I don’t believe that tattoos are evil. As far as I can tell, it is just fine for you to get a tattoo unless you are a Levitical Priest. (And if there are any Levitical Priests following my blog, please introduce yourself.)
And yet, if you knew me, you might think that I did consider tattoos wrong. After all, I’m nineteen-going-on-twenty and I don’t have a tattoo. And lots of my peers do. And some of them are really cool-looking. And some of them are in Greek (which makes it all holier.)
The reason I don’t have a tattoo and don’t plan on getting one can be summed up in quite a simple speech, beginning with the smaller reasons and building up.
1. How often do you see someone staring at their blank wrist bemoaning the tattoo that they did not choose to get?
2. Tattoos don’t look as cool later on. When you’re almost definitely going to be heavier and wrinklier.
3. Tattoos generally represent a phase. Although a mature person usually puts more consideration into a new tattoo than a new headband or pair of shoes, it would be helpful to consider how you do feel about last year’s accessories. We change.
4. Not having any tattoos is about to make me as unique as having a tattoo made our parents. I get to be a trendsetter by not getting involved in trends. Trends that many of my peers will regret in fifteen years.
5. I don’t need one. And I don’t mean I can’t afford one. I mean that I have other forms of permanence in my life. I don’t have to inject ink into my flesh to show people that I love Jesus or my grandmother or The Rolling Stones. (Two out of three of those examples actually apply to me.)
I don’t feel like I would love Jesus anymore if His name was permanently stamped on my body (though if it would encourage you to love Jesus more, then have at it!) And I am not avoiding a “Christian tattoo” because I have commitment issues. It isn’t that I think I will “get over” Jesus (or Granny or…forget The Stones) in a few years. It’s that I won’t. And I won’t regret the fact that Jesus is a permanent part of my identity (He Himself gave me my identity) like I might regret a tattoo.
If a tattoo would have helped seal the deal between Jesus and I, I’m sure He would have met me with the ink when I met Him on my knees.
I have an identity written elsewhere, in my heart and in the Book of Life. I have something permanent already that I could never regret. I don’t need this chapter of my life marked on my body and I don’t need a tattoo to prove..anything to anyone.
And as far as those tattoos that apparently represent a bird on a telephone wire or a rose with a banner around it or a string of barbed wire—one word: jewelry.
Put it on. Move on. Take it off.
So friends: get yourself a tattoo if you’d like. Get yourself covered with them (and say hello to a career in poking other people because that’s about all that will be available to you. You’ll be like a menu for customers!) But don’t consider me a legalist just because “tattoo free I am content to be.”
|Norman Rockwell: “Saying Grace”|
Is it wrong for girls to go to college?
Is it wrong to send your children to public school?
Is it wrong for girls to wear shorts/dye their hair/pierce their noses?
Is it wrong for a girl to move out of the house before she is married?
Is it wrong for a woman to have a career?
Is it wrong to call it “dating?”
|Norman Rockwell: “Courting at Midnight”|
Is it wrong to kiss before your wedding day?
Is it wrong to watch T.V.?
Is it wrong to read secular books?
Is birth control wrong?
Is it wrong to only want a few kids?
|Norman Rockwell: “Shall We Dance?”|
Am I reading the wrong version of the Bible?
Am I attending the wrong denomination?
Is it wrong to drink alcohol?
Is it wrong to dance?
The point is, we have long been asking all the wrong questions. I wouldn’t recommend every one of these practices that I just stated were “not wrong”…I wouldn’t even say that they are all “right.” I am just saying that you cannot say “this is wrong for everyone, always.”
The Bible is sufficient, but it is only so long. There is not a book on purity rings or hemlines or specific sitcoms. There is scripture addressing every issue, broadly and clearly. It is when we begin to put things into subcategories and search for law within the law that we feel that the Bible is not longer sufficient. It no longer answers our questions when our questions are so nitpicky.
No matter how much we argue, no matter how clear our arguments are, we will never, ever all end up agreeing on everything. And honestly, I don’t think we’re supposed to! I find myself easily offended by viewpoints that differ even slightly from mine. Sometimes mere vocabulary sends me in a tizzy (terms like “feminism” or “courtship” which really have no true definition anyway!) Yet, God created us all as unique beings…and that results in (to my horror) unique opinions and unique callings.
I can rarely get this into my head, but the truth is, what is right for me is not always right for you. Likewise, what is wrong for me is not always wrong for you. And your convictions and callings will never line up perfectly with mine.
|Norman Rockwell: “Double Trouble for Willie Gillis”|
Many times, the things I add to The EPV Bible (Everly Pleasant Version, if you will) are things that I think others would benefit from. If I learned to share how I’ve benefitted from home education and not how it is the only way to do things, I think I’d have a much bigger influence on those I share with, not to mention, probably express a more Christ-like attitude toward them.
I’ve realized over the past few years that if I accept the gray areas in people’s lives and respect them in their own personal walks with the Lord, I’ll end up with a lot more friends than if I hold them to my own personal standards. There is nothing wrong with personal standards until they become impersonal. This doesn’t mean that you accept sin as “okay for that Christian” but it does mean that only some things are “black and white” sin and what is sin for you may not be sin for them.
|Norman Rockwell: Sporting Boys, Basketball|
“The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.AG)”> Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Romans 14:22-23
You are always going to be more liberal than one person and more conservative than another, and that is okay. As a matter of fact, it’s good! That means that you aren’t following people, you’re following The Spirit. You’re not looking at the girl next to you dance class to learn the fancy footwork. Rather, your eyes are on the instructor.
The Bible never says “be as conservative as possible.” No, it says to live free from the bondage of sin, ask for wisdom, gain discernment, listen to The Holy Spirit, read scripture and enjoy the gifts God’s given us!
One girl lives outside of scriptural boundaries and moves in with her boyfriend. Another tries to apply scripture and kisses her boyfriend. Another tries to apply scripture and saves her first kiss for her wedding day. Another tries to apply scripture and saves her first embrace for her wedding day. Another tries to apply scripture and dedicates her life to missions, never marrying. Only one of these girls, in my opinion (haha) has sinned, and she cannot be expected to meet Biblical standards. The other four, if acting in faith, are all blameless.
Yet, they’ve all chosen different paths! Can it be?
So may I let my opinions remain what they are…my opinions. Something to be shared, not nailed on your door. Something to hold loosely, despite their strength. Something to be kept far away from my beliefs, for the two would mix instantly.
And let me be graceful toward friends, families and strangers. For no two of us are alike and that’s the way it’s meant to be.
|Norman Rockwell: “Freedom of Speech”|
|You won’t find me in this picture. Sorry.|
My post about bikinis has received a lot of feedback. (Thanks everyone—I love the discussion!) Some has been positive which is absolutely life-giving between the negative. All has caused me to think. A lot.
I’ve been asking myself such questions as:
“What is modesty?”
“What is holiness?”
“What is purity?”
“How much are we supposed to separate ourselves from the world?”
“How can I be an effective witness?”
“Does how I dress really matter?”
“Should I dress as modestly as possible, or is there a line?”
“When do I sacrifice my own purity (mentally, in dress etc.) in order to be approachable to non-Christians?”
“What do guys think about modesty?”
“Do guys think about modesty?”
“Do guys think?”
After much reading of scripture and Christian authors, much meditation and some stress, here are my new goals:
1. Continue to think and make daily decisions. One’s convictions can change. Some things are black and white in the Bible. When you find 1st and 2nd Swimsuit, let me know.
2. God sets us apart. He’s the one who does it and He does it for himself. Continue to pursue HIM, not a look, not a Christian clique. He is good and creative. He leads believers by the Holy Spirit on different paths to His glory.
3. It is possible to develop one’s own beliefs and opinions without applying them to everyone. Like I said, some things are black and white, but everything else is between God and I (and you and God.) Open my heart to everyone without opening my mind to everyone’s beliefs.
4. Never forget that there are two groups of people: those who are being led by The Spirit and those who aren’t. I would never direct a post about swimwear to non-Christians. I would never talk to a non-Christian about using God’s name in vain or turning the other cheek. These things were written in scripture to Christians. What non-Christians need is Jesus, not my opinions on home-schooling.
5. Grow in the Lord. Act carefully. Speak with discretion. Show love to everyone.
Other thoughts would be that there has to be a balance between following the Bible and trying to attain purity in an impure world and making ourselves into creepy, unapproachable pharisees.
Holiness is the inward renewal at salvation, not how long your skirt or your hair is.
“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking” or of clothes or any such thing of the world. Swimwear is simply not the point. Nor is alcohol or education or politics or even, shockingly enough, modesty.
The issue of modest dress is an important one to me, but it is not the basis of one’s salvation nor even a fruit of The Spirit. It is about how we treat each other and the messages we send each other. We don’t dress modestly in church so that God doesn’t see our bodies. Trust me, he knit you in the womb and if you’re like me, you pray in the shower…that is *so* not an issue with Him! We dress because we’re not the only ones on this planet and I try to dress modestly because half the world is male.
I have so many other thoughts, but I am afraid I am making Clickety-Clack a topical blog! :) I promise to write about *other* stuff in the future. For now, I would like to make one request of you. Please join me in slowly reading through and studying Romans 14. It’s not that long. It’s scripture. It’s full of good stuff and really does answer questions. And then, if you decide to do so, leave me a comment about it!
a bikini is immodest.
It may sound like I am being legalistic in this, but I really think that, if you hear me out, you will find that I didn’t draw this conclusion with my own pen. If you base your morals on scripture, you should believe that the Christian woman is supposed to dress “with modesty and self-control.” We, as the church, are not to be conformed to this world (that is, just like it on the outside) but transformed (that is, changed and different.)
In the pictures that I see of women on the beach, I can’t tell which ones are Christ-followers and which ones are not. The only religion I think I would be able to pick out would be Muslims and that, my friends, is just sad.
But I know that The Bible does not give criteria for necklines, length or how lose something must be. I understand that this is a matter of your own “renewed mind” and discernment, but how can you say that you have discerned a bikini to be modest? A bikini is exactly what all of the non-Christians are wearing and it is literally the bare minimum of legal dress.
If you wore any less, you’d be blurred out on t.v.
When you wear a bikini, you are showing anyone and everyone your entire stomach, back, legs, hips and the top and sides of your chest. What does that leave to be seen? About 10% of your body. Is that what you save for your husband? Two triangles on top and one on the crotch?!
Seriously, ladies: you’re skimping on your purity.
What is the difference between a bikini and a bra and panties? The material? Does the water-resistant lining keep the lust away? Does the fact that it was sold as a swimsuit and not lingerie help your brother not to stumble?
And does the fact that you’re wearing it at the beach change a thing? It seems like 75% of females have pictures of themselves in bikinis on Facebook. That’s not a private beach, Honey. That’s the world-wide web.
That’s everyone seeing 90% of your naked body.
You wouldn’t wear a bra and panties to have your picture taken, you wouldn’t wear it to the mall, yet you would wear a bikini at the beach, with family and friends, hug your boyfriend for a picture and post it on your Facebook for 400 people to see because it’s culturally acceptable.
But to seek cultural acceptance is to reject holiness. The word “holy” means “set-apart.” That means you’re supposed to be different! Weird! Unusual! People are supposed to notice that you are not the same as everyone else.
Wearing skimpy clothes, whether you are near water or not, shows everyone that you are no different from the world, shows men that you don’t really care enough about them to keep yourself from being a stumbling block and shows everyone in Galveston and on your Facebook page just how good you look naked.
Resources for bikini alternatives:
Lime Ricki Swimwear
Land’s End Swimwear