Tim Keel, pastor of Jacob’s Well (in Kansas City), had a great post about tattoos earlier this month. He was discussing a story that spawned from an article he wrote for Christian Century earlier. It’s a great followup to the post I had earlier.
Like many of my favorite authors and pastors, Tim says something on a topic I’ve been thinking about, and I’m just like, “Yes! That’s exactly the wordless sentiment that’s been brewing inside me!”
Anyway, it’s a great story. Go read it. I won’t ruin it for you… go read it.
- If you have a tattoo, how attached are you to the story behind it (if there is one)?
- What would you do if you were in Tim’s friend’s shoes?
- Have you had a similar experience?
Go read this article about tattoos and youth culture.
Overall, author Paul Robertson ends on a positive note:
Next time you see a young person with a tattoo, why not ask them to share the story behind it? You might be amazed at what you hear… and be better off for it.
Now back to the beginning. There were a couple fundamentalist red flags that went up as I was reading it the first time.
Every generation has had a mark that distinguished it from previous cohorts. […] So what is left to make this generation unique when they are looked back on by history? They will be the generation remembered for creating the most personal form of media there is-a permanent story painted on young bodies.
What? Creating? I can’t believe he just said that. Popularizing? Maybe. Creating? C’mon…
And the abundance of tattooing will be this generation’s primary distinguishing characteristic? No doubt it’s on the rise, but is it the defining trend among today’s youth? I sense that what’s going on is that Robertson knows that it’s vital for the older generation to meet the youth where they’re at, and that’s why he recommends trying to engage the stories behind the tattoos. But he has a little bit of reactionary thought that creeps through. The author writes the article with the tone of one who has come (is coming) around, as one who maybe wasn’t quite so tattoo-tolerant in the past. So it would make sense, and it’s forgivable, that a little bit of that reactionist past pokes through.
Many of today’s youth will look back on this decade and remember it, not with fondness, but hesitation as they recall their struggles to simply survive. They will remember words such as divorce, separation, fatherlessness, abandonment, abuse and blended families. In many ways they are a generation who lost their most special place in that thing called family.
“Struggles to simply survive” … makes high school sound almost post-apocalyptic. It’s true that the family unit has diminished in value, and that such a change no doubt affects the quality of life for today’s youth. But is it a survival situation? I don’t know. Again, did maybe a little overstatement sneak in? Continue reading