Wednesday, August 01, 2007

So, In The Aftermath...

...Of getting a tattoo, I know that as I show more people, eventually someone is going to make an offhanded comment about "Do you know what the Bible says about getting tattoos?" There are several replys that I could try on, perhaps the simplist being "Do YOU know what the Bible says about tattoos?" In the Old Testament there are 2 types of laws/rules: purity laws and moral laws. The purity laws are things like don't eat pork or shellfish. The moral laws are things like the 10 Commandments. I, therefore, have compiled a list of other rules in the same section of Leviticus that must be true if the verse on tattoos is still binding today. Here are some of them:

Do not mate different kinds of animals. Sorry dog lovers who own a mut. Fluffy has to go.

Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. No planting tomatos and peppers in your garden.

Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Check your shirt!

Do not eat any meat with blood still in it. Better go well done on all steaks and burgers.

Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or clip the sides of your beard. Grooming habits back then must have been scary.

Rise in the presence of the aged. A good rule, but we dont stand when they enter the room now, do we?

Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight. I get paid twice a month; does that mean the church is sinning?!!

All of these commands come in the same chapter, Leviticus chapter 19, as the verse talking about tatoos. There are also commands that make sense, like do not steal or practice sorcery. But, the reality is that many of these purity codes were to keep the Israelites from associating with pagan peoples who would lead them into idolatry and away from their God. In fact, we see them compromise these many times (Saul and Soloman for example) and they almost always turn to idols. So, we are left to ask some tough questions: which laws are cultural purity laws that Jesus did away with, and which are still true? I think we are best off looking to the New Testament for most of our practice commands, and make wise judgement calls after that. Our conscience as a community will guide us.

Thanks for reading.


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