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Evangelistic Tatts?

posted by Scot McKnight

Tatt.jpg

What do you think of evangelistic tatts?
In his Hitchhiker’s Guide To Evangelism
  Bill Tenny-Brittian  addresses this issue — lots of tatts on Hitchhikers — by suggesting Leviticus 19:28 is not about tattoos and that there are good reasons for tatts. Some of them evangelistic.
Sometimes folks get tatts that express their own conversion or spiritual experience; others get tatts that provoke conversations and that lead to spiritual discussions.
Any stories from those whose tatts lead to evangelistic situations? 
Any other observations?


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Bo

posted December 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm


It seems odd that it’s even worth bringing up whether Leviticus 19:28 has to do with our conception of tattoos- even the strictest fundamentalists easily look past a lot of commandments in Leviticus. But nonetheless, most certainly probably cite this verse against the evils of tattoos, and wouldn’t believe this fella’s alternate explanation anyway.



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beckyr

posted December 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm


I have a rose tattoo on the inside of my right ankle, yes it hurt, and on the other ankle a tattoo of an ankle charm bracelet. I put charms on it when I think of something meaningful to me that I’d like on it. It has a cross, and when I show my tatt I explain they are symbols of things that are meaningful to me. But the cross doesn’t take the conversation any farther.
What I have found are people who go from befuddled about tatts to christians who condemn tatts (they’re so stupid.) When that happens I remind them I have tattoos. I don’t understand why it’s become a christian thing to be against tatts, they aren’t bringing up the Leviticus verse.



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Collin S

posted December 26, 2009 at 2:36 pm


My wife is very tattooed. She has a full sleeve on one arm, and tattoos other places as well. She is in love with Jesus, and with the way of Jesus. She has “Romans 8:1″ tattooed very large across her chest, just below her neck. It’s unbelieveable how many conversations start from that. Even if she isn’t “winning souls for the kingdom” in droves because of it, its just a great thing when someone at the grocery store asks what the verse is, and she can recite it, explaining the beautiful grace given to us through Christ.



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Billy Kangas

posted December 26, 2009 at 4:38 pm


I’m not sure if you knew this or not, but I actually have 9 tattoos. They are mostly hidden under my shirt. However anytime I’m out and about with just a T-Shirt on the start to peek out. I have had more then a few friendships start because someone asked about my tattoos and evangelistic opportunities happen at least once a week. All of my tattoos are related to my faith. The process of explaining my tattoos in itself retells my faith journey and how Jesus has set me free.
They are the MOST effective conversation piece I have, and they point inevitably to God…



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Michael

posted December 26, 2009 at 9:01 pm


Scot,
I have several tattoos that have definitely aided in starting up conversations with people. I have “doulos” in Greek on the inside of my left wrist and people will ask what it means, which generally leads to at least the beginnings of a conversation. My other tatts (a cross with the reference Isaiah 53:5 over it on my right bicep, the letters alpha and omega intertwined on my left bicep, and a dove below it) represent each member of the Trinity and are definitely an aid to evangelism because each represents an attribute of the Father, Son, and Spirit.. All interpretive methodology to Lev. 19:28 aside, I have seen how these tattoos can aid in evangelism.



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Mike M

posted December 26, 2009 at 11:54 pm


No tattoos here but not getting any because of Leviticus 19:28 seems terribly legalistic. Just another case of “pick and choose” your sins. The biker in my former church had “body piercing saved my life” tattooed underneath a picture of Jesus’ pierced hands.



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Fr. Oliver Herbel

posted December 27, 2009 at 1:40 am


Interesting discussion, here. I am used to seeing evangelicals use billboards and other means of commodification to “evangelize.” I hadn’t thought about this. Intriguing discussion here.
Mr. McKnight, we met at AAR 2-3 years ago, but you won’t remember me from Adam. I was a student of Michael McClymond.
0



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Travis Greene

posted December 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm


I have 4. They certainly can be conversation starters.
p?st?? and ??p?? (faith and hope) on my wrists, “Gloria in excelsis Deo” on my arm, and the Christ the Redeemer statue (in Brazil) on my left leg.
The Leviticus thing is B.S., and that doesn’t stand for baloney sandwiches.



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Mike M

posted December 27, 2009 at 10:18 pm


Fr. Oliver @7: But Fargo?



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Fr. Oliver Herbel

posted December 27, 2009 at 10:51 pm


Mike M, not sure what you mean by “but Fargo?”
If you mean would I advocate for such tattoo “evangelization” in Fargo, the answer’s no. I would not even allow our parish to do billboards. Then again, the parish wouldn’t want me to do suggest such either :-D
If you meant something else, I truly did not follow.
Anyhow, I have found the discussion here quite interesting.



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art

posted December 28, 2009 at 10:16 am


i have a bunch of tattoos related to my faith. i have our lady of guadalupe on the back of my right forearm, luther’s rose on the inside of my right bicep, the hagia sophia christ on the back of my right bicep, and gustave dore’s engraving of moses coming down from sinai on my left shoulder going down to my elbow. whenever i’m wearing anything that shows my tattoos people always ask about them. i have a couple more, but this one leads to the most conversations because of its placement and because of the vague nature of it.



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