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The Tabula Tattoo Taboo

Bruce Cameron

Tattoos are how my children's generation expresses its individuality, which is why they all have one.

I've got nothing against tattoos: They've been used for centuries to identify which sailors on a particular ship got drunk the night before. But at least those sailors, upon awakening and seeing the name Sheila inked into their shoulders, have the satisfaction of being able to say, "Who the heck is Sheila?"

My children are not sailors, but they are all of the generation that is determined to do to their own flesh what the Exxon Valdez did to the Alaskan coastline.

"You don't need to draw permanent lines in your skin," I've told them. "Believe me, age will do it for you."

They roll their eyes at this. Clearly, I don't know anything. "It's how I express my freedom of expression," my daughter says.

"It's also how incarcerated felons express their boredom," I counter. Another eye roll.

"I'm going to get one that says 'tabula rasa,'" she announces. "It's Latin."

"You don't speak Latin!" I respond sharply.

"That has nothing to do with it."

"You don't even like Latin music!"

It's ironic that when I say something intelligent, like, "Eventually your tattoo will fade and stretch and look like some sort of skin disease," my children pretend I'm stupid. But when I say something stupid, like, "You don't even like Latin music," they act like I've made a good point.

"I like some Latin music," my daughter corrects.

"Tabula rasa means 'blank slate,'" I inform her.

"I know what it means," she answers. "That's why I want it."

"You can't write 'blank slate' on your skin," I fume at her. "Once you write it, the slate's no longer blank! That would be like going to the blackboard and writing, 'There's nothing written on this blackboard.'"

"Oh, Dad," my daughter responds, pity in her voice. "We use whiteboards now."

"Why not put, 'Your Ad Here,' while you're at it?" I suggest. "No, wait, if you're being ironic, why not, 'Do not read this?' Or how about, 'I don't have a tattoo'?"

"Dad. 'Tabula rasa' because my life is a blank slate, see? I don't know what is in my future."

"I do. What's in your future is paying a doctor to have the words 'tabula rasa' removed from your arm."

"If that's in the future, that's in the future," my daughter reasons with undeniable accuracy. "Que sera sera. What will be will be."

"No, what will sera doesn't need to sera," I reply. "Whether a tattoo will be or not will be is your choice, so you will need to go to the dermatologist to have it removed only if you decide to put it there in the first place."

She looks at me as if I'm, well, speaking Latin.

"I suppose you think que sera sera is Latin, too," I say bitterly. "Famously recorded by Doris Day, that well-known singer of Latin music."

"You've really lost it, Dad," she admires.

There goes my theory that if I spew nonsense my children will take me seriously.

I'm frustrated: How to explain it to her, or to any of my children? You take your skin for granted -- it's just there, covering your body, until one day it starts developing little marks and creases on its own, like an old wallet wearing out. Inside, you feel as if your tabula is still rasa, but what will be has already been, for the most part, and it all shows on the outside. Why hasten the transformation of the skin from a beautifully blank slate to a blackboard (or whiteboard) full of scrawlings and calculations?

But, like drunk sailors and bored felons, my children will not be deterred. My son's back has complicated geometrics inked into it -- it looks like space aliens have been making crop circles. My daughters have more subtle designs, with the one who wants the Latin inscription holding off until she can decide on the way she wants the drawing done (you don't want "nothing written here" inked into your skin in the wrong font).

I guess they're legally old enough to get tattoos if they want them. I'll just have to accept it.
Que sera, sera...

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Replies to This Discussion

>>The concern is not what American or any other worldly society thinks is wrong, it is what God thinks is wrong. Isn’t that what we should be concerned about?

It is a fairly easy principle to grasp. We have freedoms in Christ in matters concerning the conscience. We sacrifice those freedoms when we know that if we practice such freedoms we will be offensive to our Culture. Very simple, this is not complicated.

>>Should we care what America or Australia or Britain think is wrong? Will God care that we followed what society wanted or will he care that we followed what He wanted.

Who is talking about asking the world on how we should live, I certainly am not and how you can get that out of my post is beyond me. You have taken the topic wayyyyy out of context. We have God’s word which is a lamp to our feet and a light for our path to live our lives.

>>If you were to ask them when was the last time they read their bible or went to church, many of them will likely say Christmas or Easter. They are pretenders to whom God will say “Away from me, I do not know you”.They are caught up in Babylon, in riches and perversions. They do not seek the truth, they want only to be seen to seek the truth.

Ohh and you do not celebrate Christmas nor Easter huh? Yeah, I know who you are. Ok what does that have to do with the topic at hand?

>>I to enjoy a glass of wine from time to time, but I don’t not have a glass of wine in public just in case someone sees me. So what you are saying in your reply to me is “don’t do what I do – do as I say”

I never said I enjoy a glass of wine. I said I do not because I don’t drink, but I would not enjoy a glass of wine even if I did drink, because the society I live in looks at it as wrong, even though God does not. Getting drunk is wrong but not a glass of wine, unless of course a glass gets you drunk.

>> You feel it is okay to go behind closed doors and drink or get tattoos but Hey don’t do it out in public where the non believers might see you because we want to set a good example. I have a real problem with that.
Don’t you see a heavy dose of hypocrisy in that statement?

Not one ounce of hypocrisy in that statement, but tons of WISDOM. BIBLICAL WISDOM, WHICH I GAVE YOU THE SCRIPTURES TO BACK IT UP. Why don’t you comment on those scriptures instead? Instead of more of your own opinions.

>>Are we to lie to the lost and show them a perfect face in public, yet behind closed doors we are getting sloshed and covering our bodies in pagan symbols.

Hahahaha I am sorry, but you are tickling me. Hahahha No one said ANYTHING about getting sloshed (I guess that means drunk) or covering our bodies in pagan symbols. No one, not me. That is you twisting my words for the (I lost count) 11th time. Hahaha You cannot, I repeat, cannot show me where I said that, because I did not say it. I did say, it is perfectly permitable for a Christian who has never had problems with alcohol/drinking to enjoy a glass of wine in cultures that do not frown on it. In cultures that do look at it as bad, then enjoy it in private and don’t be a stumbling block to anyone. Exercise Godly wisdom and counsel.

>>You posted up all these commentaries that ageed with me. What am I missing David?

You are missing a lot my brother. None of those commentaries speak against tattoos as we see tattoos today, art. They speak about making or cutting your body for idolatry or other things which God hates. The bible is against tattoos and cuttings that are done contrary to God. To pay tribute to the dead or to false gods etc as the commentaries explained. You, you are against tattoos period. Not caring that they have no such meanings.

The panther I have on my arm means nothing of the sort. It’s kind of cool. i will send you a pic hahaahaha J/k bad joke, bad joke hahahha ohhh excuse me I often crack myself up. Hahahha it’s just body art. No one in my church has ever seen it, nor do I plan to go around showing it off. It’s for me. Simple as that. Now if someone wants to show off theirs that is up to them. So tell me does my tattoo qualify as a pagan symbol? I am sure someone out there will find some demonic meaning to it, specially the part of our family that enjoys tabloid theology.

>>You have proven my point

My brother, my brother, my brother far from doing that. For a tattoo to be wrong it would have to be done for the purposes prohibited. Not just for art purposes.

>>Could this be any clearer??

Well the commentator did not stopped wrhere you stopped quoting him, to prove your point, which is really not a good thing to do. You should not do that. That is not right.

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

….nor print any marks upon you--by tattooing, imprinting figures of flowers, leaves, stars, and other fanciful devices on various parts of their person. The impression was made sometimes by means of a hot iron, sometimes by ink or paint, as is done by the Arab females of the present day and the different castes of the Hindus. It is probable that a strong propensity to adopt such marks in honor of some idol gave occasion to the prohibition in this verse; and they were wisely forbidden, for they were signs of apostasy

Why did they mark their bodies? To honor some idol. I doubt Christians are marking their bodies to honor and idol.

>>I stand by my comment David.
I don’t give a red cent for what society thinks.

Ok - then I tell you again brother that you are wrong and I have shown you with scripture why. You keep going everywhere with your comment and don’t discuss scripture.

God bless you too

How can you know who imperator is. you where not around when He was. I know who you are and i have never thought you are imperator. Imperator was not afraid to be rude. You, you have always disguised your rudeness. But it is ok. I do everything i do in the light. you can see my real pictures and you are welcome to visit my church.

I would even take you to meet Mickey in Disnyland. haha

Did you not just post this on a blog:

I will refuse the temptation to be cynical . . . the tool of the lazy thinker.

Very interesting. You turn to insults and finish with a God bless you.

But is all good - I love to discuss the word and to try to teach even the ones that don't want to learn. I can't help it. Is my God given passion, to teach.
Hey Dan just a couple of more things:

I often use bold, underline and Capitalized letters to emphasize a point. I was not yelling. No need to yell. The truth is loud enough.

>>>>Again this is MY point of view. You do not have to agree with me. I am very happy for you to have your own opinion.

You said all those things about come out from her and how you do not care about what society thinks etc.. Yet your words show how the philosophies of the world have permeated your being. Religious pluralism and relativism. Your point of view is your point of view and mine is mine. Ok - what about. Let's have fun and bring glory to God learning. We know not all opinions are right. Let us strive to come to the unity of the knowledge of Christ in the bond of peace. My opinion is my opinion is not found in scripture. One truth is. One way is. If your opinion does not line up with the word. I will tell you: "Your opinion does not line up with the word". Very simple. I hope you care less about my opinion, as i really don't care for yours.

Show me with scriptiure your opinion and then we are cooking.

>>You do not have to agree with me.

I do not have to agree with you? Really! What happened to one truth and the fact that the bible everywhere tells us to come to the unity of the truth and the knowledge of Chris. God gave us Teachers, Pastors, Apostles, Evangelists and Prophets for the edifying of the body.

>>>>I am very happy for you to have your own opinion

I am too, if your opinion lines up with the word, if not, I am here to help and be helped. I do not know it all nor do I think I do, hence I keep growing. I have learned from Greg, LT, Alan, Loren, Carla, prophet, Roy, Ron, Ramona, Michelle, Linda (Ginny), Janie (Alienated), Veronika and others. I have actually changed my opinion about a subject and/or doctrine a couple of times, because of what I was presented by one of my family members in Christ. I have no problem saying that. I love to learn and grow.

I am here to be edified and by God's grace and for His Glory hopefully edify others as well.

You have a pluralistic view point. Tolerate all opinions for all of us have opinions. Yes, we certainly do have opinions, but those opinions better line up to scripture or we are wrong. That should not be so difficult to understand.

Instead of being happy about people having their own opinion, rejoice in being aligned with scripture and being able to back up your opinion biblically. Not to win arguments but to know you are in the truth. ONLY THE TRUTH SETS US FREE. Be willing to change when confronted with the truth and you are proven to be wrong. Don't hate that, but rejoice, you have been blessed with the truth. If you show me with scripture I have misunderstood a doctrine, I will forever be grateful to you and to my Lord for setting you on my path. Don't come up with all kinds of excuses to navigate away from the truth.

In Love DV
Ok you have changed my words now for the 12th time. hahaha but i am not keeping count.

>>>>>>Again this is MY point of view. You do not have to agree with me. I am very happy for you to have your own opinion.

That is a direct quote from you.

>>said very plainly and suscinctly that I have no tolerance of the worlds opinions, only for that of God Almightly.

And who is saying anything about you having tolerance of the worlds opinions, I am not. but you are saying i am happy you have your own opinion. I am happy if your opinion lines up with scripture, if it doesn't then i will be happy to tell you, so we can edify each other. I am talking about you are happy about Christians having their own opinions even if those opinion are contrary to yours. Well, Jesus, Paul and all the scripture would say in one accord - no one cares about your opinion, unless your opinion lines up with scripture.

Of course we care about peoples opinions, their opinions let us know whether they have sound doctrine or not. whether they are a babe in Christ or Mature etc.... but, i think you get my point. At least i hope so.

Hi Everyone,

I need your advice. I planted a veggie garden this year. In my veggie garden I have tomatoes, peas, beans, corn, and spinach...mixed lettuces, radish, carrots, swiss chard and beets. (i think that's all) My beans, corn and spinach are planted all together (a gardening tip from the pioneer days) they are referred to as the 'three sisters' because they assist eachother in growing. My radishes are sweetened and softened by planting lettuce in between. they are really yummy... I am so blessed each time I go into my garden. God has blessed me as I pray over it..and the insects leave it alone. It is an organic garden. :)

I also have a couple fruit trees. My pear tree in it's second year is now beginning to bear fruit. My apple tree is a bit of a dud..very disappointing...but I keep forgetting to water it. :)

I also wear clothes with different types of fabric together all the time...

But according to this scripture I have a problem:
Lev 19:19 'You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.

What should I do? Thanks for your help.
Blessings, Carla
I really love reading these forums it does help me learn. Please know I am not choosing sides I would never intentially disrespect anyone I care about for no reason . I am so confused with everything being talked about here. I was not fimiliar with any of these scriptures being used but now am thinking to put my bible back down. It is so far over my head. I respect both you and david Carla.. and please know that. But this conscious being spoke of in the bible is telling me and my low average mind set that its OK to do whatever as long as your mind is OK with it. This takes me back to a christian lady I knew ho was a thief not just before she was born again but after also. One day she was helping me to move. In the yard was this huge dog pin worth over a hundred dollars. She asked me if she could have it. I told her it wasnt mine to give that it belonged to the landlord. She later took it anyway. I questioned her about it and told her she best take it back. I told her it was WRONG to steal. She told me " now this is why im confused with theses post about leviticus" that she prayed about it and she knows God is OK with it becaue it was probably the tenants before me and not the land lords. I told her she had to be on crack. She told me that she asked God to let her know in her mind and heart it was wrong and her (conscious) told her God was fine with it so god BLESSED her with this very nice dog pin. Now i know this is not what Davids post is about ..I know that,,,, but this is what my non knowing mind seems to be saying. Please forgive me I love you Carla and David I care for you a bunch. This is just confusing to me. How much of the bible is not right today? I am nauseated because I am so scared. Scared that I will never grasp a hold of God like I should.Scared that what if I learn things finally and then teach my children wrong. I am also depressed because the 4th is coming up and this was a time I would sit outside our house with mama and watch the airport fireworks. So if my comment here seems out of place or accusing I am really sorry....
And Carla I envy you and your garden you are blessed for sure.
Loren -

If in any way I have offended you, I apologized beloved. You are dear to me and I have told you in private and I tell you in public that I see nothing wrong with tattoos as art, if they will not hurt our testimony, i do not find scripture teaching against it.

Love in Christ my friend.
Reply by Alienated 5 minutes ago
The questions I ask are my questions my thoughts my mind I have my veiws just as others on this site has theirs. I might be a country hick the way I talk but they are still my thoughts. My aboce post about levitcus had nothing to do with tattoos . It has to do with me not understanding the old from the new. Not understanding why old testement isnt same as now. Loren my brother has way more tattoos then I can see on you. Or whoever else you have in your photos. I love my brother and the beard thing and the fat stuff??????? Im not judgeing anybody as you sure are now. Since you are speaking your actual mind and thoughts about your thoughts on this forum then let me have a turn. I havent even begun to speak my mind about what I think about christians plastering tattoos on them nor have I mentioned what I think about christians using God to advertise there tattoos. Is this where your anger is coming from? Do people accuse you of this? And now that bottled up anger is being let loose on this forum. I in know way have judged nor do I believe i have been ridiculous by asking questions here on a christian site. I have my GED BUT I have a below 7th grade average. Not a 7th grade average of now days but back in the 60s. I use the word can when I should have used could Im not too brite. But I well NO LONGER let people who dont like what I ask or think run me off these forums. I am truly sorry you are angry because some folks believe tatooing is wrong. If you know it isnt then why you call names here why do you even care that they dont agree with you about tattoos? Maybe not call names directly but saying words like persecution and redicoulous and backwards. I am backwards I always have been. But thats something I cant help. Maybe your backwards and my backwards mean two different things. My understanding of backwards is I dont know much I cant catch on quickly. Im gullable at times. But still Im not going to stop asking questions on these forums until im asked by the moderators or administrators whoever. It is my hope that they dont but if so well thats just what happens. Again im sorry you are so angry. It seems the subject of tattoos gets you heated . The subject of abortion is one I never enter in to.
oh man ... you are a minister??????? wow. you are the one who came with the words redicoulous and backwards. When i mentioned my brothers and your tattoos is because you and your attack be it on me or who ever here ... was trying to defend so you wouldnt think of the tattoos as you mentioned ... YOU did first. I didnt see any judging coming from any post here. Only biblical beliefs. You get over your self
i didnt count your tattoos . That was a sart ellic thing to say.
Greetings all,

This forum has taken many twists after being brought back to life. There has been much discussion regarding the topic and much that has left the original point of the forum behind and has started to get into personal issues between people.

There appears to be no beneficial reason (edification) to leave this one open and thus it is being closed.

Lord Bless,
Volunteer AAG Administrator


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