While on vacation the last couple of weeks, I did some reading. One of the books I took with me was about tattoos. If you know me well, you know I am not a tattoo kind of guy, but I was interested in this book because it was written by Kim Goad (with co-author Janet Kusiak). I have the highest respect for Kim. She is a devout Christian and terrific writer. Her gift for stringing words together is exceeded only by her intellect and her sense of humor.
The book is called Inked. Here’s a paragraph I found interesting:
“Tattoos were first introduced to the United States when German-born Martin Hildebrandt tattooed both Union and Confederate soldiers in their camps. Tattooing reached its “golden age” in the 1940’s when the sailors returned home sporting their new body art. Tattoo popularity spread to include bikers in the 1950’s, hippies in the 1960’s, rock stars in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and athletes in the 1990’s. Now tattoos have become part of the mainstream. According to the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of people born between 1961 and 1981 have at least one tattoo.”
But this book, while about tattoos, is even more about the various things that mark our lives.
Yes, everybody is going to be marked by something. When people get tattoos, it’s often to commemorate something that has already marked them (for better or worse) in a profound way. You, for example, may not have a tattoo, but you are being marked by the choices you make, the relationships you enter into, and the circumstances you encounter.
Reading Inked taught me three things:
One, there are stories behind tattoos. Therefore, as a Christian, instead of stereotyping (judging) people because of the ink on their skin, I should be more concerned about how life has marked them. It’s the heart of a person (not the skin) that is most important.
Two, in most cases, I get to choose what marks my life. Sure, some circumstances are beyond my control, but everyday I get to make choices that will go a long way toward determining who I ultimately become and what I look like to others.
And three, maybe God isn’t as opposed to tattoos as some people would like to believe. Revelation 3:12 says, “All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.” (Author’s emphasis)
Now there’s a tattoo I’d like to have.
There’s much more to this book than I can share here. I would encourage you to get your hands on a copy* and let it challenge you to consider what is marking your life. And what should be marking it.
Thank you Kim and Janet, for stretching my thinking on a subject I haven’t thought enough about.
* Inked: Choosing God’s Mark to Transform Your Life, by Kim Goad and Janet Kusiak, published in 2012 by Abingdon Press