the statement of this young lady.  She had selected a cross as the image she wanted the world to associate with her person for the remainder of her life; a solitary, simple, beautiful cross.

Ann Althouse / Foter / CC BY-NC

John the Baptist was clearly identified by the clothes that he wore.  Clothes of camel-hair and a leather belt associated John the Baptist as a classic type of Old Testament prophet.  John the Baptist chose the clothing of a prophet and then backed it up with the actions and lifestyle of a true prophet even to his death.  His life confirmed the statement of his chosen clothing.

Tobyotter / Foter / CC BY

I hope that the young lady with the cross tattoo chose it with as much intentionality as John the Baptist selected his garments.  My hope for this young lady is that her actions and lifestyle confirm the statement on her back throughout her life.  May her life be such a statement to the glory of God that when people see the cross on her back that they will know it is more than just a tattoo.

I hope it is a statement.

I hope that we all make similar statements in our lives.
I hope that we all live in such an intentional manner:

That our clothing makes a statement,
That our language makes a statement,
That our joking makes a statement,
That what we value makes a statement,
That our business practice makes a statement, and
That even our tattoos make a statement.

PRAYER: Lord, I lift up the young lady who I saw in church.  Father, I hope that what I saw was a statement of a child of God telling the world that she is yours.  I pray that you have captured the delight of her heart.  Lord, help her to learn to live in the strength of your Spirit to be a woman of God to your glory.  Father, help me to look beyond my own proprieties to see the true statement that my brother or sister is trying to make.  Help me to be gracious to the freedoms in Christ that other may choose.  Help me to be less concerned with other people’s statements and more intentional about the statements that I am making.  Lord, may those statements be consistent with the life I desire to live for your glory.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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  1. I agree with your assessment that the young lady made sure the tattoo was visible with her choice of clothing. It may have just been an amazing coincidence that the opening perfectly framed the cross. Or, maybe she made the blouse, intentionally creating the frame exactly where it needed to be. Either way, she’s letting the world know where her allegiance lies. For that I admire her; tattoo or not.

    Very much appreciated your concluding statements about statements, JD! So true.

  2. Thank you, JD, for this post. I, too, am touched by the prayer. I am 72. I tend to see the tattoos and not the person at times. I have disliked tattoos since I first saw one many years ago. I have difficulty getting beyond that prejudice for that is certainly what it is. I cannot honestly call it by any other name. I would like to think that I can do better. With God’s help, I can. Thanks again for this post.

  3. Nice post. We must be careful what we choose to “wear” but also when we choose we should make sure we are dedicated to it. I forbid my children to get tattoos because we don’t always stick with our choices when we are young. Now that they are young adults, they say they are glad I did that but now I have one (long story). It is a symbol of my life and belief–I wanted it so I would also be reminded of my promise and my love-a heart and cross. I hated tattoos and thought they were wrong. I can’t say that now. I used to put distance between myself and those with tattoos. I wonder how many people judge me for my tattoo. That’s ok. I love them anyway. 🙂 Blessings… Great post.

  4. Great post:) I like your take on tattoos–I enjoyed reading this and it is certainly thought provoking–God Bless

  5. You might also appreciate the matching tattoos my wife and I got last year. http://blog.steveboer.com/2013/04/14/my-first-tattoo/

  6. A really transparent and thought-provoking post. I was especially touched by your prayer. Thanks so much.

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