Lutheran tattoos

Members of the Cross in Mt. Dora, Florida, a congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, are getting tattoos of their church’s logo:

Church tattoo [Read more...]

Tattoo regrets

Despite the current economic doldrums, a new business is booming:   the tattoo removal industry.  Emily Wax reports:

She arrives quietly, coming in from the rain after work. She lies down on her stomach atop a sleek, white reclining chair. She lifts her shirt and tugs down her jeans slightly.

It’s enough to unveil a large pink flower tattoo with fat, webby green leaves, which she’s here to have lasered off her lower back. She wants to become a mother someday, and she doesn’t want her children to see this. The process could take up to 10 sessions, she says. She pauses. Then she starts crying.

“I was only 18. It was a homemade tattoo done at a party,” says Lizeth Pleitez, 30, who quickly dries her eyes. Her voice is shaking. “I wasn’t thinking about what it meant, you know? Little did I know it meant something else — like people calling it a ‘tramp stamp.’ I’m a Pentecostal, and the body is a temple. And I felt really ashamed.”

If tattoos are the marks of an era — declarations of love, of loss, of triumph, of youthful exuberance or youthful foolishness — then tattoo removals are about regret, confessions that those landmarks are in the past. They’re about the realization that whatever you believed in with such force that you wanted it eternally branded on your skin is now foreign to you.

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo. Getting a tattoo, once the province of sailors rather than suburbanites, is so mainstream that tats are inked at the mall and seen on everyone from Middle American mothers to H Street hipsters to Hollywood starlets.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a parallel trend is emerging: tattoo removal, with dozens of businesses and training schools opening across the country. . . .

Tattooing was once considered audacious, powerful and rebellious, precisely because of its permanence.

But for a generation that has come of age during an unprecedented revolution in medical technology, tattoo removal by a super-powered laser seems like a facelift for young people, a chance to start over, erase, rewind. Like deleting a bad photo from a digital camera or defriending a Facebook friend.

“It was such an underserved market,” says Christian Slavin, 54, who has an MBA from Harvard and owns Zapatat in Arlington County, which opened in September. “The difference between the regret rate and the removal rate is huge.”

While older lasers burned off the skin, Slavin’s new model interacts only with the ink and “makes it shake and makes it break,” he says. But it still hurts — it feels like hot rubber bands snapping against your skin, most removers say — and often is more painful than getting a tattoo.“When it’s all said and done, I’m just not that guy anymore,” says Corey Newman, 29, who is getting married in May and wanted to get three tattoos removed: his left arm’s panther, his right shoulder blade’s bull, and two small Chinese characters on his right leg. He is spending $2,500 to take off tattoos that cost $600 to put on. (Which might explain why tattoo removers tend to be better dressed and better paid than tattoo artists.)

via Rethinking the ink: Laser tattoo removal gains popularity – The Washington Post.

OK, so if the demographics of this blog hold true, 40% of you 26-40 year-olds have tattoos.  Who has stories of tattoo regret?

How Christians are identified in Egypt

The Arab Spring in Egypt is resulting in riots and persecution targeting Coptic Christians, who make up some 10% of the population. This weekend some 17 were killed.  See  this.

So how can Egyptians tell if one of their countrymen is a Christian?  Well, in an act of defiance and self-identity and so everyone will know their religion, the Copts wear their faith on their sleeve, as it were.  They tattoo a Coptic Cross on their wrists.  (We blogged about this before, but I found a picture.)

Coptic tattoo

 

 

Tattoo sermons

Another way to make your church relevant! Preach a whole sermon series about tattoos. And during the sermon, have someone actually getting a tattoo so the whole congregation can watch. From the Tuscaloosa News:

The sight of a woman being tattooed live on the altar accompanied by the sound of a buzzing ink gun provided a startling backdrop to Sunday's evangelical sermon.

Your parents' church service this was not. In the drive to stay relevant, the Gold Creek Community Church has been hosting a series called 'Permanent Ink' that featured Sunday's live-tattoo finale.

The Mill Creek, Wash., church is not exactly staid — booming 20-minute rock sets launch regular sermons — yet the pastors acknowledge this series was pushing societal norms.

'We've said from the start that we are not advocating tattoos — nor discouraging them,' said pastor Larry Ehoff.

'We think of it as amoral. It's neither immoral nor moral, it's just the choice of a person.'

Ehoff said the church is telling the same story of Jesus as always, it's just finding different ways to tell it.

Sharon Snell was one of several congregants who volunteered to be tattooed Sunday. At the noon service, she got on stage and faced away from about 150 parishioners while tattoo artist Matt Sawdon worked on the image of a police shield on her lower back. . . .

As Snell's tattoo took shape, pastor Dan Kellogg told the congregation that permanent markings, both good and evil, are mentioned in the Bible. The most famous symbol, he said, is '666,' the sign of the devil.

But there's also mention in the Bible of markings on Jesus, saying he is the king of kings and lord of lords, Kellogg said. . . .

Last week, as part of the Permanent Ink series, a member of the church had a tattoo of Texas removed.

Because the equipment was too cumbersome to transport, parishioners watched a video of the process.

The man now lives in Washington, and he doesn't see much need for the Lone Star State anymore.

So what need is there for any of this? Why is preaching THE WORD OF GOD somehow not enough? What does preaching about tattoos, complete with live-action object lessons, have to do with ANYTHING, other than, perhaps, trying to project an aura of coolness that the church really doesn’t even have, since aficionados of tattoos already know how they are made?

First the Gospel is dropped, leaving only Law, and next the Law is also dropped, leaving I’m not sure what–a sense of belonging? feeling good? just coming to church for its own sake?


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