Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Looking "Christian"?

One of my seminary professors told us that in too many churches morality is best defined as one generation’s inhibitions imposed on the next generation. I have a good friend who knows this quite well. This young man is an incredibly gifted musician and worship leader. He is as committed a Christian as anyone I know. He also has tattoos.

Now stop right there, some would say. Scripture clearly forbids tattoos. Leviticus 19:28 says clearly: “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.” True as this may be, should we read it in the context of the preceding verse: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” Let all who do not cut the hair on the sides of their heads or clip off the edges of their beards cast the first stone at the tattooed one, I say.

Don’t get me wrong: I do not have any tattoos, and I am sure I don’t “get” the popularity of body art these days. Like many of you, I react instinctively as though such things are “just plain wrong.” On the other hand, I have shaved away my sideburns as recently as this morning.

As Samuel was reminded when God sent him to anoint David king of Israel, God looks at the heart. Our concern ought be for people’s hearts, not whether or not they fit into the mold of “how people ought to look” that we were raised with.


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